ANNOUNCING THE 2013 NOVITIATE CLASS FOR THE EASTERN PROVINCE DOMINICANS
June 8, 2013
On this Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we give thanks to God, to Blessed Mary, and to Blessed Dominic for sending us many vocations to preach the Gospel for the salvation of souls. Please pray for these 18 men who have been accepted for the 2013 novitiate class for the Dominican Province of St. Joseph (Eastern).
They will be vested in the habit of our founder on his feast day,
August 8, 2013 at St. Gertrude priory in Cincinnati in a private ceremony. The friars’ conventual Mass follows at 11:30AM in St. Gertrude church.
You are invited!
Ben – Michigan, studied at Stanford University (clerical brother candidate)
I grew up in a suburb of Detroit as the oldest of seven children. My parents very thoroughly raised us in the faith; I remember in particular catechism sessions on Sundays and family trips for Confession. All seven of us have been able to attend (or still are attending) Catholic schools until college, as well. I began to altar serve at our parish when I was first old enough, and I have continued to do so in various places ever since then. Interestingly enough, I chose Dominic as my Confirmation name in eighth grade, as I had recently read his biography and thought that his connexion with St Francis, my middle name, was appropriate. For high school, I attended De La Salle Collegiate, a school run by the Christian Brothers. This was my first real exposure to religious life, and their devotion to the school and its students was a powerful witness. Following high school, I attended Stanford University and studied physics. Moving into a secular environment forced me to more consciously practice my faith, and I found a wonderful group of friends who are striving to do likewise.
My parents had always encouraged me to consider priesthood or the religious life as well as marriage, so entering the priesthood is something that I have been praying about for a while. While at Stanford, I met the Dominicans through the Newman Centre. As I learnt more about the Order, I began to be attracted to the Dominican focus on academic work as a path to saving souls. Visits to Dominican communities showed me the joy of the way the brothers live community life, and further prayer has convinced me that this is something that I want to give my life to, and, more importantly, that God might want the same. I’m blessed to have been accepted to enter this year’s novitiate class, and I look forward to this time of contemplation and prayer together with my brothers.
Connor – New York, studied at Williams College (clerical brother candidate)
I was born in Rochester, NY and grew up just outside the city in Webster, NY. My father, Mark, and my mother Nancy, a convert, ensured that I was raised in the Catholic faith, bringing me to parish events and encouraging me to become an altar server, a role I embraced as soon as I was old enough to be eligible. I was fortunate enough to attend a local Catholic school, McQuaid Jesuit, for both middle and high school. There, I was exposed to both the academic side of Catholicism – theology, philosophy, scriptural studies – as well as the pastoral, assisting in a variety of local apostolates becoming involved with the pro-life movement. While I was in high school, I studied under a number of wonderful priests, several of whom encouraged me to consider the priesthood. While I was more concerned with other matters, like graduating and progressing to college, they nevertheless planted the idea in my head.
In my very secular college, I quickly gravitated towards the Catholic students and chaplain, eventually heading our Newman community my senior year. In the midst of all the intellectual and social upheaval attending college entails, my faith, already a strong part of my identity quickly became an indispensible source of stability. No longer being spoon-fed Catholicism in CCD classes or mandatory religious education, I began to investigate Catholicism on my own: reading the writings of recent popes, trying new devotional activities, and taking advantage of our Newman Center’s sizable library.
I began to discern a call to the priesthood at the end of my sophomore year of college. With the help of my college’s chaplain, I continued my discernment and developed the habits of reading sacred scripture and praying the Liturgy of the Hours regularly. I was blessed to be able to travel to Israel these past two summers. Being able to see the landscape Jesus and the Apostles had occupied, stand in the places they had stood, touch the things they had touched was a remarkable experience, one that transformed and strengthened my faith and my love for the Church.
When I returned home after that first summer, I resolved to begin exploring a religious vocation. A high school classmate, one who will be joining me in the novitiate, put me in contact with the Province of St. Joseph. After visiting several priories, I was impressed by the life and personality of the Dominicans I met. Choral recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours, active apostolates, communal living, and a tremendous zeal for the Catholic faith: I knew that this was the kind of life I wanted to live. After reflecting on my attraction to the Dominicans in particular, I applied to enter the next novitiate class and was blessed to be accepted. Now, I look forward to spending the next year entering into the Dominican life with my fellow novices, able to develop my relationship with God and others through prayer and reflection.
