My life here in Manila, Philippines, living at Calasanz International House, the first I thought it was easy, but it was hard; full of trials and difficulties. But my life in the seminary makes me happy. I thought it was sad being away with my family to lived here but I was wrong, I am very happy now with my life inside this community. My name is Julio Amaral Soares, I am 22 years old, from East Timor, now I am in pre-novitiate satge of formation.
Having been living in this community for almost three years certainly there are lots of experiences, lessons, and insights I have been endowed with. There is no denying that, though little, there must be something I have learned and the most important value I get to expereince and learn is the value of responsible freedom contrary to my previous experience I had while iving outside. I was dictated to do everything accordingly. At first, upon discovering this importance being imposed in this community I was both excited and confused. Firstly, the excitement emerged as the thought of freedom lured me thinking that eventually I would be able to do everything as I please and secondly, I was terribly confused knowing that freedom entails responsibility. It was the significant period in my stage of formation where I tried hard to adjust myself to the new policy and values being emphasized in this community. There was one point where I abused this very freedom by doing what made me happy and comfortable. Nevertheless, regardless of the abuse of such freedom I committed, the kind of advice or more precisely guidance given by the formators here is really different in a sense that they do not emphasize on the responsible freedom aspect alone but rather on other important aspecs as well such as maturity and trust. All these aspects cultivated in this community really re-shaped the initial idea that I had about formation. I used to think that formation was the place where I must do what I am supposed to do without any resistance or even complain. Hence, what I am instilled here is really an eye-opener for me. Formation after all is not to constrain me or repress me rather it is the stage where I am prepared, formed, and shaped to become the best I can be. Indeed, it is a blessing to be formed.
For me as a student-brother, I tried to lead a life of honesty and simplicity. Everyday, in a routine way, I get up early from my bed, take some exercise to keep my body healthy, and take a bath. After I attend the mass, take some breakfast, and walk of about one kilometre to the highway to wait for jeepney going to our school. I get refreshed with the morning walk or a little exercise and then prepare myself for the study with greatest sincerity. After devoting myself to study from 7 A.M. to 5 P.M. I take my meal in the Juniorate House after my class. And proceed to the school situated at a distance only of 15 minutes by walking from juniorate house. Moreover, I learned so many things in this school year during the first semester. I learned how to teach the elementary students and how to make lesson plans. All these contributed to increase my knowledge and make me more confident to teach and speak in front of the people. Sometimes, I am burden with my assignment in the school and in the community but I am trying my best to accomplish botht. Yes, I am getting tired and struggling traveling and studying in the school but I really enjoy my study because I am learning something new .
With all these new lessons in mind, I hope that through formation and guidance of the people entrusted to help me I will be transformed. Also to be renewed in terms of my personal perspective of the formation in the religious life and eventually will be able to accomplish the goal I am supposed to achieve as while undergoing formation. There is nothing more relieving than the conviction that I am also in control of the formation I have been undergoing. It is my formation and I should be able to make the most of it.Amen.
Julio Amaral Soares
(East Timor Pre-Novice, Calasanz International House, Manila, Philippines)