ONE QUESTION, MANY ENCOUNTERS, ONE CHOICE
The philosophy as a search for a meaning. Then like a mosaic different people orient my journey.
Pontelatone, a well-known metropolis in the Province of Caserta: a little town of 2000 people, a twenty minute drive from the famous Reggia di Caserta. Here in this minuscule but beautiful tile of the mosaic that is our world, I lived until I entered the seminary. Here I attended kindergarten, primary and middle school, here I began to understand the basic ingredients of myself and of my life. I recall the friends that I would meet in my house or somewhere nearby, or the interests that I am still passionate about: philosophy at high school, reading in general, a passion that accompanies me, reading and reading my own self through discourses and novels. Writing, aged fourteen in both poetry and prose.
Adolescence, accompanied by a dear friend: a strong questioning of meaning. This friend led me to devour spiritual texts from different religions, then to participate in a retreat in 2011, organised by a community of Franciscans in Succivo. A revolutionary retreat. Some prayer, other young people on a journey of discovery just like me, and that was it. Jesus Christ entered my life.
An encounter with another Franciscan community. The beginning of an accompaniment that was already animated in some mysterious way by the desire to stay with God. Three years of the diocesan seminary accompanied by the question: diocesan or religious life? Where can I love him and grow with him in a better way? Questions of meaning that interrogated my vocation. Being truly who I am: this is what I wanted, and I wanted to do it with and in the Lord.
I studied philosophy in the Pontifical Faculty of Naples where many of the professors are Jesuits. I was accompanied by a Jesuit spiritual director. I experienced the Spiritual Exercises with them. The desire to know the Society of Jesus better was born in me. I was given an opportunity to do so in Bologna, where I lived for eight months. There I helped out with manual work in the retreat house of “Villa San Giuseppe”, and I took part in a couple of youth groups from the “Poggeschi” youth ministry center that is run by the Jesuits. I don’t believe that it is possible to sum up in a few words the richness of that experience, which was for me a springboard to the novitiate.
There, in Bologna, I met and clashed with myself. I met and clashed with the words and silences, sometimes long, of God. I felt the weight of having different possibilities and the ‘cut’ in taking one decision rather than another. And there, together with the Lord, I chose to take a leap with him in the novitiate of the Society.
And now here I am, with steps already taken and at the dawn of a journey that continues.