by José María Salaverri, SM,
Translated by Robert D. Wood, SM
The story of Faustino Pérez-Manglano (1946-63) by one who knew him well is an example of how the attitude of service, the touchstone of the Christian, developed and was lived out within the context of a teenager’s home life and school experience. This real-life account draws on Faustino’s diary as well as many firsthand accounts gathered by the author from his family and others.
This is a very moving little book. And a challenging one! How this , never losing his trust in God nor giving in to self-pity, remaining cheerful and loving to others, is a lesson humility.
It all happened in Alacuás, while Faustino was making the retreat with his ninth grade companions. . . . The next day, the third day of the retreat, was the day for Confessions. Faustino approached the priest, saying, “After confessing, I have something to tell you, Father.” The priest’s intuition told him, “He is going to tell me he has a vocation.” And this was it. Faustino said, “Father I’ve thought a lot about it. I want to consecrate myself to God. I want to become a Marianist.”. . . The priest said, “Look, Faustino, I think that’s fine. But earnestly pray that the Lord will enlighten you, so you can clearly see God’s will. “. . . But to Faustino, it was clear. He had said “yes” to God and would not go back on his promise. Faustino never doubted that God had called him, and he considered October 22 a turning point in his life. . . . Here is what his diary for that day says: “How good it is here in Alacuás! For the rest of the retreat I’m going to remain completely silent. Maybe God will speak to me.”