WCR PHOTO | CHRIS MILLER
Rene Desilva shared her journey of faith at St. Charles Church Jan 20.
EDMONTON – Rene Desilva spoke of a woman from the Philippines who had two young children, with no intention of having a third. But soon after arriving in Canada, she was pregnant again.
A doctor gave her pills to terminate the pregnancy. She took the pills home, and contemplated whether to take them. She heard a voice tell her, "Do not take those pills."
"She started to cry, and she flushed those pills down the toilet. Nine months later, I was born. My mother told me this story when I was young. She said it was the Holy Spirit talking to her. The Holy Spirit told her not to take those pills because the baby inside of her is going to be a singer for God," said Desilva.
The voice her mother heard was correct. Desilva sings at Mass, weddings and funerals. She loves to sing for God.
Desilva, 31, a Filipino cradle Catholic, married, mother of two children and a piano teacher, was the guest speaker at the first Sharing the Journey session at St. Charles Church Jan. 20.
She quoted a line from the movie, Les Misérables: "To love another person is to see the face of God." She then shared true love stories from her own life.
"My family set an amazing foundation for my faith. But I really believe there comes a time in a person's life when you need to choose for yourself what you believe," said Desilva.
"When we are striving to grow and become better and find out what our passions are and what our talents are, when we become happy about that, we start to shine. When we shine our best, God shines through us."
Both of her parents had chronic health conditions. Her mother was diagnosed with kidney disease, and underwent dialysis. Her father had an adverse reaction to anesthesia, which damaged his liver.
When her father was hospitalized and his death was certain, his family came to visit.
"We all blessed him. We each had our turn saying we loved him, and we thanked him. Imagine this wonderful family surrounding him at this moment. My father died with his family surrounding him. Even though it was sad, it was quite beautiful," said Desilva.
A turning point in her faith journey came in 2002 when she went to World Youth Day in Toronto. She began going on religious retreats, took an Alpha course, and started exploring her faith much deeper.
On Feb. 17, 2002, her mother suffered a stroke. She grew closer to her mother over the months that followed. They had a newfound closeness. Exactly one year later, her mother died.
"I just felt that it was God reaching down, giving me a little more time to spend with her and to get to know her," said Desilva.
On the day of her mother's funeral, as she and her family pulled up to the church, they saw a huge rainbow across the sky – a sign from her mother. Although she felt sorrow about her mother's death, she still felt her presence and God's presence with her that day.