Nathaniel – New York, studied at Boston College (clerical brother candidate)
I was born in Dallas, TX and raised in Erie, PA and Rochester, NY. I grew up in a family of four boys with two wonderful and loving parents who formed us in the Catholic faith. My parents did everything to ensure that each of us grew up to be men of faith and charity. Along with my twin brother, I am fortunate enough to have attended Catholic schools growing up. After graduating from McQuaid Jesuit High School, I enrolled at Boston College in the fall of 2009. There, I majored in Philosophy and Theology, with a minor in Mathematics. During my time at Boston College, I experienced the grace of knowing several outstanding individuals who encouraged me, and who helped me to grow intellectually and spiritually.
While I had long considered a vocation to the priesthood, after beginning college I came to know the Dominicans. During my freshman year, I read several works by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange that led me to want to learn more about both St. Dominic and the Dominicans. After reading Father Guy Bedouelle’s biography of St. Dominic, I began to desire to follow the form of life set forth by Dominic Guzman. Later, I was introduced to several Dominicans who encouraged and instructed me and to whom I owe a debt of gratitude. The Order’s zeal for the salvation of souls and its dedication to study and preaching drew me. At the same time, I observed that Dominicans pursue these goals with a joyful heart. With the help of Our Lady, I want to give my life in service to God and to His Church within the Order of Preachers. So I enter this year’s novitiate class with joyful acceptance in the grace that has drawn me there.
Thomas – New York, studied at Holy Cross College (clerical brother candidate)
I grew up on Long Island, NY, the middle of three children. My parents Joseph and Noreen raised us in the Catholic faith and we attended mass regularly as a family. Nevertheless, my faith life was superficial growing up until it was challenged in high school. It was then that I began to take my relationship with Christ seriously, and grew in love for His Church. During Lent 2006, a Franciscan friar came to preach at my home parish and I began to feel called to religious life.
I attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA and nurtured my faith with the Jesuits there. I majored in Classics and discerned my vocation while studying the ancient philosophers and the Church Fathers. During my junior year I studied abroad in Athens and Rome. My time in Athens made me appreciate and understand Eastern Orthodox Christianity much more deeply, while my time in Rome had a similar effect regarding my own tradition.
In Greece and Italy, I prayed before the relics of many saints and always asked God to lead me as He had led them. It was at this time that I discovered the Liturgy of the Hours and received great consolation from praying the psalms. On my return to the United States, I had a strengthened resolve in my desire to pursue religious life. I considered various orders and felt called to the Order of Preachers. The more I learned about St. Dominic, the more I was inspired by his life, and I prayed for his intercession throughout the later stages of my discernment process.
As I met with Dominicans and learned more about their life, I became increasingly attracted to the Order. Zeal for souls, emphasis on community life, and devotion to Our Lady were among many reasons that ultimately led me to apply for the 2013 Novitiate class. God has greatly blessed me with acceptance into the Friars Preachers, and I look forward to living the Gospel with my future brothers.
Matthew – Wisconsin, studied at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota (cooperator brother candidate)
I was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. I have one older brother who attends a local technical college, studying visual communications. I was blessed to have received a good education by attending both a Dominican grade school and high school. I’m a recent graduate of St. Mary’s University in Winona, MN where I received an undergraduate degree in philosophy. Growing up, I always had a close relationship with the Lord and my family laid a good foundation for the seeds of faith to flourish.
One day in the fourth grade, a Dominican cooperator brother came into the classroom and talked to us about what it meant to be a religious brother and how he chose that life. At the end of the presentation, I clearly remember thinking to myself, “maybe I could be a brother one day.” Although I didn’t think much about it at that point in my life, the Lord gave me the grace to have an open heart and I was never opposed to the idea. In high school, my desire to know and serve Christ really started to grow. It all happened very fast, but shortly after I began to explore the beautiful treasures of our Catholic faith, I knew that God was calling me to serve as either a priest or religious brother.
