Nothing really remarkable happened in candidacy. It was a fun time is all. To tell you the truth, I don’t remember too much about it other than the water balloons and hospital bed incidents.
What I do remember was coming back to Cheshire for the spiritual exercises before entering novitiate.
It was a short visit (as were all visits home), just three days.
remember walking up the front steps of Cheshire to enter the lobby with
my bags. Fr Owen Kearns was there. He just looked at me as I mounted
the stairs, then said, “Br John, you’re back!” I made some comment in my
worldly way, saying something like, “Did you think I wouldn’t?”
comment stuck with me for a long time. I am sure it was not uttered off
the top of his head, but was well thought out. You see, Fr Owen, like
so many other legionaries, never utters a single word in vain.
are a number of priests like that. Every word that comes out of their
mouths is measured and, you might say, calculated for optimum effect.
You can see it in their eyes. You can see that they are thinking
diligently of what their next word will be that will get what they want,
and compromise your soul.
knew another priest who was like that, but he wasn’t one of the
faithful ones. He had his problems. He very much liked women. That’s
nothing unusual for a congregation of men. But he had a hard time
controlling his eyes. He would constantly lower his eyes, and not just
momentarily, to see women’s body parts. He also had his problems in
obedience and poverty. He was a very intelligent man, and had an
incredible memory, and like some of the other legionaries, he would
calculate what he was about to say. But because he had so many problems,
while he was listening to you talk, he would utter a slight, guttural
would push him to the limit sometimes, so see if he would break. But he
was good at keeping a light-hearted demeanor, even when caught in
cannot express how much I despised this man. Even though it was obvious
to many that he was not being faithful to his vows, he was held in very
high esteem by the superiors. Why. Because he was able to make contacts
among the most influential and wealthy of the city where he worked.
That bugged the hell out of me, because I, on the other hand, who was
knocking myself out to be faithful, was so often shunned. I realize my
hatred for this man was a projection of the hatred I was feeling for the
Legion. He was only worthy of my pity, and I do pity him now. I know
how much he is suffering and probably can find no way out of his misery.
God, I’m sure, will be merciful to him.
the way the legion treated me is inexcusable. So many times I was
transferred to a new city or country. For the first five or six months,
everything was normal, and I would be pretty happy. I would be doing
what was expected of me, making my mistakes, which everyone would. Then
would come a change, a very noticeable change in the superior’s attitude
toward me. It was as if they had received some enlightenment, some
inside information, and little by little they would start to noticeably
show lack of trust in me. They would begin by taking away parts of my
responsibility, shifting me to doing jobs not quite in my given
assignment. Then that assignment would be given to someone else and
little by little every other responsibility would be taken away, until I
was left with nothing to do. I would get irritable because of this and
murmur against it, and then I would be moved on to another city or
country where the whole process would start over again. Building up hope
and breaking it down, time and again.
many of the superiors I had during this process were those who never
uttered and uncalculated word, just like the first ones I had. It was as
if, at every move, the superior would utter, “You’re back?”