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Raul Petru Ciocani

In search of fullfilment of life 

I was born 24 years ago in a modest and Christian family of Bulgarian origin in a village called Stár Bišnov, located in the western part of Romania in a historically multicultural region Banat. I was raised in a Catholic environment where faith is quite important but in a country with an Orthodox majority. I attended kindergarten, elementary school, general school and high school with a profile of natural sciences in my hometown, at the high school “Saints Cyril and Methodius”. Until the age of 6 I spoke only ancient Bulgarian, “palićensćj”, the language of the local community, the strongest element which highlights the origins. Accompanied by great desires and dreams and motivated to study and progress in this I was passionate about the exact sciences and the technological steps that humanity is taking. At the end of high school I made the decision to start studying robotics and mechatronics at the Polytechnical University of Timișoara.

Surrounded by a practising Christian family, I followed the main moments of Christian life. This began to attract me so that it became part of my life as a point of reference and identification. Faith became present in my heart as a reference that brought safety and balance in everyday life. It also moved me to ask questions about things I could not be indifferent to, leading me to moments of research and communion with young and adult people in search of truth. So I began to participate in several meetings in the parish and in the diocese that led me to an enthusiasm about faith.

These experiences followed me also during my university studies, where my interest remained open. With friends from the same environment I kept looking for a deeper sense and bond with God. I came to meet the Jesuits through the internet and then at a retreat in the house of spiritual exercises in Cluj Napoca. This was an experience that opened up a new world, full of meaning and supported by a presence that started as a personal experience and led to a community experience.

During two working trips made in the United States during the Summer holidays, the world that I had discovered before, remained in me like a treasure that provoked new interests and questions. Returning after the last trip, also starting the fourth year of university, I started a 9-month course of Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life, accompanied by Father Claudiu Miklos SJ. This experience became fundamental and caused me to discover myself and my attitudes, passions and interests, showing me at the same time the link to the Creator and his presence in my personal history and in everyday life.

At the end of the university studies attracted by this presence and by the new features discovered I took the decision to continue the path of research, entering the Novitiate of the Society of Jesus in the autumn of 2019, here in Genoa.

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