When God called this young man to the priesthood, He also called his mother to religious life alongside him.
The mother of a Brazilian priest has become a nun in the same religious family to which her son belongs, the Institute of the Incarnate Word. The priest himself, Fr. Jonas Magno de Oliveira, shared the unusual vocation story, which has drawn attention on social networks.
During a conversation with the Spanish-language news agency ACI Prensa, the priest said that he began to feel the call to consecrated life when he was 8 years old. He was attending Mass regularly with his family, which allowed him to see the zeal and pastoral care of a diocesan priest, and this inspired him to dedicate his life to God.
The family thought that this early vocational interest was a “child’s dream,” but Jonas was sure that it was something bigger. His mother, says the priest, didn’t want to force him to follow that path, but supported him and taught him Christian virtues. “She was inspired by Our Lady, who was always silent, letting Christ do what He had to do,” the priest told ACI Prensa.
Jonah was 13 when his mother was invited to do the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. While she spent the days of retreat in silence, he lived with the formators at the minor seminary of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, whose rector helped him to discern his vocational interests and confirm his call.
The young man decided to enter the seminary. Being an only child, he feared that his mother would be left alone. Providence, however, had other plans for her too…
Mother and religious sister
The sisters of the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara, who form the feminine branch of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, invited her to live with them. Being a nurse would also enable her to help care for the mentally handicapped in the care of the religious (part of their work), which the mother of the future Fr. Jonas thought would be wonderful.
She accepted the proposal and started living with the religious shortly after her son had entered the minor seminary. She has since joined the community and lives as a contemplative nun in Italy.
For his part, Fr. Jonas was ordained on May 8, 2020, and now lives in Rome. He’s very grateful to God that he can be near his mother, and he’s thankful “for being here, for being a priest, in the mission, working and helping.”
The young priest adds that his mother’s vocation is a “spectacular gift.” He told ACI Prensa:
When you talk about a vocation, most people say: my father or my mother was against it … But with me it wasn’t like that. My mother was in favor, and not only in favor: now we’re following Christ on the same path, in the same vocation, and, as if that weren’t enough, with the same charism, which is very special and a reason to give thanks to God.