Our life as believers always involves going on a pilgrimage. This implies a departure and a goal, movement and abandonment, self-denial and, above all, trust in God.
When we dare to set out on a journey, everything leads us to God and makes us seek the truth in order to always choose what is good and to get to know the vocation to which God Himself calls us. It is from this viewpoint that I want to share my vocation experience.
My name is Byron Michael Quinde Macías. I am a young man and an English teacher at the Unidad Educativa de la Asunción in the city of Guayaquil - Ecuador. I can say that my call came, while I was in a chapel, through an “out of the blue” question that awakened in me the desire to offer my life in the religious life at the age of 19. But I was deaf to that first call. After some years, however, I had the opportunity to get to know, share and serve as a teacher through different activities, apostolates and experiences and the desire to want to serve those most in need in our villages became my deepest desire.
“Each one of us has a mission on earth” St. Marie Eugenie of Jesus tells us. In this context, I was able to experience, deeply and intimately, the way Jesus lived through the different activities and apostolates under the guidance of Sister Alexandra Granoble. We visited the homes for the elderly where we shared the Word of God, had meals together and above all were simply close to them. This search led us to accompany the children and young people in the carrying out of their tasks in one of the areas of West Mapasingue which nourished my own deep desire for God. This pilgrimage gave me the opportunity to live in one of the communities of the Religious of the Assumption of the Province of Central America. I stayed with the youth of the Centro Educativo Maya Asunción in San Luis-Petén in Guatemala where I was able to see the features of Jesus in every child, laity and in the Sisters (Mayra, Carolina, Odessa, Yania, Milagro, Guisela) for whom I am very grateful.
Fifteen days later, the Covid-19 pandemic hit us and this made me become more aware of my fragility and the need for God in my life. I recall all of the experiences of these recent years with much joy.
On my return I began with much vigor the discernment on my vocation in the Xavier Residence (HOXA) with the Jesuits in Quito while going through various experiences enabling me to see all things in a new way in Christ. I spent 5 days following the spiritual exercises during which I was able to feel the closeness and love of the God of life. I reflected in depth on the option concerning religious life. I find it very beautiful to understand that we are petitioners before God and that God is a gift to us. All that I am and all that I have is by the work and grace of God, and this vocation is not only mine. It is a feeling that God has sown in my heart. It is in this fraternal and sincere bond that the real desire, the real petition arises. It is in this relationship that a profound gaze, capable of inhabiting the other, blossoms. A desire takes time. It is not question of an initial feeling. It is a process of constant and open dialogue. I am now ready to enter the Regional Novitiate of St. Ignatius of Loyola on February 5, 2022, in that very city.
Fraternally in Christ,
Byron Quinde M.