Sometimes it is hard to imagine what God has in mind for us. More often than not, as human beings, we tend to think God has abandoned us when things are not going so well. But one thing is for sure—we must trust in God no matter what.
Haiti’s 2010 earthquake opened up my eyes about how fragile we are. Looking at that catastrophe, one might ask where is God in all this pain and suffering. I asked that question. After awhile, I was amazed to see how people cared for each other and how they quickly became one family in that very difficult time. God’s work at hand!
Reflecting on that experience led me to ask myself these three questions: “Why am I still alive?” “What is my purpose on earth?” and “How can I help God’s people?” In 2013, my effort to answer these questions led me to Divine Word College Seminary in Epworth, Iowa. With the help of my spiritual director, I was able to reflect on God’s care for me and His call for me to religious life as a Divine Word Missionary.
On August 1, 2018, I officially entered the Novitiate for the Divine Word Missionaries to clarify my call to religious life and perhaps to answer some of the questions I had back in 2010. Before I entered the novitiate, I had heard a lot of good things about it. Still, I was nervous and I was not sure if what I heard was true. During the month of July before I entered the novitiate, I had a lot of thoughts and I even had difficulty sleeping as I wondered if I should go to the novitiate or not. I would leave my room around midnight to go to the Divine Word Residence chapel in Bordentown, New Jersey, to pray and spend time in silence. One thing I always remember is my former spiritual director’s advice to me: “Wilken, it is OK to have doubts.” With that advice in mind, day-by-day I started to regain hope in God and confidence in myself.
After three weeks in the novitiate program, including one week of a silent retreat, I feel very calm and peaceful. To me, novitiate is a time to take care of myself spiritually. Silence, solitude, and prayer help me to go deeper in my imagination to see what life holds for me as I grow closer to God.
Novitiate allows me to go beyond all distractions. I feel like I have no excuse not to continue togrow spiritually. There are no term papers due and no weekly journals to submit like previous college years. Novitiate is all about experiencing God in my daily life of contemplation and prayer. I look at everything as a day-to-day journey towards God. I decided not to go fast, but to move along the way with God’s providence. Definitely, I am excited to see what’s ahead and to discover my vocation. I have to keep reminding myself that God has my back and I have nothing to worry about. I move slowly, but surely.
As #512 in the SVD Constitutions points out, it is my hope at the end of my novitiate year I will come to a deeper understanding of myself, a closer relationship with God, and of course, a better understanding of the Society of the Divine Word—that will allow me to make a mature and responsible decision for my life.
Wilken Fevrier is originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and entered formation for the Divine Word Missionaries at Divine Word College in Epworth, Iowa, in August 2013. He graduated with a BA Degree in Philosophy in May 2018 and is now a novice at the Divine Word Novitiate in Techny, Illinois.