When did you first feel called to religious life? Do you remember a specific place? A person?
I first felt the call to join a religious community on the Camino de Santiago, the ancient 400 mile-pilgrimage in northern Spain. I met a religious priest, of a different congregation, in the town of Astorga, near Leon. He planted the seed of joining religious life. It's a long story, but I will shorten it: I attended Mass at St. Patrick's, an Augustinian Parish in San Diego in August of 2018 and again in 2019. There I met Fr. Carlos Medina, OSA. We remained in touch. After agreeing to pray for me, for help in finding God's direction in my life, he followed it up with the big question: "Want to be an Augustinian?" This was January 2020--before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. After much prayer and discernment, I met with the vocation director. Everything has gone well, thus far, thanks be to God.
What's something fun / something you enjoy about living in community?
I enjoy religious life with the Augustinians very much: prayers in common, meals in common--both pick up (everybody makes their own) and sit-down together dinner. It came as a surprise, but working together in common is a lot of fun! We do chores together 4 days per week. I think I enjoy the informal time together the most: breakfast and gathering after Night Prayer for an hour or so.
What is the best kept secret / most underrated aspect of the Tradition and Spirituality of Augustine?
It has recently dawned on me that the essence of being an Augustinians is having a strong interior life and then sharing it. In other words, get to know yourself, then SHARE yourself with others. We are encouraged to incorporate these self-discoveries with our confreres, say on Wednesday reflections. I am still growing in this capacity.
Do you have a hobby / passion that you enjoy spending time on?
I love cooking, walking daily, and doing 30 minutes of exercises before morning prayer: pushups, sit ups, V-ups, burpees, "walkout to planks", etc. I want to remain strong for as long as possible. I also love art: paintings, sculpture, ceramics, and drawings. Finally, I enjoy nature very much, especially trees and the ocean.