My senior year, I initiated a restoration project to fix up a damaged statue of St. Dominic that sat at the entrance of my high school. As I was gathering supplies and working with the sculptor, I thought it would be good to do some research on St. Dominic. At that point in my life, I only knew a little bit about the Dominican order, but not a thing about St. Dominic. I started reading books about his life and the life of the early friars. There were several things that attracted me to this saint: his charity for souls, his beautiful life of prayer, his love of scripture, and his complete abandonment to the guidance of the Holy Spirit when forming this new group of wandering preachers. It’s quite ironic, because when I first was seriously looking into religious orders, I avoided the Dominicans. I don’t consider myself a great scholar, but almost every Dominican I knew growing up was an “intellectual powerhouse.” This intimidated me at first, but I soon came to realize that intensive study was a means, not an end, to bringing the Good News to others. When I read how St. Dominic wanted his friars to be well educated in order to clearly articulate and defend the faith, it inspired me to want to seek the truth and share it with others.
I was torn between diocesan priesthood and religious life, but I eventually decided to enter as a seminarian for the Diocese of Madison. At the end of four years at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary and the university, and after much prayer and spiritual direction, I knew I was called to the Order of Preachers. With the blessings of Madison’s Bishop Morlino and my friends, they encouraged me to follow where the Lord was leading me. I’m so incredibly excited and thankful to be entering the Novitiate. Please pray for my brothers and I as we seek to do the Lord’s will.
Samuel – Virginia, studied at Cornell University (clerical brother candidate)
I was born and raised in the DC area, and I was blessed to grow up in a strong Catholic household. My parents both converted to the faith, and God has always been important in our family life. I have two younger brothers. One attends Providence College, and the other is a sophomore in high school. My youth group in high school encouraged me to develop a strong sense of commitment and devotion to the faith.
Although the faith has always been important for me, it wasn’t until college that I understood the need to spread the Gospel. A couple of my close friends entered the Church, and I began to see how Jesus transformed their lives. In sharing with these friends the riches of the faith, I began to see how Christ is necessary for all people, not just personally meaningful for me. As I experience more of the world and meet more people, the more I become aware that the world needs the saving power of Jesus.
I have just completed a dual degree in chemistry and classics from Cornell University. For a while I was training to become a Marine Officer, and I learned many valuable lessons in discipline and self-sacrifice. I opted out of the program, however, as I began to feel God drawing me to the priesthood.
I was first attracted to the Dominicans because they highly value the intellectual life. Yet they totally subordinate their intellectual interests to their mission of preaching the Gospel. In taking vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, Dominicans allow love of Christ and zeal for souls to consume their entire lives. Their love and zeal is infectious, and I have seen many draw closer to God through the preaching of Dominicans.
The Dominicans also value the importance of the common life. Having lived in a Christian house for two years of my college career, I know that joy and graces abound when men live together while seeking God. I have felt this joy in every Dominican priory I have visited, and I hope to share in this joy with my brothers in formation.
Nathan – Colorado, studied at Columbia University (clerical brother candidate)
I was born and raised in the mountains of the beautiful state of Colorado. The oldest of 4, with 2 brothers and a sister, I was blessed to be raised in a loving family, strong in the Catholic faith. I spent my time in high school running cross country and participating in robotics competitions, as well as advancing to Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. The outdoors have always been a place of both great adventure and great peace, and I continue to backpack whenever I have the opportunity.
After graduating high school I went from the small town of Conifer Colorado to New York city to study electrical engineering at Columbia University. While at Columbia I jumped into robotics, working at Lockheed Martin Autonomous Systems on ground-breaking commercial robotics over the summers, and dance, performing traditional jazz and swing dances around the city at venues like the metropolitan opera house and fashion’s night out. It was at Columbia that I met the Polish Dominican friars, who ran the campus ministry, and fell in love with the Church. Through their ministry, and with the grace of God, I grew ever deeper in faith, claiming it as my own instead of passively riding on my family’s faith.
