“When I was studying to become a professional nurse at the state university, one of our better professors is a member of the women’s branch of Notre Dame de Vie. In 1992, without “recruiting” anybody, she simply invited some of us in her advisory class to attend a Holy Week Retreat in the NDV House in Novaliches (Philippines). I was already raised in a practicing Catholic family, and yet there were 3 things that I “discovered” in NDV and kept me “hooked” to their retreats and recollections, from that year onward: time for silent prayer and solitude, Fr. Marie-Eugene’s teaching on baptismal grace, and the beauty of the liturgy. It was not surprising that it was during one of these silent retreats, one Easter Vigil mass, that I deeply felt how God loved me as I am, and that He invites me to humbly participate in His priestly sacrifice, just like His disciples at the Holy Supper.
It is true that I first dreamt of becoming a priest as a boy of 5 to 6 years old, when my maternal great grandmother used to take me with her to early morning daily masses, but I brushed the idea aside when I became an adolescent because I was the only child of my parents and I came from a poor family, so it meant I had to work, marry and have children. It was only in Notre Dame de Vie Institute where I realized that being a nurse who takes care of the sick could only be God’s providential preparation for me to later take care of souls! The contact with NDV with their formation on Carmelite spirituality, plus the constant call of John Paul II to those who “felt called to become priests, not to be afraid to say ‘yes’ ” during the World Youth Days (Manila in 1995, Paris in 1997, Rome in 2000), eventually helped a lot in the maturation of my vocation: to give myself totally to God and His Church by becoming a priest. I could not have responded fully to this call of God, without the spiritual formation and familial environment provided by the NDV community. Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo!” (Fr. Walter +)