Novices Matt Ryan and Raphael Ozoude at Old Mission Santa Barbara (photo by Basil Valente, OFM)

(After their Oct. 16 Investiture at Old Mission Santa Barbara in California, we asked SJB Novices Raphael Ozoude and Matt Ryan what donning the Franciscan habit means to them.)

Raphael Ozoude, OFM:
I am excited to have the habit. This habit is for me a sign, symbol and reminder that I am called to follow Jesus closely, wholeheartedly and intimately according to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. It is a reminder and symbol of the fact that I am called, like Francis, to live a life that is evangelical: a life of deep prayer and contemplation; a life of fraternal fellowship; a life of penance, minority and charity; and a life by which I staunchly preach the Gospel. It is also a sign that I am a member of the Holy Roman Church; I am not apart from the Church. I can only live this life as part of this family. I firmly believe that if I wear this habit with a joyful and sincere heart and demeanor, I will inspire and encourage others to consecrate themselves and their lives more closely to Jesus so that they, too, may have a joy that is complete and a peace that the world is incapable of providing.

Matt Ryan, OFM:
I am grateful to wear my habit as an outward sign of my continued discernment. Our Conventual and Capuchin brothers received their habits when they arrived at novitiate. But I’m glad we were afforded time to adjust to being novices before receiving the habit. It made our investiture a milestone on our journey. This outward sign makes me aware that I am deepening my Franciscan roots with my brothers as we walk toward making a vowed commitment.