On Monday 1st June, I entered Awka, one of the mini bus drivers at the border said to me as I was entering his bus “Are you a priest?” Lol!”No sir, I’m not. Just a layman.” I replied but retorted immediately, “Why do you ask?” “Because you look like one, a seminarian.” He replied.
An experience laid bare before me right inside the bus. I just smiled.
Yes! I used to be a Seminarian. An Ex Seminarian. An Abakaliki Diocesan Seminarian. I was withdrawn from the senior Seminary last year after my youth service. I did my philosophical studies at Pope John Paul 11 Major Seminary Okpuno Awka, Anambra South. I didn’t attend the minor Seminary because my dad never wanted any of his children to go to only boy’s or girl’s school. After my secondary school, I declared interest to sojourn into the Catholic Priesthood. I was among the 18 young boys that were sent to the senior Seminary to study philosophy in 2014.
If not for some circumstances I would’ve invited the members of this noble group to my first mass in 2023 (My supposed ordination year) to sing “Dominus Vobis Cum.” (The Lord be with you).
My classmates should be rounding up their Theology One by now.
But an experience changed the whole narrative. And this is the first place I’m writing about it. Not even my mum knows about what I’m sharing here.
As a seminarian before you reach the stage of priestly ordination, you have undergone 9-10 apostolic works to different parishes. Most of the catholics here know this, because every year seminarians are being sent to the parishes for their apostolic work. The seminarians enjoyed the apostolic work experiences because it widens their horizon of what goes on in the Parish. Just call it pastoral experience.
After I had this dreadful experience, I lived in constant fear of women especially when it’s time for Apostolic work posting at the end of every academic year.
Even as a baby seminarian, I’ve heard priests warning us to be very careful whenever we are on apostolic work. Most importantly the handsome seminarians. Their own temptations are even worse. Yes! Some women are sexually to seminarians and even priests.
I used to be one. Even when I looked like an half cast, whenever I appeared on my white soutane with polished shoes. I’ll be hearing some comments like “What’s this guy doing in the Seminary”,”Who is the mother of this guy that let him enter the Seminary.” Etc.
Each Parish that a seminarian is sent, is to be taken care of. He won’t be living in the Parish house rather among the faithfuls. So each station of the Parish finds a suitable place for the seminarian to stay until he finishes his work there and moves to another station.
I have received some ladies and women who would want to see me for something during that work. Yes they’re free to discuss anything with me. Just like someone goes to the priest during his office days to see him for one problem or the other.
Since the seminarians are often given one room from the rooms in the house of the person that volunteers to house him for the mean time he’ll stay in his/her station. So when someone wants to see the seminarian he/she goes to see him where he stays.
Throughout my years in the Seminary, some of the CYON ladies and CWO women that claim that they want to see me for one problem or the other are just there to tempt me. Some of them don’t wear any underwear. Not only that, when they feel I’m not seeing it very well or dodging, they open their legs very well. I know countless times, I told many of how uncomfortable they make me during their visits. One funny thing is when I change position so I won’t be seeing whatever they want me to see, they change position with me too. I know many I avoided back then to see whenever I hear that came to see me. Some I tell I’m very busy at the moment.
Three times I’ve experienced cases where I would’ve been coerced to sex by some ladies. One by a CYON lady and the other two from CWO women. The cases of the two CWO women weren’t tough for me because I succeeded in discarding them and they respected themselves and left.
But that of the CYON lady was war. I pleaded and begged her but all to no avail. She was serious. Thank God I escaped shaa. I jumped out through the window of my room. I injured myself severely from the jump in bid to save myself from trouble.
But the last straw that broke the camel’s back was when I was heavily raped and sexually molested by the woman I was living in her house and her two matured daughters.
When I came to their station, the station councilors said I’ll be staying at her house for the one week I was meant to stay in their station before I leave for another station.
I lived at her house while I performed the services I came to the station for.
I came to the station on Monday and was meant to leave for another station the next Monday.
On Saturday night, this woman and her two matured daughters raped and molested me as if there’s no tomorrow. The worst part of it is that they took turns sitting on my face. They came to my room to enquire what I’ll eat after I come back from Sunday mass. From there, they unleashed the devil in them.
I pleaded and cried for them not to do this to me but all my pleadings and cries fell on deaf ears. According to them, if I talk or resist that they will shout and call on the neighbours that I tried abusing one of the daughters.
At that point I couldn’t resist anymore. “Who would’ve believed me if they had shouted?”
The Son of Man gave in to their wicked act.
For an hour and some minutes, this woman and her two daughters kept messing me up until they were tired. Thank God I didn’t die that night because at some point I thought I was. Even Sunday mass, the following day I didn’t attend because they sapped out all the strength in me.
Even the Parish priest I worked with never knew what I passed through in his Parish.
When I concluded my work in that Parish and was about to leave, they sought for my forgiveness. Yes I forgave them but never forgot how they rammed me that night.
Before I went back to the Seminary for the next academic year, I went for an HIV test in Enugu and when the result came out, I wasn’t infected.
Throughout my Seminary days I lived in trauma and very messed up life. Many times I tried leaving the Seminary but a priest I told I was tired advised I should finish my degree before leaving.
They shattered my life and I lost the essence of the vocation I was to embrace. Many times I had a vacation crisis. My B. A (UNIZIK) & B. PHIL (ROME) results came out not satisfactory. I used to be among the best students back then during my primary and secondary school days.
During my one year service before the next level (Theology), I prayed and asked God I don’t want to continue in this journey when my innocence has been forcibly and wickedly taken away from me. This prayer was on my mouth all through that year until I concluded that youth service.
When the final result of the names of seminarians that will be going back to the Seminary came out last year September 30th, some of my classmates were posted to BIGARD and some to TANSI but my name never appeared on the list.
Whatever reason why my name never appeared should be God’s answered prayer. That was the end of my journey to the catholic Priesthood.
This is the untold deepest secret of a Catholic Ex Seminarian. Many seminarians are on this table but are quiet. I said this because I’m no longer in the Seminary and I want to let it out.
Yes! I won’t hate women because of the crime of three of their species.
If you ask me what my next level will be since I left the Seminary, me I don’t know oo but my own be say any level that presents itself, I go chest am like a man.
Yes! I know many would want me to bring them to justice but I won’t. I lost interest in continuing because of them but before I left their house I made sure they swore never to molest any seminarian/male child again in their entire lives if they do something tragedy will befall them.
It’s also an eye opener to the Dioceses and parishes to verify the houses seminarians are housed in during their Apostolic work. Many seminarians are still suffering this plight but won’t let it out.
I don’t wish to discuss this any further. Just feeling speaking up will help in my healing. Most importantly, the identities of the women that did this to me will go with me to the grave.
5th June, 2020.
Culled from Augustine Mario Nnaji, MFV