'My lecturers presented a vision of the world which seemed hopelessly meaningless ... I began to think hard about ethics. How should I live?'
My recognition of a call to religious life was bound up with the rediscovery of my faith as a university student.
I was raised a Catholic, and as a child and teenager attended mass every Sunday with my family. Unfortunately, I drifted away from the practice of my faith as soon as I left home. Initially, sheer laziness was to blame, then after a while, I just stopped believing.
A series of lectures in my second year at university shook me out of my complacency. My lecturers presented a vision of the world which seemed hopelessly meaningless and intuitively false. In dissatisfaction, I began to think hard about ethics. What made some things right and some things wrong? How should I live? And what kind of person did I want to be? I also began to think about God.
At this time I was living with some Christians. Through their good example and some helpful conversations, I began to understand that, deep down, what I wanted more than anything else was to love and be loved.
In the same movement, I rediscovered my faith. I went back to mass, and I went to confession, and for the rest of my time at university, I was like a sponge soaking up as much formation on prayer, the scriptures, theology as I could, especially from the Dominican friars based in the city.
I felt an impetus within me towards religious life from the very beginning. Initially, I was attracted to the monastic life and so after graduating from university I took some steps towards joining a monastery. I was inspired by the idea of a life dedicated to prayer. However, the experience of leaving a university environment and involving myself more actively in the Church’s mission shifted my perspective.
On the one hand, now that I was outside of a university context, I felt the lack of intellectual nourishment. It became clear that, for me, study is an engine of contemplation. On the other hand, I enjoyed my tentative forays into preaching and teaching and began to grow in confidence when it came to public speaking.
The mottos of the Dominican Order ‘Truth’ and ‘to contemplate, and to share the fruits of contemplation with others’ began to resonate with me. I visited some Dominican priories and immediately felt at home. It was clear that this was where I belonged.