Boniface Mecha of Kisii, Kenya, is one of four men entering the Glenmary formation program in the fall of 2014. He is a candidate pursuing priesthood who has begun his studies at the St. Meinrad School of Theology.

Boniface, 28, and his two siblings were raised by their mother, who was the family wage-earner. "My mother was a strong Catholic Christian and active member of the Catholic Women's Association in our parish. Her spiritual support and that of my grandparents enabled me to grow in the Church," he says. "For this reason, while still a boy, I quickly started developing the desire to become a priest."

During primary school, Boniface received the sacraments of baptism, first Eucharist and confirmation from a Mill Hill missionary. These events made a big impact on his life: he became very involved in church activities such as procession, choir, poem recitation, and acting in concerts. Meanwhile, though, his family was experiencing financial challenges. And at times his mother had to temporarily withdraw her three children from school so that they could work with her to make ends meet.

As an adolescent, Boniface continued as an active church member and served as a choirmaster for over five years. He wanted very much to enroll in minor seminary. But he could not attend because he did not receive financial aid. He was very disappointed that he could not pursue the education he desired to discern for priesthood, but he attended and graduated from the local Catholic-sponsored secondary school instead, and was very involved in activities there, also.

After being self-employed for a while baking bread, he saw an opportunity to join a contemplative order in Nairobi so he could attend seminary. But after taking some courses in philosophy and religious studies, he left because the order didn't satisfy his desire to directly serve the needy.

He then worked at a restaurant job for a time in Nairobi. And with the spiritual guidance of two priests in the area, he lived among the poor "to experience their way of living. One thing I admired is the love the people shared. They were always concerned with one another."

He eventually attended the Apostles of Jesus Philosophicum Seminary, where he completed his diploma in philosophy/religious studies and his baccalaureate in philosophy.

During this time, "I came to know about Glenmary Home Missioners while I was making a Google search for a missionary congregation I thought could fit me. I read more about them on their Web site and even decided to follow them on Facebook and in other blogs—and especially in their Web pages on Glenmary vocations that were full of insights on vocation discernment."

Boniface says that "leaving my homeland was no an easy thing to do. Saying good-bye to my loved ones was a bad experience. On the other hand, my joy at the thought of serving in rural America overwhelmed me. I could not bear to miss the opportunity I have always longed for: being the servant of all people, especially the poor, neglected and unconverted. Because of my experiences, I have in many ways experienced the divine providence that brings hope to people who feel God has forgotten them.

"I therefore thought that this was the right time for me to join in Glenmary's mission, as beautifully expressed by their founder (Father Bishop) in his diary:

‘The disease of the world is self-love. How to cure it? By charity on a tremendous scale, i.e., self-giving for God and fellow man. Who can teach such charity? Only the Church. Can we restore the world by social justice? No. World must have spiritual foundation for social justice. That is Catholicity. We must win men to the Church to build new, social order. To save world's body we must save its soul.'"

Boniface says he is very grateful for the support he has received from Glenmary. "When Glenmarians came all the way to my rural village in Kenya to talk to me about Glenmary's service to the needy in rural America, it was a memorable event for me and my folks."

Now that he is attending seminary, he says, Glenmarians are still assisting him in his endeavors and ensuring that his studies are running smoothly. "I pray that the good Lord who began this good work may bring it to completion at the appointed time."