Helena Lobato is a 44 year old artist from Portugal. For years, she dedicated most of her time to painting and art work. Religion was never really part of her life, but one day, the 44 year old artist found herself asking deeper questions about life and Christianity.
"I never considered myself a person of faith, much less one that knew what religious life was about.”
Fast forward about a year or so, now Helena will be Baptized by Pope Francis. She's one of many adults who will receive the Sacrament during Saturday's Easter Vigil in St. Peter's Basilica.
"It's an invitation I received at a very important moment in my life.”
It all started with a letter. Even though she wasn't Catholic, she felt compelled to write a hand written letter to Pope Francis in Portuguese. She shared her thoughts, fears and even doubts. Above all else, she asked for a source of light and purpose. To much of her surprise she received a response.
"In the letter, the Pope said he was praying for me so that I could receive that light I yearned for. But he said true light, comes from Jesus and through the Sacrament of Baptism.”
Helena had been attending catechism adult courses to learn more about the Catholic faith. But it took her two months to accept the papal invitation. She wanted to say 'yes' for all the right reasons.
"I wanted to understand all the emotions I was feeling and I wanted to make a conscious decision about what all this meant.”
Now looking back, it's something that moves her to tears. It's part of a process that's still not finished, but looking forward, she says, she's looking forward to each and every step of the journey.