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Friday, July 11, 2014

Beautiful Role Models Inside and Out -- Stories of Conversion (When God Called, They Answered)

Beautiful already by "worldly" standards...

I guess you have to experience it,
to believe it.

Some women experience it almost instantly.

Others experience it in stages, trickling in little by little, then suddenly, and all at once.

What am I talking about?!? :)

I am talking about deciding to live a life for God. 100%. Total. Complete. A full and final decision to truly let go and let God.

 Today, I felt led to write about four women who decided to leave fame, fortune and worldly glory, to serve and glorify God.

I will share about their conversion experiences, that can attributed to no one else but God. 

When He called, they said "Yes!"

(Peacefulwife Philippines note: I could very much relate to them. I too gave up my career and my desire to be an established broadcaster when I found God, or when God found me -- broken and repentant. Having experienced in a small scale what it felt like to "have it all" at one point in my life, I constantly wondered: "Is this all there is to life? Why do I still feel empty? Why don't I feel that I matter, despite all this? :( "  On September 1, 2013, God changed me and made me into a new creation. The "old was gone, the new has come", blessed be the Name of the Lord! (2 Cor 5:17) That was also the time when I decided to submit fully unto God, and then submit totally too to my husband. I was tired of rebelling. I was ready to be freed from the bondage that was (my desire to) control. And I haven't looked back since. :) I would rather DIE than go back to my former life and my former self!!!!)
 Then 2012 (Pre-Conversion)    and  Now 2014 (Full Submission to God)

These fellow sisters in Christ also got tired of the world. They got tired too of always feeling empty. They gave up the world and all that it could offer them (worldly beauty, prestige, riches and worldly glory), and in exchange for it, gained something much more precious and priceless -- lives lived for God, lives hidden in Christ Jesus, and lives filled with the Spirit!

Read on... :)

Beautiful Woman # 1:Olalla Oliveros 
Olalla was "unceasingly unhappy despite her worldly success before becoming a nun."

Former Life in the World: Spanish Model and Actress
Present Life in Christ: A nun in the Order of Saint Michael. She now goes by her religious name, Sister Olalla del Sí de María.
Her Story: 

She told El Diario de Carlos Paz that she decided to change lifestyles after visiting The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima in Portugal, where she felt an "internal earthquake."

She also said she was increasingly unhappy despite her worldly success, before becoming a nun.

After visiting the famous shrine, she imagined herself dressed as a nun. Although she initially found the idea "absurd," she couldn't shake the vision, according to the National Catholic Register. She then consulted with a priest in Madrid and realized God was calling her.
Look at that smile and that glow on her face!!! Jesus radiates from within! :)
Her agent, Mirella Melero, says Oliveros' choice was not due to career struggles -- she had just landed a movie role.
                                                                                                            Source: Latin Post 


Beautiful Woman #2: Amada Rosa Pérez 
Amada grew tired of a world of lies. Now, the world does not appeal to her anymore. She enjoys
every moment the Lord gives her. She has found true peace. :)

Former Life in the World: Columbian Model
Present Life in Christ: Tireless servant of a Marian religious community in Columbia

Her Story: 
Amada explained to the Colombian newspaper “El Tiempo,” that she had been diagnosed with a disease that left her with only 60 percent of her hearing in her left ear.  The news caused her to question her lifestyle.  I felt disappointed, unsatisfied, directionless, submerged in fleeting pleasures …” she said. 

“I always sought answers and the world never gave them to me."

“Before I was always in a hurry, stressed out, and got upset easily,” she continued.
Now I live in peace, the world doesn’t appeal to me, I enjoy every moment the Lord gives me.
I go to Mass, I pray the Holy Rosary daily, as well as the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 p.m. I go to confession frequently,” she added.
"The Lord is never wrong. He asked if I [would] follow him, and I could not refuse," Oliveros said according to NCR.
Amada now works tirelessly with a Marian religious community in Colombia.

“Being a model means being a benchmark, someone whose beliefs are worthy of being imitated, and I grew tired of being a model of superficiality. 
I grew tired of a world of lies, appearances, falsity, hypocrisy and deception, a society full of anti-values that exalts violence, adultery, drugs, alcohol, fighting, and a world that exalts riches, pleasure, sexual immorality and fraud. 

She resurfaced after five years, to be a witness to the saving grace of the Lord.
I want to be a model that promotes the true dignity of women and not their being used for commercial purposes,” Amada said.

(Peacefulwife Philippines Note: It is unclear to me whether she has become a nun  (it looks like she does not wear a habit) or "just" a full-time apostolic worker affiliated with a Marian congregation, but what I am sure about, is she has left her former life in order to follow Christ.)

Beautiful Woman #3 : Kylie Bisutti
Kylie won the Victoria's Secret model search, only to give up her crown when she realized the worldly values she was teaching impressionable women, especially young girls.

Former Life in the World: Victoria's Secret model

Present Life in Christ: Model mom and wife, owner of a Christian clothing company, author of 'I'm No Angel - From Victoria's Secret Model to Role Model'

Her Story:

In her own words, from her blog, I'm No Angel:
"I'm Kylie Bisutti. Former Victoria's Secret Model turned Role Model by the grace of God. My life used to revolve around fame, fortune, & my selfish heart. It now revolves around helping others and glorifying the amazing love who changed my heart: Jesus."

