To the Band of Brothers: April 1, 2022

Fr. Willie ‘87
There was an eerie silence in school on Tuesday. I know it had everything to do with mathematics. For the vast majority of the student population, the math portion of the ACT was being administered. Trust me, that will silence anyone. As I peeked into the various classrooms, I would have sudden flashbacks of sitting in those desks so many years ago sweating through mathematical formulas and geometric theorems. I had to remind myself that I don’t have to take math anymore.
I have to be honest; math and I have never been what you would call friends. Actually, we dislike each other pretty intensely. I was always more at home with Mr. Nuñez’s art history class or Mr. Ibarria’s American literature. Show me a painting by Jacques-Louis David or a novel by Orwell and I will show you sheer and unbridled rapture. Show me a theorem by Pythagoras or a formula by De Moivre and I will show you Freddy Krueger and a Nightmare on Elm Street.
You may ask, how did I survive four years of math at Belen? How did I make it through Algebra with Mrs. H, Geometry with Mrs. Prado, and Math Analysis with Mrs. Vila? The answer… my dad.
Yes sir, fortunately for me my mother married an engineer who loved math, thought it was fun, and made a living off it by plugging it into buildings and warehouses. And, just when I thought it was the tool of the devil created by God for the purpose of humbling mankind and reminding him that life is oftentimes not fair or always peachy, my father made a living from it.
Practically every night in the GT household, I would sit at the dining room table with my father and he would go over the chapters of my math book with me. He would listen as I related to him how Mrs. H and Mrs. Prado and Mrs. Vila explained coefficients and variables, trapezoids, and parallelograms. He would watch as I diagramed and calculated, as I sketched on papers scattered all over the table. He would ask me what’s my vector Victor, do I have clearance Clarence. And always, without exception, he would take the little sweaty pencil from my fingers and go over things on the corner of a sheet of paper or on a napkin or on whatever he had in front of him.
I must admit the vast majority of times I would tune him out after a few minutes. I couldn’t take it for long. My mind would wander to raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. He would tap me on the forehead with the pencil and tell me to focus. That focus wouldn’t last very long. Soon enough I had returned to cream-colored ponies and crisp apple strudel. My dad would run his fingers through his hair and then, almost like magic, would show me a formula or a mathematical process that used half the steps and got me more quickly to the answer than what I had learned in class.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m very grateful for my math years at Belen. What I fought through during those four years made me strong and wise. It helped me understand that my future in life had to be a profession far removed from math and its kissing cousins like chemistry and physics. You can almost say that it was math that helped me realize I had a religious vocation. Isn’t that amazing, brought to the priesthood by Freddy Krueger.
Auspice Maria
500 SW 127th Avenue, Miami, FL 33184
phone: 305.223.8600 | fax: 305.227.2565 | email:
Belen Jesuit Preparatory School was founded in 1854 in Havana, Cuba by Queen Isabel II of Spain.  The task of educating students was assigned to the priests and brothers of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), whose teaching tradition is synonymous with academic excellence and spiritual discipline.  In 1961, the new political regime of Cuba confiscated the School property and expelled the Jesuit faculty.  The School was re-established in Miami the same year, and over the next decade, continued to grow.  Today, Belen Jesuit sits on a 30-acre site in western Dade County, only minutes away from downtown Miami.