Interview with Daniel Calderon de Mezerville
How did you meet Bruce?
In 2008, I took a Gap Year in Belfast: I was 18 years old and needed to get my life on track. I met Bruce then, since he was living in that house.
How would you describe his personality?
He was a very insightful man who could talk about everything: relationships, history, theology, sports, trivia. He was crazy smart and understood the world of relationships – something that is not always true for celibate men. He really understood people.
He also had a bit of a temper, especially in the morning. I know that because we were roommates. And he was a very joyful man, close to families, who appreciated kids and their antics. Like Jesus, he was open to them coming to him.
Describe your relationship with him
It took a few months for me to get to know him. He was travelling a lot, so we were not really close at the start. But during Lent I was going through a 7-day retreat, and Bruce was going to take me through it. Those 7 days became 38: I really opened up, sharing for three hours in my first session, and Bruce listened. He saw that I needed help and he invited me to travel with him for three weeks in the United States. That is where we developed this mentoring relationship (my sister calls it “Harry Potter and Dumbledore”).
I was a young man with lots of questions, some of them silly, some of them serious, about my identity, my life plans and my calling. And he took those questions seriously. He helped me see where I loved the world more than the Lord, and that I needed to learn prudence in my choices.
We stayed in touch and on average communicated once a month. His input was very important for my life. But the crazy thing is that he maintained such relationships not just with two or three of us, but with probably a couple dozen individuals.
Are there any anecdotes you can share?
So many, too many to tell.
We both loved Bob Dylan and regularly shared about some of his lyrics. But Bruce also listened to my music, like “White Stripes,” and that is rare for a man his age.
When we travelled to the US together I noticed that people honored him a lot, because of the impact he had had on their lives and I told myself, “You don’t really know how to treat this man properly.”
He loved football, even as an older man. One day we played and both went for a header: he won the header, but I won the duel, because he hurt his head so bad he had to stay in bed for the rest of the day. Maybe this was a metaphor of our relationship: I regularly gave him headaches.
A more serious one: one day he made a hurtful comment about me in public. Afterward he felt very bad about it. Not only did he repent to me, but he made up for it with a gift. That showed me that he also was human.
One year he fasted once a week for me – that was impressive. A few days before my wedding he wrote me an email saying that he would always be available to me. I claim that and trust he is somehow looking down on me.
Daniel Calderón de Mézerville grew up in our Sword of the Spirit community in Costa Rica. He and his wife Ana Cristina are now members of that community and he works as a high school counselor.