Marilyn’s Story: An Amazing Journey
by Marilyn Bergeron
I grew up in a strong Catholic home, with good parents, wanting for nothing really. That said, from perhaps the age of 10 or 11, I felt something was wrong. Christmas would pass, Easter would pass, sometimes a Sunday and I would think to myself that something was missing. There was an emptiness inside of me that I couldn’t describe and didn’t understand.
In 1996, looking for a faith experience for my youngest daughter, I boarded a bus for a Catholic youth conference at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. While sitting in a huge tent with some 2,500 teens and chaperons, the sound of praise and worship music filled the air. I had never heard anything like it. It stirred my heart and made me feel happy and at home immediately. On the Saturday evening, the Holy Spirit filled the tent in a very special way and I remember standing there, saying to God, “you have my permission to do what you want” thinking I would be “slain” in the spirit. Nothing happened. I felt nothing and moved on figuring that He was there to minister to the teens. We had a great weekend, travelled home and I started my week.
Within a few days, I was thinking about my Catholic faith, looking for the little booklets I had thrown out when my Dad had offered them to me. I felt drawn to weekday Mass. A couple of weeks later I registered for a catechism course in Toronto. The Holy Spirit had indeed done “something” to me. He filled me with a sense of peace and a desire to know Jesus. He did it so quietly and gently that I didn’t realize it. Looking back at the years before the conference, some struggles and hurts, I could see how God had been preparing me. That was the start of an amazing journey that I still travel every day.
God continues to fill me up with His Holy Spirit at courses, conferences, in the Adoration Chapel and sometimes in unlikely places. Jesus has become the centre of my life to the best of my ability. I am excited about the Gospel message and want to share it with others. I have shed my somewhat prim and proper self and experienced incredible freedom and joy, peace and love. I no longer feel that something is missing. The hole has been filled.
My prayer is that others will experience the power of the Holy Spirit, the friendship of Jesus and the mercy of our heavenly Father as I have. It’s there for the asking.