The Vigil of Assumption Day was celebrated in the St. Francis High School Chapel in Athol Springs, N.Y., on Aug. 14, 2023, as Friar Antonio Moualeu, OFM Conv. made his Solemn Vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Friar Antonio’s request to make solemn vows was granted by Minister Provincial Friar Michael Heine, OFM Conv., and the Definitory. He proclaimed his vows before Friar Michael, “for the entire time of my life.”
During his homily, Father Heine said, “Wherever the friars are, there is Antonio in their midst. You will do anything too make the friars lives easier and our lives better. Yes, Dr. Antonio, you will be teaching science and math. Both are important. But continue to be a witness of God’s love by living out your vows.”
Friar Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., archbishop of Atlanta, was a concelebrant. About 70 friars were in attendance, participating in the Fraternal Embrace as they welcomed Friar Antonio into solemn profession. More than two dozen members of Friar Antonio’s family, including his parents, were on hand, many dressed in colorful clothing of his native Cameroon.
This past summer, Friar Antonio went on a month-long Solemn Vow Retreat of reflection and prayer to prepare more intensely prior to the Aug. 14 celebration. He said he feels called to Religious Brotherhood.
“As my solemn profession of vows with the Conventual Franciscans is now at hand, I can only marvel at how the Lord’s faithfulness, evident throughout scripture, is also made evident in my own life at this moment,” Friar Antonio said. “He promised He would do it, and He has. Like Mary, Francis of Assisi, and so many other saints, I can only continue to marvel at what the next steps on this earthly journey with my brothers and sisters will be. While continually learning that His ways are so far beyond my ways, I am confident that whatever these next steps are, His faithfulness endures forever.”
Friar Antonio spent the past year of his Apostolic Year of Formation living in community at St. Francis of Assisi Friary in Hamburg, N.Y.
Born in Douala, Cameroon, to Eugenie Moaleu and Christophe Moaleu, Friar Antonio is the third of four children (Leolein, Amanda, Nellie). He attended Collège Libermann, a Jesuit-run high school Cameroon. He and his family moved to Dallas, Texas, in early 2004. While working in the nursing field, Friar Antonio Texas A&M University where he received a B.S. in biomedical engineering. He earned an M.S. in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech.
“While going through an awakening of my Christian faith as a graduate student, I started getting involved in activities at the school’s Catholic center and also started discerning God’s call for my life. I met the friars at a Eucharistic Congress in Atlanta in 2015, and was invited to visit their community in Jonesboro, Georgia, and later went to a ‘Come and See’ retreat in Maryland,” he said. “I joined the postulancy in Chicago in 2017, then went to novitiate in California the next year. After professing simple vows on July 22, 2019, I was sent to San Antonio for post-novitiate studies, focusing on completing my doctoral studies that I was doing prior to joining the order.”
In 2022, Friar Antonio was assigned to St. Francis High School in Athol Springs, N.Y., for a fraternal/apostolic year. He completed his PhD in Mechanical Engineering during the summer of 2022 at Georgia Tech. He remains on the faculty at St. Francis High School.