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From a Missionary Family to a Missionary Vocation
INTERNATIONAL | WHO WE ARE | TESTIMONIES
Vocational testimony of Fr. Daniel Guindon

Vocational testimony of the Fr. Daniel Guindon LC
Fr. Daniel Guindon LC

*Translation of the Spanish original text

My vocation? Gift and mystery! Every new life is a gift of God: the newborn baby inspires feelings of tender affection in his parents; the flower that opens its petals for the first time gives this sensation of new life when it surrenders its virginal perfume. And so call of God to be his vicar among men and women is something free and undeserved. But it is also mysterious: why does the Lord insist on choosing such weak friends who are so full of misery? It is a reality that I have perceived even more in the last years along the way. 

A Family of Baptist Missionaries in France
I was born in a Baptist family in Los Angeles on November 24, 1976. I am the last of three children. My parents had been missionaries with the Jehovah’s Witnesses in New York and in the Ivory Coast. After discovering Christ’s personal love, they converted to the Baptist faith, and got ready for a new mission: France! They were out to convert all of France’s Catholics and pagans to the Baptist faith.

Because of this background, I had my first airplane ride at the age of two. We settled in Biarritz in the south of France, and then in Perpignan. After eight years of hard work in the arid French soil of faith, my dad had a new St. Paul moment. His eyes were opened and he decided to return to the Catholic faith (I say return because he had been Catholic until the age of 17).

My family decided to trust in his intuitions, and we solemnly entered the Catholic Church. In a ceremony presided over by the bishop, my dad read the profession of faith of Paul VI; my mother and older
Vocational testimony of the Fr. Daniel Guindon LC
brother were confirmed, while my sister and I were baptized.

And so my childhood unfolded, very happily and with plenty of tourism. We ended up travelling all of France: from the Eiffel Tower to the castles on the Loire to the sand of Arles and the papal residence of Avignon. We also travelled in other countries: a lot of the United States, the brave shores of Spain, Rome, Luxembourg, Germany.

My Secret
When I was twelve, the idea of the vocation occurred to me for the first time. I was coming back from the tennis courts where Jean Philippe, my brother, had given me a tennis “lesson” (6-0, 6-0). Suddenly, this thought came to mind: “Before I would have wanted to be a pastor like dad, but not anymore. Why not be a priest? I would have to give up getting married… but apart from that, it would be fine.” I was filled with immense joy and continued on my way home.

I was very jealous about my vocation: it was “my secret.” Perhaps it was really because of shame, because it was inconceivable for me to put it in the formulas of the school. Several times it happened that my dad, proud of my intention, told his friends: “Daniel wants to be a priest.” And I responded: “It’s not true. I want to be a doctor.”

When we were Baptists, we had gotten used to having very little social life in non-Baptist circles. This helped us to form deep family ties. And so, every night after dinner, we got together in the living room and read novels or other stories (like Lord of the Rings). We also frequently played table games, like Bible Trivia or Monopoly, etc.

The Magazine Article
One day I was in my room with my brothers, with one of these games. Dad arrived with a magazine in his hand, and showed me an article. “Daniel, look what I found.” “Sure, Dad, I’ll look at it later.” And I stuck the magazine in a desk drawer. The next day, I appeared in my dad’s room because I wanted to play Pirates on his computer and he asked me, “Daniel, did you read what I gave you yesterday?” “I forgot,” I said. On the one hand I understood that I wasn’t going to be able to play, and on the other, I had to listen to the sermon: “I’m not going to do anything for you anymore.” No matter how much I excused myself, I couldn’t satisfy him. There was no other remedy than to leave the room, read the article, and talk about it the next day, telling him that I liked it.

What was the article about? It was about a new religious congregation, the Legionaries of Christ, who were missionaries and who were dedicated to conquering the world for Christ. They were dressed in their clerics and Pope John Paul II had just ordained 60 of them to the priesthood. My dad had liked it, and since he was concerned about my future, he thought it would be a good place for me. But I was sincere with him. I told him: “It’s hard to get an idea about them just from one article.” It was March of 1991.

Not long after, I was able to travel to Valencia, Spain, during the Sacred Triduum to visit the apostolic school with its 150 students. I loved it: a healthy family atmosphere, very friendly and affable boys, and they played sports every day and prayed fervently in the chapel. They ate well and had a good team spirit. I was 14, and the idea of going to Spain to study was attractive to me, since I didn’t want to be treated like a child at home anymore with all the norms and restrictions.

The next week, on my way back to Perpignan, a Legionary passed by my house. It was Father Pierre Gouraud. “Daniel, did you like the seminary?” “Yes, but I don’t know if it is my vocation to be a Legionary,” I answered. “Well,” he said, “why don’t you give it a try? Study there for a year and then decide.” I loved the idea and my parents were in agreement.

Sixteen Enriching Years
Thus began a stage of 16 years of preparation to be a priest—a stage with many “scales,” some more exciting than others. For me, the apostolic school was a paradise where I was able to grow in all areas, from studies to sports to human and spiritual formation. The atmosphere of great trust with the directors helped me to open up and launch myself and gain confidence in myself: there was a great spirit of constant improvement through campaigns, contests, prizes, motivations, etc. The step to the novitiate in Salamanca made me grow in the spirit of community and family: I remember vacations in Cantabria, Spain, hiking in the mountains, playing soccer in the town field or volleyball in the parks. It was also the moment to develop this personal experience with the Lord in adoration and in meditation on Christian spirituality. My philosophical and theological formation in Rome, close to the Pope, was the necessary scale to be filled with the contents that I would later have to preach.

I can’t conclude this testimony without a word about the six years of pastoral work that we call apostolic practices. This was also a gift of God: Mexico, Brazil, France. I worked in the formation of adolescents. The experience of being an instrument so that the Lord could work and conquer so many young souls is very enriching. I made a lot of friends: I have followed each one along his path (some are now companions in the Legion). I am sure that if we see each other again, it would be an exciting moment. But above all, it encourages me to think that they have become true friends of Christ, who calls each one of us to follow him – that’s the great gift and the great mystery – and to take up their own cross to get to heaven. And I say cross, because the path always has difficult moments, but he is always there, the Friend who never fails.

Father Daniel Guindon was born in Los Angeles, California (USA) on November 24, 1976. His father is American and his mother is Canadian; there are three children in the family and he is the youngest. He was baptized into the Catholic Church at the age of 10 in the city and diocese of Perpignan, in the southeast of France. When he was 15, he entered the apostolic school of the Legion of Christ in Moncada, Spain. He has worked as an academic guide in the apostolic school of León (Mexico) and as a guide of youth and adolescents in Lille and Rennes (France). He did his philosophical studies in the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum of Rome. He is currently studying his license in dogmatic theology in Rome.

This testimony is part of the book “Ven y sígueme” (Come and Follow me). In January 2008 you can buy it at www.misionmultimedia.org. It contains 48 testimonies in Spanish, 11 in English and 1 in German.


PUBLICATION DATE: 2007-12-21


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