St. Augustine Province of Africa

Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God

Bro. Paulinus Toh

1paulinusBorn from a monogamous family of nine in 1976, my Hospitaller vocation’s experience began when I met a brother of St. John of God at vocation camp in Bafut north west region of Cameroon. Thanks to this St. John of God brother that was part of that vocation camp that year 2003. Having made several visits to Batibo community I was then called in to start postulancy in Nguti community.

Two things remain very important in my mind during my stay and experience in the postulancy. One, you must leave with people with different cultural and social backgrounds and two, many are called but few are chosen in the sense that we started postulancy five but finally four of us succeeded to move to the novitiate.

NOVITIATE

The experience in the novitiate was not very much different from what I had in the postulancy except that it gives me an opportunity to know myself even more well and intensify my relationship with God. The community and apostolate experience during the novitiate period exposed me to have a clue of the true reality of religious life and as a brother of St John of God. Some moments use to come where the life becomes tasteless especially when opinions with confreres appear to be parallel, when I do my most best but it turns out to be the worst thing ever done. I can say in a nought shell if I can learn to leave well with my brothers by accepting them as they are, then the Commandment of God to love one another as yourself will radiates to the surroundings. Again many are called but few are chosen because we started novitiate seven and only six succeeded.

 AS A SCHOLASTIC

The first three years in Zambia at Evelyn Hone College as a scholastic was a moment in my life I can compare it as a fish out of water. It was not an easy moment for me considering the fact I was just coming out from the Novitiate and more to that I was alone. My vocation was really put to test in the sense that about 97% of the whole school were lay people with very few religious men and women, their life style were completely different from mind. What made me to survive in this school was that I never change my goal of going to that school which was to study as a brother of St John of God. With this goal the environment and peer pressure was not able to tamper with my vocation.

THE PATH OF ST JOHN OF GOD IN GRANADA

Having followed the path of our founder St John of God in the city Granada Spain further solidified and strengthen my vocation as a brother of St. John of God. Passing through places where our founder himself have past, having a close look at his relics, sat in the same room where he died and witnessed how our founder is highly honoured in the city of Granada during the procession on 8th March by all groups of people I said to myself I’m proud to be a brother of St. John of God.

CONCLUSION

Before I decided to join religious life I use to imagine that religious are the most righteous people. But from my experience from the beginning till now I have realised that it was a fault impression. Rather they are human persons just like the twelve apostles whom Christ did call them even in their short comings to follow him. They are people put aside to worship and glorify God in a special way. Since I made the decision to serve God as a religious I have not regretted making this choice and I see no reason not to encourage other people who feel called to serve God in a special way.

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