Catherine Macora, a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi, was raised in a Catholic family; an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was displayed in the living room, and the family faithfully went to Mass, prayed the rosary weekly, and occasionally read the lives of the saints.
However, despite being surrounded by the Catholic faith as a child, it wasn’t until Catherine was much older that she truly made the faith her own. Growing up in Texas, as a young adult she was attracted to the secular environment around her, the worldly ambitions and superficial ideals of happiness and accomplishment. For Catherine, a happy and fulfilling life meant independence, a successful career, a colorful social life, frequent travel, and marriage to the perfect man.
After graduating from the University of Texas, Catherine took a position in public relations in downtown Houston, eventually joining the PR team at the headquarters of a leading computer company – her dream job. But despite having the successful career she’d always wanted, deep down, Catherine knew that was something was missing. Even after moving to London, England, where she could see St. Paul’s Cathedral from one of her office windows and Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament from the other, where she could spend time with a vibrant group of friends and travel easily across Europe, and where she found a boyfriend who took her to see the Queen, and who treated her like a queen, Catherine’s restless heart remained restless.
She knew that God was calling her to something much different than the life she had always imagined for herself.
“Our Lord was merciful with me. He let me suffer an immense emptiness and solitude so that I would look for him,” says Catherine, who realized that her search for happiness in her own worldly interests was leading to deeper and deeper unhappiness. “I knew in my heart that only God’s will would make me truly happy, and I couldn’t give up my search until I found it.”
Catherine took a three-month sabbatical from her job in London in order to pray, reflect, and discern what God’s will for her life might be, and went to visit her sister, Mary, in Atlanta, Georgia, and it was here that she encountered Regnum Christi. Through Regnum Christi, Catherine began to discover Jesus Christ as a person for the first time in her life, through the Gospels, through the Eucharist, through personal prayer, and through witnessing lay RC members living their faith in an enthusiastic and authentic way. “I found in Christ a true friend, and in experiencing his love and mercy, I fell in love with him,” says Catherine. “This encounter with Christ gave me the strength to want to live my faith, and everything started to fall into place. My restless heart was finally resting in him.”
Immediately, Catherine joined Regnum Christi, where she instantly felt at home. “This is the mission my heart had been longing for,” says Catherine. Shortly afterwards, while on retreat in Rome, Catherine attended the Papal Mass in St. Peter’s Square, and heard a clear call in her heart, through the words of Pope John Paul II: “Be not afraid – go and preach Christ in the streets, plazas and rooftops!” Catherine knew at once that Christ was calling her to leave everything that she had at one time thought would bring her happiness, and let him be her only love. In 1996, at the age of 32, and 10 years into a successful international career in communications and marketing, Catherine consecrated her life to God as a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi.
Over 25 years of consecrated life, Catherine has worked in catholic education; spiritual and apostolic formation of youth, young adults, and women; and various evangelization missions with youth and families in the U.S. and abroad, however, over the last decade, God had a mission for Catherine much closer to home: she spent the last 7 years at her home in Austin, Texas, taking care of her elderly parents, who have both recently passed away. In 2020, Catherine returned to community in Houston, Texas and is now residing in Chicago.
Catherine celebrated 25 years as a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi with a Mass and Solemn Blessing in Houston, and for her, having the ceremony in Texas was like a blessing of those years she had spent in service of her parents:
“It was a wonderful gift to be together on such a joyous occasion with my family, friends and the many Regnum Christi families that I had worked with in Houston and stayed in touch with while in Austin taking care of my parents. It was like a heavenly blessing – a sealing – of the time in Texas that I gave in ministry work and in the special mission of family caregiving. I’m grateful to God for my vocation and to my Houston community of Consecrated Women who wanted to celebrate and give closure to my decade back in Texas.”
During those 7 years she spent in service of her aging parents, Catherine encountered a great number of people who, while intelligent, thoughtful, and sincere, no longer believed in the existence of an objective truth, and therefore struggled to discover and understand the full meaning of their lives, and their own identities as children of God. Witnessing this struggle ignited Catherine’s interest in furthering her own understanding of classical philosophy as a grounding in perennial wisdom and intellectual discipline; as a result, she is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in Christian Wisdom at Holy Apostles College & Seminary. She hopes that her studies will lead her more deeply into the truths and wisdom of the Church so that she can spread the truth of Christ’s love to others. “My whole desire is to live in the truth of who Jesus is, who he wants me to be for the world, and to help others discover his love.”
How has Catherine’s vocation to consecrated life changed over the past 25 years? That personal relationship with Jesus that originally called her to give her life wholly to him has only grown deeper, her vocation has become more Christ-centered, her response more trusting. “My relationship with Jesus is why I became a consecrated – I encountered His love, he won my heart,” says Catherine. “Twenty-five years has been a huge gift, not merited by any means, and it’s only by God’s grace that I am still here, persevering, working and praying that everyone will experience his love and mercy.” Catherine asks for the prayers of her Regnum Christi family that she, and all those called to the vocation of religious and consecrated life, will receive the grace of final perseverance.