Vocation stories of Philippine Jesuits by Fr. Victor Badillo, SJ
October 24, 2011 10 Comments
by Fr. Victor Badillo, SJ
1. Fr. Alfeo Nudas, SJ
Al recalls an unusual sight.
Alfeo Nudas lost his father when he was young. The Nudas were poor farmers
in the small mountainous town of Naguilian. Al recalls his mother in a
deadly tug-of-war with a group of Japanese soldiers over her only carabao,
her work carabao. His eldest brother, Hilario, abandoned his studies and
marriage plans to support his siblings. In this atmosphere Al developed the
spirit of caring for others. The seed of a vocation fell on fertile ground.
How he learned of the Jesuits, I do not know.
A year before he died, he lost his mind. He was helpless. At meals, Al
asked for fish. I heard him say, “I want a fish. This is not a fish.”
Caretakers had given him fish fillet, without head and tail. How Jesus must have smiled at At.
Behold Jesus beholding Al. Smiling.
God wants us to know that he is glorified by our illness and uselessness,
no less than by magnificent achievements.
2. Fr. Horacio de la Costa, SJ
De la Costa made a retreat in SHN to discern his career. He saw he was to
serve God as a writer. But he was told later that he could be a Jesuit and
3. Fr. Romeo Intengan, SJ
Dr Romeo Intengan organized religious activities for the staff and patients
of PGH. His companions called him Archbishop which was shortened to Archie. He was inspired to be a Jesuit from meeting the Jesuit chaplains.
4. Fr. Guido, SJ
Guido had one foot in the novitiate since he had some lingering doubts. One
day he watched the movie “The Little Women,” then in town. In one scene, Jo
sells her long hair to buy a birthday gift for her mother. Meg, her sister,
saw her shorn of her beautiful air and exclaimed, “Jo. What a mess.” Guido
reflected that her mother saw how beautiful Jo was.. He felt a warm
sensation and all his doubt vaporized. The scene had no connection with his
doubt. But in the warm glow of consolation, every thing was seen in the
light of God with eyes of God. When the sun is up all are seen. When water
rises all boats float.
5. Fr. Karel San Juan, SJ
Karel San Juan delayed being a Jesuit to be a lay apostle. After
graduation he gave of his time and even volunteered for Cambodia. There he
heard of what Richie Fernando did. That inspired him to delay no more his
entrance to tbe Jesuit novitiate.
6. Fr. Victor Badillo, SJ
I entered the novitiate to do my part about the shortage of
priests in the Philippines. I thought I was doing the church a favor, to do
a job that needed doing, that I was doing something noble. I did not know
Jesus was seducing me to loving him.
7. Fr. Jim Hennessey, SJ
Jim Hennessey visiting our Lord in the Georgetown University chapel , saw
in the dim light, a sight that warmed his heart, a Filipino Jesuit kneeling
some distance in front. It could not be anyone else but Sammy Dizon, by the
circular bare skin at the back of his head. Sammy was predestined to be a
priest. He was born with a tonsure.
8. Fr. Hilario Belardo, SJ
Hilario Belardo used to go to Baclaran church to get pamphlets for his
brother who was interested in becoming a Redemptorist. He too became
interested. But he dillydallied. While boating with friends, his girl
friend dropped her fan. He jumped into the bay to recover it. Then the
boat’s motor failed and the boat drifted away. H He vowed to be a priest if
he were saved.
9. Fr. Tony Olaguer, SJ
The father of Tony Olaguer traveled all the way from Bicol to Manila to see
off his sons Valdemar and Antonio off to America where they had
scholarships. The ship sailed off without Tony appearing. He had entered
the novitiate without telling anyone. When his mother was a student, she
and two friends prayed that their first son would be a priest. Toti’s
mother married a widower with several sons. Toti was her first.
10. Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, SJ
Ben Nebres studied in the Vigan Seminary when it was run by the SVD
fathers. Earlier it had been the Jesuits. When these left, they left
behind books, some of which was the Tom Playfair series for boys. In
reading this series, Ben was influenced to join the Jesuits.*
11. Fr. Francisco Perez, SJ
Francisco Perez was a spy who reported Japanese movements during the
war. This resulted in his being alone in the mountains often and he enjoyed
contemplating God in nature. After the war he joined the Philippine Air
Force. In Fernando Air Base in Lipa, he read a pictorial supplement in the
Manila Times about the Jesuits. He said, “That is what I want to be.” He
took the bus and reached Novaliches in his uniform. Fr Master Lynch gave
the hungry man lunch before showing him around. He told Cisco to apply at
12. Fr. Francisco Arago, SJ.
It was in Sta Ana that Francisco Arago met his first Jesuit in Fr Cullum
who interviewed him and accepted him. He was the helped of the parish
priest in Samar and had read about the Jesuits in a magazine. Many
vocations are developed in men in close contact with our Lord in service the
13. Fr. Rudy Fernandez, SJ
During the Jap occupation, Japanese killed Rudy Fernandez’s, father. When
he became a Jesuit, he volunteered to be a missionary to Japan, to repay
the Japanese with goodness.
In Japan, one morning he overslept and hurried not to keep the sisters
waiting for mass. He entered a single lane road where the rule was first
come first served. He reached the road ahead of a car headed in the
opposite direction. But that car did not give way. Rudy let the other
ahead. When they were abreast, he greeted the driver “Ocage sawa,” which
means “I am in your shadow”. He made a friend.
14. Fr. Roberto Gana, SJ
After graduation from the Ateneo law school, Roberto Gana and some batch
mates made a retreat in SHN. There he saw Manny utterly helpless. He
reflected that he, Gana, was utterly dependent on God for existence itself.
He decided to devote the rest of his life to provide law services to those
who could not afford it. He founded the Gana Foundation, recruited, inspired
and formed young law gradates. When he died, the apostolate did not die
with him. Manny was God’s instrument.*
* ** *
Xavier an ambitious man, with world at his feet, was pestered by Ignatius:
what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul.
Dying on on Sancian Island at the doorstep to China, Jesus told him that had
gained a world greater than the world he had surrendered.*
God bless you and all your efforts. Victor Badillo SJ