Last June 25, Br. Antônio Gonçalves (BSP) received his appointment as local treasurer of the Generalate. In this interview, he tells us how he is going to live this mission.
You made your perpetual profession a year ago and within this short time, a radical change occurred in your life to leave your homeland to take up the role of local treasurer in Generalate, Rome. Did you expect this?
A month after my perpetual vows, I was asked for a new mission and I confess that I was apprehensive because I did not expect to go to another country. I accepted the challenge of learning a new language and a new way of thinking about financial management. My mission here is very important, as it was in Brazil because I had been at the BSP Provincial Headquarters for four years on managing logistical functions of the house.
When I made my first religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, I committed myself fully and definitively incorporated them, so that as a religious I have defined this to my life. My answer every day is “yes” to this new mission, even knowing the challenges that are inherent to it.
A Brazilian transferred to Italy: how do you experience this change?
I confess that in the first months, adaptation was not easy. The first challenge was the language. I am a very communicative person, I took a preparatory course in Brazil, but when I arrived here in Italy I had to learn everything again, and with this, I had to inhibit what I have best, even if only for a short time: “the art of communicating. With time, this challenge is being overcome, because I am willing to learn, the proof is that I am managing to understand and communicate a little better.
To “be” a treasurer or to “do the tasks” of a treasurer the difficulty is not only on language skills. How do you see yourself in this role?
Between being and doing, there is one fundamental thing and that applies not only to the economy but to all of our lives: honesty. I could list many aspects, but since it is a matter of economics, first of all, you have to do everything with love and responsibility. As a religious, to manage things that are proper to our lives is always to remember that God is very good all the time, and presents us with wonderful people, charitable and willing to help us because they trust us. In this way, I assume the commitment to watch over and accompany by carrying out the duties associated with this new mission.
My expectations for this mission are that I can do a good job and open up the possibilities for other religions to take up the challenge of having a missionary experience in other countries. Not only in Italy, but in other communities where it is possible to contribute with our skills, competencies, without forgetting that we are religious and that we experience and share everything in common. I hope that we don’t get lost in private, individualistic life, but that we entrust to God our lives, our projects, and our mission. When we hope in Him, we always have the certainty that He will never leave us helpless.
The following is a video recorded by Brother Antonio last year about his perpetual profession and his new mission: