We often hear the adage "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade."
I never really understood that - I really like lemons - but I understand what they are saying: when life events do not seem to go your way, take what you have been given and make something new of it.
That is what we Christians do, with the Cross, with suffering, with adversity, but also with joy. We transform the things of life because that is what Christ did. He did not destroy but fulfilled. We take hardship and transform it into salvation; we take joy and transform the world, transforming darkness into light.
So it was for Florentina (Ascensión was her taken name). When the Spanish Civil War expelled her and her order, when she could have just been assumed into another order or a convent in a more convenient place, she took the adversity and suffering and chose to become a missionary, to take her life and transform it to serve others in a new way and in a new place. Not that it would be much better than what she left; not that it would be easier than what she had already endured. She merely got on with what she was already doing. So she did not really transform her vocation, sort of like me and lemons, but transformed it by making something new of it. Rather than wasting it she bumped it up a notch, like making lemonade from lemons (and some sugar).
I address in particular the Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Rosary, so that, following the example of their Blessed Foundress, they help us to relive the spirit of St Dominic in our times. Keep alive the experience of God's presence in missionary life - "God is so closely felt", Mother Ascensión would say -, the spirit of fraternity in your communities, ready to go to those places where the Church needs you, with that bold spirit which led Mother Ascensión to the undeveloped territory of the Vicariate of Puerto Maldonado. I greet the pilgrims of this Apostolic Vicariate and of the other Peruvian regions, in whom I see maturing a precious fruit of genuine evangelization, cultivated with an especially feminine care. I also greet the pilgrims from Navarra, birthplace of the new Blessed, and from the other parts of Spain, where the seed of faith is deeply rooted and has given many missionaries to the entire world. The ceremony took place on a very significant day for missionaries and for the entire Church: the vigil of Pentecost, a moment in which, under the impulse of the Holy Spirit, the disciples of Jesus fearlessly launched themselves to proclaim everywhere and publicly Jesus' teaching. Since then, others have welcomed the missionary mandate, placing their energies at the service of the Gospel. Among them is Mother Ascensión, who, in turn, allowed herself to be inflamed by the fire of Pentecost and made it her duty to spread it in the world. May she now intercede for all of you so that you bring to the world the light that gave splendor to her life and joy to her heart.
-- Pope Benedict XVI, Address To The Pilgrims Gathered In Rome For The Beatification Of Ascensión Nicol Goñi And Marianne Cope, Monday, 16 May 2005