There are more than 750,000 members of religious congregations around the world. Since 1997, the World Day for Consecrated Life honors them for spreading the Church's message across the globe.
Javier is one of these members. He's 33 years old, from Spain, and since the age of 19, he's been a member of the Society of Mary.
"When I was 18, I realized that something wasn't right. You're missing something. You begin to feel a need, to search for the happiness I think all of us need. Now, I look back and say: 'Well, I don't know how I was able to do that.' I met the Marianists and I began to feel that, that could be my life.”
Bob is also a Marianist brother. He's 37 years old, and studied at one of the Order's universities. He decided to study there for basic reasons: The engineering program had a good reputation. At that point, he hadn't considered a consecrated life. At the time, he worked as as math professor, he bought a house, a car and even started dating. He hadn't noticed anything different, but now looking back, he says it's there that the seed of consecrated life was planted.
"When I talked about it with my girlfriend, I was nervous. Let's just put it that way. But, believe it or not several of my friends and family, said they weren't that surprised. I really think they saw something in me, that maybe I hadn't seen yet.”
The journey has been quite long. Individually they spent one year in the pre-novitiate stage, two as novices, and then they took their first and second vows. After eight years they finally took their final vows. But despite the wait, both feel that consecrated life was the right choice.
"When someone looks back, they realize that everything makes sense. Even the most difficult moments, the hardest ones. It all makes sense, it's logical. Consecrated life shows that its possible to be happy; it's very possible to be happy living out the Gospel.”
"I will also encourage people, if they think, like I did, that, that isn't just for them... we have to believe that God is the God of surprises. And if we listen to God's voice, we never know where he's gonna take us. I talk about my vocation as an adventure, because I can wake up every morning and think: 'what's gonna happen today?' And it helps when I remember that God is a part of this.”
Javier and Bob said living a consecrated life is not an old-fashioned vocation, because searching for happiness never gets old.