My first months in novitiate were unremarkable. I was happy. It seemed like a dream come true. But I noticed early on that there were other novices the superiors had their eyes on and gave special attention to. I was sure they were going to send me home. Even the remark and the attitude of Fr Owen Kearns who was Candidacy director that year tipped me off that I was not wanted.
My best friend had dropped me off in Cheshire, and as I was walking into the lobby, Fr Owen said, "Br John, you came back!" What a welcome. How encouraging. That stuck with me for a long time.
The attitude of my superiors toward me was that of tolerance or indifference while they slobbered over others, that is until my assistant notice the guitar hidden under my bed. When I told him I played bass guitar, everything changed. He said it was God's will that I call home and have my bass brought out. It was God's will that I played in the band. I suddenly became useful for the legion. I played in the band all during novitiate, humanities in Salamanca, Philosophy in Rome, right up until 3rd year theology. That's when I was no longer useful and was told I would have to leave the Legion.
I didn't think the reason they were asking me to leave was my usefulness at the time. But the more I think about it and reflect on the "methodology", the more I see that it is true.