Brother Emmanuel Aminenta made his final profession as a Presentation Brother in 2012. He is currently the community leader of the Brothers’ new community in Hain in the Upper East Region of Ghana.
It is normal for every individual to have an ambition in life. If not all but some of these ambitions are accomplished in the person’s life time. But ambitions are never accomplished without challenges such as doubts or other difficult circumstances.
My vocation story started when I was a child. I grew up in a village where all there was to life was the farm and where the only group of people whose lifestyle seemed to be different and worth consideration was the priestly life. So, as a child my ambition was to be a priest. This dream fiddled off as time went on. However, I was committed to going to church and attending other prayer activities both in school, at home and anywhere I found myself. One Congregation called Brothers of the Immaculate Conception (FIC) thought I would be a good candidate for their congregation when I gained admission into Nandom Vocational Technical Institute in 1995 which is owned and run by the FIC. Even though one of them tried convincing me to aspire to their congregation, I did not feel called to that Congregation. Until September 2012 the FIC Brothers were the only brother congregation that I knew. Despite my lost interest in priesthood and religious life, I occasionally had a unique dream. Once in a while I would dream about a big occasion where there were many priests present. Among the priests would be ‘yours truly’ also wearing a cassock but with a black girdle around my waist.
In the year 2000, while I was out of school working as a building technician, I liked reading the Catholic Standard, a weekly newspaper owned by the Catholic Church in Ghana. I found in it an advertisement in which there was the address of the Presentation Brothers requesting practicing young Catholics to join them in serving God as religious brothers. It was my first time of seeing the name of that congregation. I also realized that I met all the requirements even though I wanted to go back to school again. I got the strong push to write to them, although I did not know yet if I would take the plunge if they did accept me! Out of curiosity I applied to see what would happen. Exactly two weeks after posting the letter, I received a reply with the congregation brochures to read. By then I had just gained admission to do an advanced course in Building & Construction in Tamale Polytechnic. I wrote again to inform them of the admission and the Vocation Director Br. Raphael Mario wrote back informing me to provide him with an address where I could be contacted.
I attended my first Contact Days on 27th December 2000. From then on Br. Raphael visited me many times in school any time he was in Tamale. In March 2002, I attended the second Contact Days event during which I applied to start formation in October that same year. Br. Raphael then approached me and asked if I could apply. I initially resisted because I was yet to sit my final examination in June the same year. I did not want to come while still awaiting results or to even go into formation if I did not pass all the courses I had studied. With a little persuasion from Br. Raphael I agreed to apply. That very day the application was accepted and I was given all the necessary documents to process for the start of formation the same year.
From there I became very confused and uncertain about whether I should honour the offer for formation. This was due to certain challenges in my life. After my final examination in June 2002 I got a lucrative job in a construction firm and did not want to leave that and go for formation. I completely ignored the documents given to me to process for formation.
But something deep inside continued to pull me towards this Congregation and so towards the end of August, I came back home, processed those documents, posted them to Navrongo and went back again to my job in Bimbila. Three copies of the invitation letter to start formation on 19th October 2002 were sent to my home address at different intervals in September yet I was not around to fill the acceptance form to send to Navrongo.
On 25th September 2002 I came to Tamale where I got the information that there were some letters for me at home. I proceeded to my village in Upper West Region, opened the letters, filled the acceptance form and posted it to Navrongo. I returned to Bimbila to continue my construction work.
On 19th October 2002 I left Bimbila for Tamale and proceeded to Navrongo where I arrived at about 5pm to start formation. When I later saw the habit of the Presentation Brothers it reminded me of the dreams I used to have seeing myself among priests wearing a white cassock with a black girdle around my waist.
I thank God for the gift of my vocation. I took the road less travelled and that has made all the difference. May God be forever praised!
Written by Br. Emmanuel Aminenta.