Danielle LaPointe is a member of the Covenant Community, living in Boston in the US. She is the first American member of the Community to make vows as a celibate for the Kingdom of Heaven.
In an interview with her she shares about how she felt called to this life of full commitment to the Lord.
How did you discern your state in life?
I think one way God really attracted me to celibacy was through the lives of two celibates that I am close to (one is from Life Community and one from Covenant Community). I could see the “radicalness” in the way they lived, how they loved God, how they loved missionary life, and I could identify myself with them. I was attracted to their way of life – I wanted to live how they were living!
In the discernment process, when I looked back over the history of my life, I could see a lot of things that were pointing me toward celibacy. When I shared and prayed with my personal and community formators, God kept confirming what was in my heart.
Why was it important for you to discern your state in life?
I was so eager to know my state in life because I felt like it was the “missing piece” to my identity. I wanted to live my identity fully, to be everything that God created me to be – daughter of God, Shalom, Celibate for the Kingdom!
When/how did you feel called to celibacy?
Every year the members of the Community do a 10-day retreat called “Recycling Retreat”. During the 2018 Recycling Retreat, we had formation about the states in life. I remember after that retreat having a deeper appreciation for the beauty of marriage, and also being really inspired by the talk about celibacy for the Kingdom. I think God used that retreat to help me see the beauty of all the states of life, so I could be more free to give my “yes” to what He was calling me to.
It’s beautiful because in the Shalom vocation we say that ALL of us – married couples, single people, priests, celibates for the Kingdom, young, old, everyone – are called to have a heart enflamed with Spousal Love for the Lord. I had to really believe that it was possible to have Spousal Love for God in any state of life, that it was possible to live a holy life, a missionary life, to be radical for God as a family, as a married couple, before I could really be free to say “yes” to celibacy. I remember how God showed me some beautiful examples of families and couples here in our mission in Boston who helped me to see, by the testimonies of their missionary lives, that indeed ALL of us are called to be “spouse souls” of Jesus Christ!
How did it change and impact your life?
I felt really happy to know what God created me for, and also relieved because discernment (of anything!) can sometimes be difficult, confusing, tiring… and I felt like now I could finally run forward and give my “yes”!
How was your experience during Mass?
The Mass was really beautiful. I remember feeling so aware of my weaknesses, of my need for God’s mercy and grace, and so, so thankful for everything that He has done in my life to bring me to this point! We say in Shalom that God chooses not the best or the most beautiful ones, but the weakest ones, the biggest sinners – I felt so unworthy, but so happy that He chose me!
Do you believe celibacy is something new for people/your family/in general in the US? Why?
Yes! I think it’s something new even for people in the Church. And I think that is a big part of what attracted me – I wanted to do something radical for God!
I remember I was explaining to my aunt that I would live as celibate for the Kingdom and she said, “so no love life for Danielle”, and I explained to her that actually, I am in love – but in a different way. Celibacy is not the same as singleness, and it’s not renouncing love, it’s choosing Love! I am in love with Jesus Christ, with His Church, and with the Shalom Community. And that fulfills me!
And I think in general people really have a respect for someone who wants to dedicate their life to God, even if they don’t completely understand it.
How long have you been a member of the community?
5 years (since 2017).
Regarding your mission, what do you feel the Lord will entrust to you/call you live more “radically” as a celibate?
There is a term that Moyses, our founder, uses when he describes celibacy for the Kingdom, which is “missionary audacity”. I love this term. He says that “consecrated celibacy is a potent and explosive fuel for parresia”. All of us, as baptized members of the Catholic Church, and especially as members of the Shalom Community – in any state of life – are called to be “missionary”. But as a celibate for the Kingdom, I can be more available to “follow the Lamb wherever He goes”, as it says in the book of Revelation.
I also think God is inviting me to put my life more and more in His hands, to trust Him totally with my needs, with my future. One thing people have asked me is, “what will happen to you when you get older? You will have no husband, no kids to take care of you.” I don’t know what my life will look like, but I know that God takes care of everything!
Can you share something related to the graces and challenges you’ve experienced and leave a message to young people about belonging totally to God?
There is a quote from John Paul II that I love:
“It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.
It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.”
Whether in marriage or celibacy, Jesus is the only One who can truly fulfill us. Nothing else in this world can ever fully satisfy us – that’s why celibacy is an “eschatological sign” – a sign of what all of us will live in Heaven – to belong totally to God!
My life is a testimony that God’s plans are so much bigger than ours. He surprised me in so many ways with this vocation, this missionary life, this call to be celibate for the Kingdom of Heaven – and He has fulfilled my heart in ways that I never expected. Life with God is a great adventure! Do not be afraid!