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Learning to Love
The first years of her religious life were marked by a series of trials, physical and moral sufferings, through which the Good Jesus –as she used to call him– was working the wood in order to prepare it for the mission awaiting her. She learns the science of love by making herself accessible as a broom, her gaze fixed on Jesus’ Cross, and going out to meet the poor.
Some of those living with her were surprised and others had doubts, when they saw that God was giving her many extraordinary graces. In the midst of her physical sufferings, she had mystical experiences. Now, with the distance in time, we can clearly see that God had set his gaze on his humble servant and was reserving her for the execution of a special plan for the good of humankind. She was going to be entrusted with an extraordinary charisma, by being sent to diffuse the devotion to the Merciful Love throughout the entire world.
Her spiritual directors were the ones who, from the privileged view of her soul that was like an open book, were able to glimpse her mission and prepare her conscience. Also, as in the lives of most saints, Mother Esperanza underwent both serious illnesses and inexplicable cures.
On Christmas of 1927, there was an event that proved to be decisive for understanding what God wanted from her. She was member of a community living on Calle Toledo, Madrid. The house did not belong the Claretian Congregation but to an Association of Catholic Ladies. There, Mother Esperanza was preparing, with the help of Providence, a meal for 400 poor and hungry people, who were filling the house. Just at that moment, a lady from the Association came: “… ‘Tell me,’ she said, ‘who gave you the permission to bring all of these filthy people here to dirty everything?’... ‘No, Madame, they have not come to dirty anything but to eat since it’s Christmas’… ‘You’ll good care to not bring the poor here again; you can do that in your own house.’ Deeply hurt, I went to the Lord and He said to me: Esperanza, wherever the poor cannot enter, neither can you; Leave this house!... Lord, where shall I go?” (Exhort. 15.08.66)
God called her, like Saint Theresa, neither to a quiet and well-regulated life nor to a comfortable congregation living in routines, but to sublime contemplation and diligent charity.