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From Yale to the seminary: a neuroscientist's story


Seminarian. Photo credit: Alexey Gotovskiy CNA

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Washington D.C., Apr 4, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Jaime Maldonado-Aviles thought that he would be spending his life behind microscopes at Yale as a neuroscientist. But his life has taken a dramatic turn, and he is now discerning the priesthood at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

“I have to seriously explore these questions,” Maldonado-Aviles said of a constant nagging he felt towards the priesthood.

“At different times, the question would come back: If I see myself at 90 years old, close to death, would I say to myself, ‘I should have entered seminary?’” he told the Washington Post.

Maldonado-Aviles was 34 and working at Yale as a neuroscientist in a post-doctoral position when he seriously began to explore the pull towards priesthood that he had felt his whole life.

He grew up in Puerto Rico and attended the National Institutes of Health, earning his doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh. He has studied everything from eating disorders to mice brains throughout his research career, and was offered a dream job in his home country of Puerto Rico working at a pharmaceutical university with tenure.

He turned the job down, and instead decided to enter six years of seminary.

While Maldonado-Aviles is a seasoned science scholar, he will spend the next couple of years learning another spectrum of education in seminary: Catholic theology and philosophy.

As for the argument that science and faith cannot coexist, Maldonado-Aviles doesn’t buy it, saying that he is excited to connect the dots between his passion for science and his exploration of Catholicism.

“The complexity and yet the order in which things work in our body and in our brain, it makes you think there’s more than just randomness,” he told the Washington Post.

“Theology has to learn from scientific advice. We are informed as to how life works. But science also has to learn from theology.”

 

 

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