She further says in her blog post on "Me? Insecure? How Did You Know?!" : 

 "God doesn't focus on our outward appearance. It is what's on the inside that matters most to Him. The Bible tells us that God's focus is on developing the qualities of our hearts, so that it can be reflected in everything we do. Qualities  like: love, kindness, integrity, honesty, humility, meekness...
1 Samuel 16:7 - "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (NIV)

Kylie's book
Once I realized, by God's grace, that I will never find confidence or happiness when I am focusing so much on my outward appearance and that it could only be found in working on my inner qualities and focusing on honoring God with my life, I finally found true confidence.
When I used to wear hair extensions all the time and had to have a spray tan on and clothes that got me attention, I was focused on the wrong things. It was consuming my heart and taking my eyes off of the Lord. I was so self consumed with posting pictures of myself on Facebook to try and get likes and for people to think that I looked good. I had to take a real close look at my priorities and cut some things out of my life."
With her husband and newborn. Kylie is a picture of beauty in its simplicity now. :)

 Proverbs 31:30 - "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting: but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."(NIV)
________________________________________________________________________________       Beautiful Woman #4 : Chin Chin Gutierrez
Chin-Chin's mother used to be a nun before leaving the convent and getting married. With both parents now with our Creator, it is believed that the lovely Filipina actress is now following her mom's footsteps
and fulfilling her own desire to serve God by becoming a nun.

Former Life in the World: Filipina Actress and Commercial Model

Present Life in Christ: Nun-in-Training with the Carmelite sisters in Tagaytay

Her Story:

Chin-Chin is one of the loveliest faces in Philippine television and cinema. I am sure most Filipinos/Filipinas are wondering where she is at the moment. Her last much-publicized tele-serye (soap opera), 'Dahil May Isang Ikaw' (Because There is You) was in 2009. After that TV show, she just disappeared! (Peacefulwife Philippines note: It is worth mentioning that both Olalla and Amada disappeared too from the face of the earth, only to resurface four to five years after to witness to their new vocations.) It won't be surprising then, if despite some denials on the part of her former manager, that she is just an "ecological lay worker and not a religious nun", that in the very near future (It has been five years since she went "missing in action"), she will resurface as "Sister Lourdes" - her real name in real life. :)

There are reports and sightings of her being in a Carmelite convent in Tagaytay, where she is training to become a nun. People who have seen her say that she looks very modest as a religious, with nary powder on her face, and with her once glamorous hair, tied in a simple ponytail.

But, in her simplicity, her beauty is still very evident. She looks even more beautiful because they say, her face is glowing with peace and holiness.
Chin Chin has always been prayerful. 

Chin Chin is currently busy with helping the poor and the needy, as part of her Carmelite congregation. I have had a chance to interview her as a reporter in the past after her house got burned down in 2006, and she struck me as unusual and other-worldly, in a good way. Her love for nature, for  all things that God had created, and for God Himself, was evident throughout our interview. Her eyes were always set towards what was unseen and what was eternal. I have interviewed many celebrities and she was in a class on her own -- so strikingly beautiful yet so profound and deep. 
 I pray that Chin Chin or "Sister Lourdes", will one day come out of hiding, and witness to the beauty and glory of living a life solely for God! :)



Since three out of four in this list became or is about to become a nun, I would like to take this time to divulge that being a nun had passed my mind many times as a young teenager and then as a young adult. It is notable to share too that at least three priests have told me that I "have the aura of a nun", including Father Gerry Orbos, SVD. :) I did not believe them back then and did not know what to think of the comments, because I was in deep bondage, due to my insecurities and the drama that always seemed to surround me and my life, when the Lord still hadn't freed me from the snares brought about by my selfish flesh, the tempting world and the father of lies - satan. 
I am the one with an X. This was a school presentation. At the back are the real nuns from SSpS. I was just 13 here, I think! :)
I studied in the School of the Holy Spirit, in Quezon City from Prep to High School. I have been a Holy Spirit Associate (Third Order of the SSpSA sisters) since 1998. And currently, I am a member of the Charismatic group of the Christ the King Parish, which is very active in Catholic Life in the Spirit seminars, that are very Spirit-led and Spirit-filled. Holy Spirit, rain down! :) 

I now know that my vocation is not meant for the religious life though, but that I am called to be a godly mother to our four children - Therese, Andre, Reuben and Isabelle; and a godly wife to Dong. :) 
With my husband, Dong and our 4 angels :) - Mar 2014

Motherhood and being my husband's helpmeet are my God-ordained ways of honoring my Heavenly Father and showing Christ to the world! It is through biblical submission, that in my own little way, I will be able to glorify God. It is through living a godly life as a married woman, that I will be able to witness to Christ! It is by living in the world, and not in a cloister, that I will be able to spread word on God's design for marriage, in Whatever Way the Spirit leads me. 

I used to obsess about being worldly beautiful. You know -- thin, fair and flawless. But since God opened up my spiritual eyes in September last year, the Lord had instilled in my heart a deep desire to be godly beautiful -- meek, humble, gentle and kind, and no longer to be just worldly beautiful. The former, would be impossible to attain and to maintain, for the world is fickle and cruel, and I would always come up short (pun intended!). But the latter is achievable because it is no longer I who lives, but Christ in me. And with God, everything is possible! I long for beauty that God alone can see - the beauty of a woman whose life revolves around Him and who desires nothing except to follow His Will -- "submitting to my husband as unto the Lord in everything", (Ephesians 5:22-24) included.

How truly wonderful these women are -- Sister Olalla, Sister Amada, Kylie and Sister Lourdes -- in their submission to God's Will for them, in their lives!!! In this era where women are so independent-minded and so rebellious against God Himself, it is refreshing and inspiring to hear of beautiful women (by the world's standards), who are willing to let go of all that other women would die for just to attain -- fame, fortune, beauty and adulation -- to let God rule. 
Now, THAT is true godly beauty! :)
...More beautiful now by godly standards. Beautiful role models inside and out. May the Lord's Name be praised!

                                                                 1 Peter 3:3-5
3"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. [*They submitted themselves to their own husbands..]" 

* For the married women, of course. For those in the religious life, Jesus Christ is their Spouse.

May we all be richly blessed! :)

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