It was not until the arrival of a rather unusual Italian Priest at our West Yorkshire Seminary did I begin to feel a certain closeness. Father Romano Nardo was unusual, not only as a Priest, but also as a person. This eccentric young man made an instant impression on me despite his odd appearance; he wore thick glasses, big glasses, actually, very big, thick glasses.
Romano was the first Priest of the Comboni order to offer an explanation for my unbearable homesickness. Pain, he told me was a route to God. By accepting our pain, learning to live with suffering, we move ever closer to God. As a rational adult I’m capable of offering counter arguments. But in vulnerable adolescence the notion that pleasure is sinful and pain and suffering is spiritually uplifting resonated with me and I embraced his theological reasoning.