Through college, especially through opportunities such as World Youth Day in Madrid or walking the Camino de Santiago with a Dominican friar, I found the desire to give myself completely to God, in a very different manner than I had planned when I entered college, and I surprised myself by visiting religious communities and discerning a vocation. Daily mass attendance and the recitation of the divine office, and a growing love for our Queen and Mother Mary, continue to instill in me a deep respect for the religious vocation. After following several communities, I found myself again with the Dominicans, this time from the province of St Joseph. I look forward to a year of prayer, reflection and discernment as I enter the novitiate this fall.
Adam – South Carolina, studied at University of South Carolina (clerical brother candidate)
I was born and raised in Easley, South Carolina and have two older brothers, both in the military. I became a Catholic in high school at St. Mary’s Church in Greenville, and afterwards attended USC to study Philosophy and French. During my sophomore year in college I started discerning religious life but knew nothing of the Dominicans.
I went to Italy for a couple weeks with a buddy of mine to see a mutual friend who lives in a small town in the Tuscany area. Before seeing and traveling around with him and his family, we spent a few days in Rome and I met up with a Dominican priest who said Mass for us in St. Dominic’s cell in Santa Sabina, then taking us around the city, to San Clemente, and other various sites that he knew a good bit about. After the come and see weekend a couple months later, I was set on the Order of Preachers. After graduation last year, I’ve spent the majority of the year as a maintenance and odd-job worker at St. Joseph’s Church in Columbia, SC.
Daniel – Washington State, studied at University of St. Thomas in Minnesota (clerical brother candidate)
I was born in Seattle, Washington, the third of eight children. While my family has always been strongly Catholic, it was when my two older sisters entered the Nashville Dominicans (one year apart) that the faith suddenly became very real, ultimate in its joys and sacrifices, in its costs and rewards. My family continued to be more deeply converted in the years following my sisters’ entrance into religious life, and I began to feel a pull toward religious life, but it would take a lot more work on the Lord’s part to loosen the stubborn hold I had on my own notions of meaning and fulfillment.
I eventually moved out to the Twin Cities to study philosophy and Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas. It was in the months immediately following graduation, while working and studying classical Greek in preparation for applying for an M.A. in Classics, that I began to realize that even my best plans for my life were so small, and had no chance of bringing the happiness for which I was so anxiously searching. It was at this point that the Lord’s call to put out into the deep found a listener. I was finally ready to go all in on His promise. I did not have to pause for a second to know how I should live out my answer to this call. The experiences and circumstances of my life all converged on the preaching and teaching life as well as the rich fraternity of the Order of Preachers.
My experience after university has shown me the tremendous power of the Word of God in converting souls to Christ, and I look forward to joining my brothers in the Novitiate, as we prepare to study and pray that we may be worthy preachers of the Word.
Stephen – South Carolina, studied at Christendom College (clerical brother candidate)
I was born and raised in Anderson, South Carolina, the third of four children. We grew up in a strong and loving household where the essential principles of the Faith were instilled in us from an early age. Most of my childhood involved the simple disciplines of farm life, as well as participation in different sports and activities such as soccer, tennis, and music. During high school years, my younger brother and I served at the altar at the local parish, and, with the influence of grace and assistance of good priests and teachers, as well as good books, I began to take the Faith more seriously, and discerned a possible vocation to the priesthood.
With that in mind, I decided to attend Christendom College and there, studied philosophy. During my years at college, I discerned a vocation to the religious life and spent time visiting different religious communities. After graduation, I decided to discern with the Dominican order, and moved to Virginia to live and work while completing the application process. I look forward to this next year as a novice and discovering the Will of God ever more clearly with my brothers in religion.
Marc – Massachusetts, studied at Christendom College (clerical brother candidate)
Upon entering the novitiate of the Province of St. Joseph, I am excited to “give witness to the hope which is within me.” I graduated from Christendom College in 2011 and for the past two years have taught high school theology and history at Lowell Catholic High School in Lowell, Massachusetts as a member of the Providence Alliance of Catholic Teachers, a graduate program at Providence College. Teaching has especially allowed me to give voice to the faith which I have possessed since my childhood, thanks to my family and my home parish in West Springfield, MA. After graduating from Christendom, I experienced desire to let all of the things which I had learned to love and relish throughout my upbringing and education bear fruit. The saying beloved by Dominicans has helped to form my own spirituality: “to contemplate and to share with others the fruits of contemplation.” Over the past years I have come to understand that this Dominican path is likely the one God will use to sanctify me and those whom he places in my life.
