Last night I had the opportunity to speak with my formators regarding my past 4 months living here in community with the Capuchin Franciscans. We spoke for about an hour, and one of the responses upon seeing this document from the formators was: "It looks like we're trying to get you canonized!" I've decided to share the document for others to see.
Thanks for your continued reading, and I hope you continue to follow my story.
Peace and all good, Vito
December 2008 Evaluation
The community perceives Vito in a very positive light. As one professed friar put it, "If I had come as a visitor, I would have thought you were already professed." This statement reflects the maturity and wholesomeness that Vito exhibits. He has made a life-changing transition: giving up a girlfriend and a promising career in car sales and testing out a life of voluntary poverty, chastity, and obedience.
One thing everybody notices is Vito's outgoing, almost exuberant personality. His laughter and spontaneity are infectious. Community members describe him as "a good communicator," having "excellent relational skills," "a natural leader," a self-starter." In the classroom he shows an eagerness to learn, makes intelligent contributions, asks good questions. The community appreciates his skills in cooking, his musical gifts and prayer leadership, and his willingness to keep our cars well maintained. His ministry supervisor at St. Benedict's gave him high marks for his caring presence with poor people. Sometimes those who are very gifted provoke envy or criticism from their peers, as if they are showing off or trying ot grab the spotlight. Nothing like this emerged in the evaluations, which indicates that Vito is simply being himself and not trying to impress anybody.
At the same time, Vito himself says he worries about being too competitive, wanting to be "the best postulant." Perhaps that self-awareness is what prevents him from acting out a competitive tendency. In addition, he is trying to develop a deeper spirituality, one that places God at the center rather than himself. It was refreshing to read his self-evaluation, wherein he states that he sees the down-and-out people he serves as no different, basically, than his former customers or himself. Rather than thinking of them as needing help, he says, they need our friendship, our humanity.
One area of concern was noted by a number of community members. Is Vito so driven, so engrossed in serving others that he is neglecting his own needs? They wonder if he works too hard, is too involved outside the house? He is sometimes absent or late for community prayers (going to bed late?), and he sometimes misses his turn at doing dishes. But at a deeper level, they do not want to see him get burned out.
We definitely want to affirm Vito for his positive presence among us and for his growing commitment towards Capuchin life. He is a truly gifted man with clear leadership abilities. He appears to be building his life on a solid spiritual foundation. He shows a good understanding of Catholic theology and history. We commend him for his determination to lose weight and to quit smoking. But we will press him on his lack of good balance, especially in getting adequate sleep and being too involved outside the community. We will also ask him how he envisions his future ministry possibilities and his plans to further his education. We truly hope he will persevere in a Capuchin vocation.