When I look back on my Dominican vocation it is not always easy to identify the precise moment when I understood my vocation. My vocation evolved throughout my life as a Catholic believer. The process of moving specifically towards a religious institution, the Order of Preachers, means to have discerned and finally acted upon a my decision.
As far as I am concerned, becoming a Dominican mean to both “imitate” and “identify.” In terms of imitating, my vocation connected my future to the experience of my predecessors in the Dominican order in Angola. I held the desire to be like them, to “imitate” their commitments and missionary enthusiasm. “Imitation” leads to “identification”: it is because I wanted to be like them that I sought to integrate their missionary zeal to my own vocational aspirations.
I have always compared the first generation of Dominican missionaries in Angola as country doctors, who are not specifically obstetricians, cardiologist, dermatologist or psychiatrists; but rather, they represent a combination of all these skills.
The pioneers and pillars of Dominican life in Angola expressed the diversity of apostolic activity. The Dominicans were a people of prayer, dedicated to the community where they worked, whether the rich or poor missions, and in the difficult times of Angola, they were the voice and path of the conscience of the people.
It is therefore in this niche of missionary activity that my Dominican vocation was born, and in which I am still being nourished.