My journey in the Cursillo Movement started with my aunt Mercedes. Everyone in the family knew she had a bad temper. We couldn’t even joke or be too loud and had to watch everything one said or did not to offend her and it seemed impossible. Except one day, everything changed. It was during a family gathering playing in the water from the creek from my uncle’s house. She seemed calm, friendly and even playful herself. Immediately everyone asked her about what had happened, who or what was responsible for this and she calmly answered that Jesus changed her life and now she had learned to live “de colores,” which translates to in a colourful way.
“Oh come on! For real now this time?” – My mom asked.
She replied: “My Lord has changed me. I see the joy now. I live in a colourful way.”
My aunt then continued explaining about how she felt, how she was able to experience a joy she had never felt before, that she couldn’t even put words to it. She said: “I would like to invite you all to this amazing experience and I can’t even describe what goes on in there because it’s just something you have to live on your own.” My mom was so amazed but overall so curious by her change that at the next opportunity a Cursillo weekend was organized, she enrolled.
I must have been about 15 years old at that time and wasn’t able to participate, so my father went next, and then other family members.
Cursillo is an evangelical movement of the Catholic Church with groups in various countries around the world, including Canada and the Archdiocese of Vancouver. My family and I experienced our Cursillo weekend in Quito, Ecuador. The group would organize a get together or closure to the Weekend experience to welcome the new cursillistas (and families) back to their day-to-day. I remember listening to testimonies of people I didn’t know talk about how different they felt. They had the chance to see their life before the weekend and now think about the opportunities and the amazing life filled with purpose that they now would have, and it all seemed to be exaggerated but the turn came for my mom and (in a different occasion) my dad to express how they felt. They too talked about a ‘before and after.’
My parents never really participated actively in our parish or in church-related activities before attending the Cursillo weekend. It was something that didn’t matter much to them. They didn’t have many friends either, but after experiencing the Cursillo weekend they would make everything possible to be there on time and I started noticing that they would try to attend Mass even during the week! This was so fascinating to me! They would get together with new friends now, all very welcoming and warm to talk about their own experiences with God, just to talk. Wow!
The witness of the complete change in my Aunt was the catalyst for my parents’ change. In turn, my parents’ change of heart and behaviour inspired a deep desire within me to seek the same source of joy upon which they drew to sustain their new lives. I have found that source… I have found Him.
When I graduated high school, I went to Germany to start an exchange year, to learn the language, and study at university. I returned home for a visit in June 2006 and I lived my Cursillo Weekend. It was definitely a life-changing experience for me. After returning home again in 2009 it was very common for our whole family to spend time with our Cursillo friends, deepening our friendships and encouraging each other on our journey to sanctity.
My husband and I left Ecuador and arrived in Vancouver in the summer of 2018. My transition to Canada was eased by immediately meeting a group of new friends, Cursillo friends in the Archdiocese of Vancouver. We now continue coming together via Zoom every second Friday evening of the month. I am part of a big Cursillo family. Through friendship, we journey together with joy. I have learned to see how tiny I am as a servant of God and I can only say “May your will be always done, Lord.”