The Way God Looked for Me
There are many ways in which God can call us to follow him. The story of someone’s vocational call is thus unique, peculiar, and different from all the rest. In my case, at the end of my primary school my parents sent me to the Minor Seminary of our diocese in Ciudad Rodrigo (Spain). They wanted me to complete my secondary education there and perhaps later on, if God would call me, to study for the priesthood. In the Minor Seminary I received a good and careful religious, academic and human formation. When I finished the secondary school I decided to continue my education at the University of Salamanca, to get ready for the adventure of life. The time I spent in Salamanca went by quickly and after three years I had finished my studies of Management for Tourist Companies. I was ready to start my professional life.
However, upon completion of the studies in Salamanca, instead of getting a job right away I decided to go to London to improve my knowledge of English. As a result of various circumstances I ended up living at St. Joseph’s College in London, which is the Central House of the St. Joseph’s Missionary Society (commonly known as the Mill Hill Fathers.) I anticipated that my time of study in London would be somewhat grey and monotonous. I was wrong. Those years became a crucial period for me, during which my life would totally change, taking on a surprising direction. Two seminarians from the Missionary Community of St. Paul the Apostle studied and lived at St. Joseph’s College at the time; they were Francisco Moro and Fernando Aguirre. I began going with them during my free time to the different tasks they were doing. Together we visited many times the Spanish-speaking community in Fulham, we participated in the spiritual retreats at the Benedictine Abbey of Ampleforth, and I went along with them to the missionary talks they where giving in different parishes where they were invited. Slowly, the flame of a religious vocation appeared in my life, even though I kept saying that I was not sure about becoming a priest, much less a missionary.
It was during my first visit to Africa in 1991 with Fr. Francisco Andreo when I clearly saw that my place to follow Christ was with the Missionary Community of St. Paul the Apostle, and the way was as a priest wherever God wanted to send me. That first visit occurred a long time ago, and today I continue working in Africa. When I look back and see my initial fears and doubts I realize that we must have more faith and trust in the often-unpredictable ways which God uses to invite us to follow Him.