Jesuit Novitiate
Novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus
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Nicola Uva

THAT DESIRE FOR FREEDOM AND AUTHENTICITY

 

Many years far from the Church, from God, from myself. Many places lived in, many people met.

In the search for truth, freedom, love, my path opens up in unexpected ways.

 

I was born in Trani, in Puglia, 32 years ago. The search for the true meaning of things, of life, of love, guides my choices ever since my youth. I travel a lot and after my Confirmation I no longer attend Church, incapable of satisfying my questions.

 

In a world dominated by money, choosing the Faculty of Economics for my university studies seems to me the most logical thing to do. I graduate at Bari and I move to Siena to continue my studies. An enchanting city, with a medieval charm, where I find myself, God, a fullness of life never experienced. I live a difficult journey of re-reading my innermost being, of conversion, culminating in the grace of forgiveness. I attend the Eucharistic celebration once again in the wonderful Cathedral of Siena. Everything seems to have a different taste, a different flavour. I experience a period of rebirth, a new spring of the soul.

 

I frequent a parish in my hometown and graduate at Siena with a degree in Governance and Auditing. The desire to do something good for the world and society with which I had begun my studies transforms into the desire for the priesthood, to give to others the love received in the forgiving embrace of God.

 

I get to know St. Ignatius for the first time thanks to the parish priest, a student of the Jesuits in Naples. His style different from other priests surprises me and instills questions in me about the formation of the Society of Jesus. I get in touch with a Jesuit from the University chapel in Bari and I live strong experiences: the spiritual exercises in Bologna, the summer experience for young adults at Selva di Val Gardena, spiritual direction.

 

The desire for the priesthood seems to orient me towards the Society, but the desire to dedicate myself to my hometown is still strong, and so I enter the Regional Seminary of Molfetta. The seminary does not seem to reflect the experience of life lived and the style in the formation desired. I deepen and come to understand better my vocation as being one outside of the seminary and I start working.

 

On a summer trip to the Basque Country, in Bilbao, from a parish friend who had moved there, I visit the birthplace of Ignatius in Loyola, Azpetia. For some time I had been nurturing the desire to go to the Holy Land, like St. Ignatius, and this experience strongly rekindles the flame, gives me courage. In the following winter I live for a few months in Bethlehem, where I volunteer at a home for disabled Palestinian children and visit holy places on pilgrimage.

 

On my return to Italy I share the movements in my heart with the Jesuit father in Pisa who was directing me and who for a definitive discernment sends me to Bologna, to Villa San Giuseppe.

 

I live an intense year, deep, of service, of authentic relationships, of inner freedom, of autonomy, of trust, of prayer, of personal growth, with a brief experience also in the community of the Centro Astalli of Rome residing at Sant’Andrea al Quirinale, which leads me to hand in my application to the Provincial for admission to the Society. In the summer, as a “promised novice”, I make the Ignatian pilgrimage from Loyola to Barcelona with the youth of Poggeschi of Bologna.

 

In the Society, with the Jesuits and with friends of the Jesuits I live the taste for inner freedom. It’s the first thing that strikes me, that fascinates me. The style in spiritual direction, the approach to reality, the depth in prayer, the evangelical proposal, the openness to the newness of God, the search for God in all things amaze me by their totally particular and unique way. I remain grateful to the Jesuit father and therapist, Anthony De Mello, witness, model and source of inspiration for me without whom perhaps I would not be here today.

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