The Indian religious Ken James made his solemn profession of vows as an Augustinian Recollect in Granada this Sunday. Years ago he decided to become an Augustinian Recollect, even though the Order has no presence in India.
In the story of Ken James, God is present from the beginning to the end. Born in India, son of a Catholic family of the Syro-Malabar rite, he soon began to understand that “there is a close and humble God who understands, welcomes and loves each one”. His friends, who as children felt the same way as he did, changed their minds, “but by the grace of God I still felt within me, something that attracted me very much and impelled me to give my life to God,” he recalls. At random he decided to go on the vocation journey with the Augustinian Recollects, who have no presence in India. Why? “God works miracles with simple things and decisions”.
Several years after that decision, on Sunday, July 5, Ken James made his solemn profession of vows as an Augustinian Recollect in the Parish of St. Thomas of Villanova in Granada (Spain). Following the preventive measures to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, the religious said yes in a definitive way to God, the same God who was close and humble when he was young. The young Indian read the formula of solemn profession accompanied by the Prior Provincial of the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova, Miguel Ángel Hernández, who presided at the Eucharist.
The church’s capacity was full and several dozen people had to follow the celebration from the outside. Many young people from the Recollect Augustinian Youth of Granada accompanied the religious. The advance of the pandemic in India has caused the closure of borders, so his family could not be with him on this day so important for his life, although they were able to follow it live through the social networks. Only his brother, who came from Germany, was present at the solemn profession.
“I have asked God especially for the gift of fidelity”
Especially moving for the religious were the words of Miguel Angel Hernandez, who has accompanied him from his novitiate to the theologate in Monachil. “It was a joy to confirm my vocation in the Order with the Prior Provincial”. Ken says that Miguel Ángel Hernández knows him very well. In his homily, the provincial superior indicated that “God has not called him because of his qualities but because of who he is”.
For the Indian religious, the solemn profession “was a very important moment”. In this sense, he recalled the Gospel of this Sunday: “God reveals himself to the simple people”. “I have asked God especially for the gift of fidelity; the rite of solemn profession is very beautiful, but to live faithfully is complicated,” he said.
A book-album and a decision
At the age of fifteen, Ken began collecting vocation brochures and letters from different congregations and religious orders. “It was like a game among my friends because there were four of us with this same dream,” he recalls. The four friends began collecting the brochures in a book “at the same time that we dreamed of one day becoming part of one of those congregations.
He did not know much about religious life, so one day, leafing through the pages of the book, he stopped at an Augustinian Recollect vocation promotion and connected with the vocation promoter. Thus began a year of discernment to enter the Order. “It is true that the decision to come to Spain has been a little difficult, to know another culture, another way of thinking another language, etc., but as they say, ‘the God who calls us, enables us to respond'”.