Fr Adolf Pöll mhm, Kenya
To appreciate God's guidance throughout my life, I wish to share with the friends of Mill Hill tee following. When I was born, Europe was in turmoil. It was during the Second World War. The village of my parents was still poorly developed. Being a mountainous area the nearest road was about 5 kilometers away. There was as yet no electricity in the village. We were a community of 20 farmers. The little primary school had just one classroom for all 5 classes, with only one teacher nor all classes; in all 24 pupils. The parish priest came twice a week for religious instructions and for Holy Mass.
One afternoon, when in class, the priest talked about: Vocations. He looked round and said: "For a long time now nobody has gone to the seminary, neither to the convent. What is happening.? Who of you wants to be a Sister?" Two of my cousins put up their hands. Both of them succeedede and are still working as Sisters in Austria. "And what about you boys?", the parish priest inquired. WE ALL KEPT QUIET. HE POINTED TO ME: "What about you, Adolf? , I think you would manage." …. Me, no, I will be a farmer. I love goats and cows. And I am not interested in all those books. My sister Maria wants to become a teacher. And dad cannot pay the fees for two in the secondary school.
Fr Adolf Pöll mhm
But the Lord had his own plans for me. Since that challenge in the classroom, the question of becoming a priest did not leave me. Eventually I took courage and talked with mum, and she confided with dad. He called me: "What is this nonsense I hear about you? Look, you love goats and cows too much. One day, when you are grown up, we will buy you a farm." By then I was 13. Weeks passed. I had no peace of mind….My parents must have noticed.
So one day dad called my sister Maria and myself.: "Look, children, we can afford the fees for just one of you. You, Adolf, you say you want to be a priest, and you, Maria, you want to be a teacher. Well, if Adolf really feels he's called, we must not stop him. Maybe God IS calling him. But then, Adolf, you will have to give up the three goats which belong to you and give them to Maria."
With a heavy heart I agreed………. (My now late sister Maria became the wife of a farmer. She and her family continued to send me all their savings for the missionary work. God bless them.)
I was not a good student. But after 8 years of secondary schooling I was the proud owner of the required Certificate. 'And now, what about my future? Should I join the University, or enter the Major Seminary…?'
St Josef Freinademetz, Witu
One of my teachers had inspired me. He was an enthusiast for the Evangelisation of the world. He was a great admirer of Fr. Josef Freinademetz, a Missionary to China who hails from our area. When teaching history and geography this teacher was again and again referring to that wonderful priest who had left his home to stay all his life in China without ever returning home. He converted thousands of so called pagans in that far away land of China.
Josef Freinademetz: 3 years ago whilst on home leave I witnessed his Canonization in Rome. Perhaps one day you may have the opportunity to visit our new parish here in Witu, Lamu District, Kenya. Then I shall show you in our simple semi-permanent parish church the picture of our Patron Saint: Josef Freinademetz.
Coming back to my decision making. "What shall I do next?", I prayed to my beloved Saint for guidance and took the train to Brixen. I knew that in Brixen there were four missionary colleges: the Capuchins, the Franciscans, the Comboni, and the Mill Hill Missionaries. Arriving at the railway station in Brixen I asked a passer-by: "Please show me the way to the house of the Missionaries." The house of the Mill Hill Missionaries happened to be very near… They accepted me there. God's ways are wonderful. Never in my 40 years of priestly life have I, even for one minute, regretted to have joined the great family of Mill Hill.
And I try to remain faithful to my adopted name: 'Alleluya', Praise the Lord.
His ways are wonderful.
Adolf Pöll mhm
(from: Friends of Mill Hill Magazine)