By Kyle Shinseki
I am a Jesuit scholar in the process of formation for the priesthood with the Society of Jesus. I grew up in Hawaii and during my childhood my parents did not attend any church. So when I entered the university, far from my family and friends, I felt a void, as if something was missing in my life.
Almost without thinking about it, I bought a candle with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, like the one that was always lit in the home of several Mexican friends in Hawaii. This candle gave me peace in the midst of my new environment. Inspired in some way by the Virgin, I made the decision to become a Catholic. I learned the prayers and songs in Spanish and until now, I speak to God in Spanish.
Being Catholic inspired me to live better but without abandoning my own professional plans. I was determined to continue as a Catholic lay person, although a priest had suggested the idea of a priestly vocation. I moved to Washington, D.C., where I began living life as a young professional with hours spent socializing, dining in fine restaurants, and dancing in parties.
Once again I felt the void in my life and in a providential way I was invited to a community of Christian life, Catholic University Group. Every year we attended a retreat of St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises where three questions impressed me very much: What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What will I do for Christ?
Somehow I managed to ignore these questions and left my job to work on a master’s degree in business. I got a job that paid well; I bought a house, and dreamed of having a family. But even then something was missing, and in the silence of a retreat, as if it were God’s hand, in my notes the word “priesthood” appeared.
From that moment on I could no longer resist the call of God, and the experience has been like being carried by God after swimming against the current for a long time. More and more I feel happy and fulfilled to be walking on this path. After two years of novitiate, I made my perpetual vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, and I am currently studying philosophy and theology.
Aside from my classes I dedicate a few hours a week to an apostolate to form pastoral leaders among Hispanic migrants. I am also a facilitator in a Christian life community of Latino university students and collaborate with a pro-life group. I share a lot with the Jesuit brothers and count on the support of my friends and family.
Although I resisted God’s call for years, clinging to my own plans, God was patient but at the same time persistent with me. God did not stop calling me despite my stumbles and stubborn-ness. Since I opened up to the possibility of a religious vocation, God has been immense with me and has showered me with blessings.
Do you resist the possibility that God is calling you to the priesthood? What fears would you have to overcome?