Throughout the various stages of my life, I have had a strong sense that God means for me to become a priest. Corresponding with my service for the Dominican nuns and my deeper awakening to faith during junior high, I began to be in close contact with Dominican priests who either served as chaplains or guest preachers at the Monastery of the Mother of God. Fr. Jacob Restrick, OP taught me how to serve a monastic-oriented Liturgy, impressed me by his vivacious homilies and prayerfulness at Mass, and served as my confessor in junior high and the beginning of high school. He first gave me my love for being a “brother” to the nuns. I always want to serve them in some capacity and be part of their family. Even more significantly, I recall receiving a burning desire from this time onward to be a close disciple of the Lord, one of his apostles, and to “proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.” Having come to know Jesus through personal and communal prayer, I wanted to be able to go out and teach others about the great and loving God I had encountered. During high school I discovered intense happiness in telling others about Jesus through teaching CCD at my parish. This work made me happy and to this day, teaching is a privileged and especially joyful way for me to bring God with others. I left for college to further my education in theology and I aspired to become a Dominican priest when the time was right, meanwhile hoping to prepare myself intellectually, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.
Remembering all I learned from my family, friends, and teachers from West Springfield until my time at Christendom College and as a member of the PACT program, I thank God for my growth as a Christian man who understands his vocation more to be of service to the Church. I also have come to appreciate how very much I need my friends and family. They are the ones through whom I encounter God each day. They keep me sane and healthy and balanced. With them, I will continue to learn what it is to be a man, a Christian, and a child of God. Over these past two years I have learned even more how much I enjoy working for the Church. After numerous years of growth, I still believe Dominican life would be a great fit for me. I know this is true because I have flourished while living in Christian communities, I draw strength and inspiration from participating in the rhythm of the Liturgy with my friends and priests, I love being engaged in study and the teaching apostolate and missionary work, and I remain desirous of imitating St. Dominic as a loving disciple and priest of Jesus Christ. For unmerited blessings in abundance over the past years, I can only think to respond: “How shall I repay the Lord for His goodness to me? The cup of salvation I will raise; I will call on the Lord’s name!”
Taylor – Pennsylvania, studied at St. John’s College in Annapolis (clerical brother candidate)
I was born in Harrisburg, PA in 1988, and was brought up in Columbia, MD. I was “unchurched” for most of my early years, but became involved in a United Methodist summer camp program as a teenager. Like many young Christians, I found the writings of C.S.Lewis, which in my case led to an interest in some of the writings of the early Church Fathers and some of the lives of the Saints. Over several formative years I came closer to what seemed to me like a Catholic position.
I attended St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD. I decided to be received into the Church in my senior year, and was confirmed at the 2010 Easter Vigil at St. John Neumann Church. About a year after graduation, I discerned a possible call to the religious life by visiting, among other communities, the Priory of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. I was blown away by the way of life, which seemed to combine fervent devotion to Christ with a communal life of study so seamlessly. I moved to DC to mature as a Catholic for a few years while I applied to the Province, and to get to know the brothers. I couldn’t be happier that God has given me the chance to discern with this community this coming year in Cincinnati.
Micah – Ohio, studied at University of Dallas (clerical brother candidate)
The second of seven children in a devoutly Catholic, homeschooling family, I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. My exposure to and interaction with the Order of Preachers began at an early age; my family’s parish is St. Gertrude’s in Madeira, Ohio, which is also where I’ll spend the first year of the novitiate. Since our schedule as a homeschooling family allowed it, we went to Mass often throughout the week, and I would serve Mass as much as possible, often getting very competitive about it with my friends. My parents raised my siblings and me to know that God had a specific plan for each of us and that that plan quite possibly could involve the religious life. This attitude was enhanced by my time spent as an altar server. One particular memory stands out of a particular friar’s customary blessing to altar servers after Mass: “May God bless you both, and may you both become priests.”
While I acknowledged that, yes, the priesthood was certainly a wonderful thing, I didn’t give it much serious thought until I was a sophomore at the University of Dallas. While studying abroad with the University’s Rome program, I felt a great surge of enthusiasm—I was to become a priest! I wrote as much to my father and then promptly began to date someone. So much for surges of vocational enthusiasm.
