Br. Raphael Ozoude, OFM

Discovering a gift

One of the things that St. Anthony is best known for is his preaching. He was an excellent preacher and the first theologian in the Order; however, when he first joined the Order, he wanted to be a martyr. He got on a boat heading to North Africa, but he was eventually shipwrecked off the coast of Sicily. Later on, he was asked to preach at an ordination, and it was there that the friars discovered his gift for preaching. He was then asked to teach theology to the brothers, so long as it did not hinder him from a life of prayer and devotion.


Br. John Boissy, OFM, encouraged Raphael to try teaching.

Shortly after my novitiate year, I was asked by friar John Boissy to teach Confirmation classes at the Chinese Catholic parish in Chicago’s Chinatown. Teaching was the last thing I thought I would ever do, and I had told myself in the past that I would run away from it; however, as soon as I began teaching, I fell in love with it. Moreover, I began to realize that I am actually good at it. The teenagers I teach love our class sessions and their parents thank me for my ministry there. Like St. Anthony, I had discovered a gift that I did not know I had, and this discovery came because I followed the advice of a fellow friar.

St. Anthony shows us that sometimes the Lord speaks to us through the agency of others and calls us to use our untapped gifts for the building of the Church and of our local community.

In what way is God calling you to serve his Church, your family, or your local community? Ask St. Anthony to pray for you and guide you in your discernment.

(Br. Raphael Ozoude, OFM, is a temporary professed friar and student in Chicago.)

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