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What do you think when you hear of the Bahamas? Perhaps what first comes to mind is a paradise-like sandy and sunny beach, a fresh coconut with a straw, or women dressed in grass skirts. After living in Mater Ecclesiae for 3 years now, what first comes to my mind is Taniele Tucker. Not only do I have her in mind because she is the only person native of this country that I know, but also because of her very important role in our college and in our community.
As the assistant business manager, she helps provide everything that our community needs. But far beyond what she does, the only reason she is here is that she is a woman who has consecrated her life to God in Regnum Christi. All her work is dedicated to Him. Because of this I was intrigued to ask Taniele more about the apparent paradox in her decision to leave the Caribbean paradise to embark in a life of service in the Church.
“I always wanted to do something for others,” she remarked. Growing up in a 21×7 mile island in which 28% of the 400,000 inhabitants are Catholic, she was part of a very small community that felt almost as a family for her. There were many good models in her life. The first time she thought of serving in the Church was because of her cousin who worked full time for the parish priest.
She experienced this again when a group of high school boys, members of Mission Youth, appeared at the doors of her parish.
“I was impressed with their testimony: Young guys interested in doing something for others. It wasn’t the priest that came with them who made an impression, but normal kids my age.” This was the first time Taniele remembers meeting Regnum Christi or its works of apostolate.
Another instance she recalls was in 1999, when a group of consecrated women came to give a chastity seminar for young women.
“I was in college, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. With the talks I was strengthened by grace to make the right decisions to follow the right path.” Soon she realized that this experience was not only for her personal life. A desire to give that to others grew in her. “Now I saw girls helping, and I wanted to do that, help others.”
She visited the United States for a Regnum Christi convention, and then decided to go to the summer discernment program.
“At this point, my desire to make a difference was already real. The idea of being consecrated now seemed possible, and this hope fueled my enthusiasm.” So she decided to consecrate her life to God and leave her hometown to go wherever the mission would take her.
“I didn’t know I had that sense of adventure in me,” she laughs. In her life of consecration, Taniele would have to give up the “joy of eating fish almost every day and the colorful sunsets in the beach.” But she says it was worth it, because Christ gave her a vocation to be with Him always, no matter the difficulties.
Wondering if the hard times that the Regnum Christi Movement is going through had affected this experience, I asked Taniele what she thought about this situation.
“No matter the difficulties, my spiritual family is still my family.” She is convinced that God is faithful and will fulfill his promise of being with her always. “It is not a mistake on his part. He reassured me of his fidelity, of his promise to take care of me, and of my call to serve souls.”
I asked Taniele if after all these years she still holds this desire to give her life to God and others.
“Even more now!” she answered. “Now I know what it means to have a close relationship with God and the importance of grace, which passes on to eternity.” She wants to be a good model in people’s lives around the world, just as she had good models to guide her own. She thinks that her motivation is now purer and stronger.
“Christ has fulfilled those desires I had, but not only that; He has also surprised me giving more than I could’ve asked for.” A life of coconuts, hammocks, and grass skirts, (which by the way, Taniele laughed saying there are no women in grass skirts, although she admits missing the mangoes and bananas) falls short for Taniele compared to the promises that Our Lord has made, not only for Paradise, but starting with the hundredfold on this Earth. If not, balancing bank accounts and going grocery shopping for the community would be a puzzling paradox.
“When I was discerning, I made a list of pros and cons for getting consecrated. The list of pros was of more value to me. But today I can see that He’s added on to that list of pros. Much more.”