It was not until I had experienced the rest of college, a very serious relationship, working in the oil fields in North Dakota, and then landing a job as a literature and composition teacher at The Atonement Academy in San Antonio, TX, that I began to revisit the thought of a priestly vocation. After much prayer and spiritual direction, I decided to go on a vocations retreat at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. in February 2013. It was during that weekend that I experienced another surge of enthusiasm for the priestly vocation, but this time it was profound. In hearing the priests speak about Dominican life and spending time with the friars at the House, I was overcome with a radical desire for the Dominican life. The fact that the Dominicans are the Order of Preachers is especially meaningful to me; not only must Dominicans know the faith at a very profound level, but they must be able to then articulate that understanding to other souls in order to lead the world to God. The thought that it may be God’s will for me to share in that work is exhilarating. I look forward to this first year of the novitiate with great excitement.
Chase – Florida, studied at Franciscan University in Steubenville (clerical brother candidate)
I was born and raised in a town called Gulf Breeze, Florida. My three older siblings and myself shared a very simple faith as children within our predominantly protestant family. However, it wasn’t until my high school years that I became active in a local Parish and entered deeply into my relationship with the Lord. Hardship took my family by surprise with the death of several close family members, but nothing prevented God’s grace from penetrating my heart and calling me closer to His. It was Easter just after my eighteenth birthday when I chose to receive Baptism and entered fully into the Catholic Church.
Discernment for the priesthood and religious life emerged shortly afterward, but in slow, progressive phases as I ventured through my college years. It wasn’t until after my graduation from Franciscan University of Steubenville and after experiencing work as a High school youth minister that I truly took action in seeking a religious vocation. I chose to respond to the Lord and the Blessed Mother’s priestly call for me.
Much formation would take place in the years leading up to the present regarding my desire for unity with the Lord in His Priesthood. I sought a community where my knowledge of God would be deepened in study, where I could be immersed in prayer, and preaching would be my work. All of these needs have led me to the Order of Preachers, where I find them embodied in a way uniquely becoming of my own aspirations to serve Mother Church
Shane – Ohio, studied at Virginia Tech (clerical brother candidate)
I was born in Columbus, Ohio and raised 30 minutes south east of the city on 2-1/2 acres surrounded by cornfields and forests. As the youngest, I would often adventure off with my 2 older brothers, while my sister, the oldest, did more civilized things. My parents taught elementary in the public school system, and chose to send us to public schools and CCD. As a family, we attended Mass weekly, and our mother would pray with us before we went to sleep. Our parents loved us, and gave themselves to us financially and emotionally, always emphasizing academics, athletics, work ethic and faith.
Though I was raised Catholic from my youth, it wasn’t until my later years of high school that I discovered the Catechism. Learning the teachings of the Catholic Church and her intelligence moved me to live the Faith more fully. The summer of 2004 I volunteered as a counselor at the Diocese of Columbus’s Catholic Youth Summer Camp. During confession on the last night of camp, I could hear God calling me to be His priest. This happened two weeks before the start of my freshman year at Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture + Design; I went to school, delaying my discernment.
After completing my Bachelor and Master of Architecture at Virginia Tech, I designed churches for two years at an architecture firm in Arlington, Virginia. While working for a few years, I was also in a relationship with a fantastic woman. When we began to consider marriage, we could see God was leading me to a different vocation. Though it took several years and countless reasons, I’m pursuing the call thanks to the writing of Dante and St. Augustine, the preaching of Venerable Bishop Fulton Sheen and Fr. Robert Barron, and the generosity and love of my brother Joseph and Fr. Michael Kelly, priest for the Arlington Diocese.
I discovered the Dominicans during Tenebrae of 2012, and I considered the life after meeting with the vocation directors of Arlington and Columbus. Living near the Dominican House of Studies has afforded me the chance to pray, eat and converse with the brothers. I find the balance of contemplative and apostolic life, the charism of study, the reverence of the liturgy and the fraternal community all things that could lead to a happy life fulfilled by giving people knowledge of salvation.
