Buenos Aires, Argentina – Before discovering their vocation, Father Javier Olivera and Sister Marie de la Sagesse were getting married. But God arranged them differently.
In an interview with ACI Prensa, the CNA news agency in Spanish, Father Olivera said both grew up in Catholic families, and “our parents have known each other since childhood. ” The two met often when they were children.
“But I don’t practice religion anymore. When I was 19 years old, after my backpacking trip in Peru, I returned home and met her again. I asked her if she believed in virginity before marriage because to me it was just a church invention. She laid out a series of principles of chastity clearly and coherently, from a philosophical point of view to a religious belief, and it took my breath away. I have met a woman who stands for what she believes and is very intelligent at the same time,” commented Father Olivera.
– Right after that meeting, they started dating. At the time, both were studying law. Olivera attended the University of Buenos Aires and she studied at La Plata University.
– Father Olivera said that “it was like normal courtship but we took advantage of the cultural beauties through music, literature, and philosophy. We read books together, we invite each other to coffee shops. We joined our friends to attend a literary conference of Argentine Catholic authors.”
“I started practicing my faith again, which meant praying and going to Sunday Mass. It’s all thanks to her, God primarily uses her as a tool,” Father Olivera said, adding that they also prayed the rosary together.
– For her part, Sister Marie de la Sagesse, baptized Trinidad Maria Guiomar, told ACI Prensa that what she values most about her boyfriend is “the sincere search for the truth without fear of consequences.” .”
They got engaged at the age of 21 and decided to get married after graduating from college, two and a half years later.
Suddenly, one day, Trinidad Maria’s brother released the shocking news that he was going to the seminary, and she recalled the scene at the time, “our family was dizzy because we I can’t imagine that.”
“I have a car and with my fiancée, we decided to take him to the seminary in San Rafael, Mendoza province,” she said. We both decided to linger for a few more days so that Javier would have a chance to see some old friends who are now also at the seminary, and Trinidad Maria could see some friends in a sorority there.
Father Olivera continued: “When we got back we discussed all that crazy stuff, how it was a waste for her brother to leave everything behind, including a future family. future and an important career. But we also started to wonder, ‘What if God called us that too?’ And the first answer was, very strongly, “no,” which is crazy, because we just had a nice engagement and we made a significant amount of money for the wedding.”
Weeks passed, but the question still haunted me: “In the depths of my soul, I kept thinking about what would happen if God called me, if I left everything, at Why, not a priest? The best way to go to heaven is through the priesthood or married life. Where can I do the best?”
After much thought, Father Olivera decided to let his fiancée know about his concerns, and surprisingly, she also confessed that she had “thought the same thing” after her brother joined the seminary.
However, they did not decide anything. “Since we still have two years left of school, that is a great excuse to procrastinate,” Father Olivera said.
They sought out “a very cautious teacher” as a counselor, and the priest told them: “look, it is a personal matter between each of us and God. No one can interfere in soul matters.”
For her part, Sister Marie de la Sagesse told ACI Prensa that “it was a very long time to think deeply, two years long until it became clear to me that God had spent a consecrated life to me, and I have no doubt that He wants me to give it all up.”
– After graduating from school, both accepted their vocation. In 2008, when they were both 31, Olivera has ordained a priest in the diocese of San Rafael, and Marie de la Sagesse made a lifelong profession in the Congregation of the Divine Mercy.
– Father Olivera is currently a professor at the major seminary and has a blog called “Que no te la cuenten” (find it for yourself). He wrote a book on how to deal with doubts titled “¿Alguna vez pensaste? El llamado de Cristo “(have you ever thought about it? Christ’s vocation).
– Sister Marie de la Sagesse lives in the south of France and serves in the parish of Saint Laurent, diocese of Fréjus-Toulon.
Referring to their vocation story, she said, “I consider it a special grace that we both received our vocations at almost the same time. Therefore, the Lord’s providence is so thoughtful, he does not miss any small detail. And what I appreciate is that we are still friends and not just for us, but for both of our families.”