A time of growth
BY RAPHAEL OZOUDE
When I began postulancy, I was full of enthusiasm and joy. I had been looking forward to experiencing the Franciscan way of life for quite a while. I quickly settled into my new life and was very happy to call Holy Name College home.
As the program continued, I gradually began to experience the growing pains of living with other men, all from different backgrounds and life experiences. These growing pains did not deter me because "unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit" (John 12:24). I believe such times are permitted by God to help a man become more fully who he was created to be. I have been able to form good friendships with many of my classmates. We often eat together, pray the Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet or some other prayer, or visit a shrine together, or we may just sit down and talk to each other.
With the aid of a good and experienced spiritual director, I have learned a lot more about prayer and have grown in my prayer life.
I have also enjoyed my ministry. I am a mentor primarily to a 12-year-old boy who has some challenges reading in the English language. I therefore read to him so that he can understand what is written in his textbooks. I also sit beside him in class to assist him in his classwork. During recess or any other spare time, I play soccer with him and some of the other students or I speak with them about the Faith and other related topics. My time in this ministry has helped me to grow in patience, communication and in the practice of encouragement.
Overall it has been a good year, and I am looking forward to the future with trust and joy.
(Before postulancy, 23-year-old Raphael was a student at a medical center in Houston.)