Ryan – Pennsylvania, studied at Boston College (cooperator brother candidate)
I was born in 1983 and raised in York County, PA. I was brought up with a strong Lutheran faith, but began to explore other Christian communities in high school, and the writings of St. Augustine, the power of the Mass, and the witness of friends drew me to the Catholic Church. I was received and confirmed on Pentecost 2006 at Sacred Heart Church in Newton, MA after four years at Boston College.
I began to intermittently discern signs of a religious vocation when I spent time in front of the Eucharist at Mass and in adoration, and was encouraged in my vocation by the priests of the Archdiocese of Boston and the Jesuit Fathers of Boston College. Seeking a tradition with strong intellectual life, strong community, and a strong sense of the Great Commission, I eventually found the Dominicans of the Province of St. Joseph. The communal celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours brings all those together for me, with its deep interior reflection, solidarity of the community, and prayer for the broader Church and world. I greatly enjoyed my years working among the Web Operations community in the intellectual fervor of Boston, but after completing my studies at Thomas Edison State College I joyfully look forward to Our Lady’s continued leadership of my discernment as a novice of the Order of Preachers.
Timothy – Massachusetts, studied at Providence College (clerical brother candidate)
I was born and raised in the seaside city of New Bedford, MA. Our home was very much a school of faith for my younger sister Christina and me. True to his name, the rock of our family’s faith was my father, Peter, who with my mother Judy showed us the peace and simple joy that comes with living for God and others. Growing up I collected prayer cards with as much enthusiasm as I did baseball cards. I attended Catholic schools, was active in my home parish, and in campus ministry at my high school.
I first met the Dominicans as an undergraduate at Providence College, where I majored in English and minored in Political Science. At Providence I fell in love with the intellectual life, which spurred me on to a Masters degree at the University of Virginia in English Literature. I am now finishing a doctorate at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, specializing in Shakespeare and English Renaissance drama.
I had thought about diocesan priesthood in high school, but presumed my attraction to the academic profession, as well as to the idea of married life and raising a family, meant that was the direction in which my life was heading. I had very meaningful dating relationships and rewarding professional experiences, especially teaching, but still felt a longing for something else, something more.
In recent years God blessed me with the opportunity to discern again, this time with deeper faith and rigor. The more I inclined myself to listen, the more clearly I heard His voice. Upon returning from a visit to the Dominican House of Studies, I could only describe the experience to my family and close friends by saying, “the air they breathe feels right in my lungs.” I have a deep affinity for the Dominican devotions to prayer, study, preaching, and teaching, and I enter the novitiate eager to see what doors the Lord is calling my Brothers and me to walk through.
Kaisar – Ontario (Canada), studied at St. Claire College in Windsor (clerical brother candidate)
I was born in Baghdad, Iraq to a Chaldean Catholic family. During my adolescence and early teens, my faith meant a great deal to me. We left Iraq in 1991 after the first Gulf War when I was 14 years old. A year later, we arrived in Canada after stopping in Jordan and Spain. Gradually, my faith began to fade away, and by my late teens I stopped practicing. I went on to study Mechanical Engineering Technology at St. Clair College, hoping to find a job, marry a girl some day, and live just like everyone else. However, I could not find a job after my graduation, which forced me to look for a different field and also question my entire direction in life.
At the age of 27, I went back to school and enrolled in English Language and Literature at the University of Windsor. During the next two years, I experienced a conversion that made me aware of God’s presence around me. I felt His intense and burning love surrounding me wherever I went, calling me for a deeper walk with Him. I responded to God’s love by immersing myself in the Scriptures and making practical changes in my life to mirror the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. As I sat praying and reading the Word of God, I felt the deeper walk that God is calling me for meant that I forsake marriage for a higher calling. The prospect of becoming a religious priest became very real to me.
Of course, by the time I graduated from my program and went on to finish Teacher’s College in 2009, I had to pay off my school debts. I spent the past few years paying off my school debt, and now I am ready to pursue my vocation. I chose the Order of Preachers because I am attracted to a life dedicated to teaching and preaching in a world that is full of erroneous ideas and harmful philosophies. Most importantly, I am attracted to preaching and teaching the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.