A life as a stopper… or maybe not!
Who would have thought that from that last football match on a provincial field I would have ended up here in Genoa to enter the Novitiate! I am 27 years old, originally from Grumo Nevano, a small town in the Neapolitan hinterland, a region towards which I have always felt feelings of love and hate, where I discovered the two passions that accompanied me in my youth and that taught me to discover the man I was becoming: football, abandoned with the beginning of university, and literature, which still accompanies me today.
In both I never possessed any particular natural ability. I learned to compensate for that with the laborious application of the will and spirit of sacrifice learned in my family: I was a wingman capable of achieving excellent results in the service of the common good.
Born into a family whose faith was customary, I found from an early age a very special way of listening to the voice of God. At the age of eleven I began reading the Bible alone. A bit of time later it was the turn of The Chronicles of Narnia, a book with many Christian truths. I withered to reading and devour books to find the depths of God. At thirteen I entered the seminary of the Rogationist fathers, where I lived for about a year and a half. I attended high school in the centre of Naples. It was the first departure from home where I matured the desire for freedom and to acquaintance with the world.
Two books in these years changed my adolescence: Gandhi’s Autobiography and Thoreau’s Walden. These two books placed in me an uneasiness that made me search for an authentic life, abandoning the superficiality I felt around. I finished high school by dedicating myself to the only passion that inhabited my soul by enrolling in the Faculty of Letters in Naples. The university period was full of experiences: volunteering, politics, associations. It’s the happiest time I can remember, even though I’ve been through a family economic crises that started years before and that I’ve been able to cope with by giving myself the most varied jobs, which have also allowed me to discover a new passion: travelling! I filled the empty spaces with tickets to Italy and abroad: Malta, Montenegro, twice Prague, twice solitary in Paris until I reached my dream destination: Cuba.
Then I experienced a deep crisis and inner despair. After leaving the Church for about ten years, I began a journey to get closer to the Lord. I returned to the Franciscan parish near my home, helping out with groups of adolescents. The desire to dedicate myself to religious life and to know the Society of Jesus was reborn in me. I turned to a Jesuit priest for discernment. I remained frightened by God’s proposal and decided to take a “sabbatical year”, with an Erasmus in Andalusia during the time of my master’s degree, a carefree year in which I dedicated myself with patience to better examine the desires I had in my heart and to know my vocation.
I returned more passionately than ever and, having completed my studies after another year of walking with the Lord, I asked to enter the Novitiate.