Canadian WILLIAM MEEHAN was the first student from his diocese to be sent to Valladolid for his Propaedeutic Year…
When I was first told that I would be attending the Royal English College in Spain, I did not know what to think. No one from my diocese (Hamilton, Canada) had been sent to take part in a Propaedeutic Year as part of the formation programme.
I was initially told that the year would be a relaxing, spiritual year of discernment. This idea was quickly shattered when I saw the schedule for the first week. I found the year extremely demanding, but in a good way.
The formation staff have high expectations for the students so that the students will have high expectations for themselves. The programme was also incredibly rewarding, and I am extremely grateful to have had all the opportunities presented during the year.
Before beginning formation, I was working in a small public accounting firm in Oakville, Ontario that specialises in tax planning opportunities for clients. I worked there while I was in university and was hired full-time after graduating with a degree in business administration (specialising in accounting) at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada.
I had been working for almost a year after graduation and was pursuing the Chartered Professional Accountant designation when I chose to leave my job and enter formation.
I found the entire year an incredible experience. However, there were several highlights. Holy Week in Valladolid is wonderfully unique, and is something that I am extremely grateful to have experienced. Another highlight was going to Lourdes on pilgrimage and being in a position to work with and help others who were also there on pilgrimage.
I also learnt about the Church, its liturgy and immense history. I learnt about some of the Spanish mystics and a great deal about prayer. However, the area in which I learnt the most was in human development where I learnt about myself as an individual and how I relate to others, about my strengths, and weaknesses.
In all areas of formation throughout the year, I was fortunate to be able to learn from all of the wonderful staff. The strongest memories that I take away with me, however, are all of the amazing friendships that I made with the other seminarians.
These are people that I will never forget: they made all of the other experiences during the year much more memorable.