Thursday, May 15, 2008

Father's Discernment Story

Since is seems everyone else is writing these things, I've got to weigh in too. :(

You may be wondering how a boy from the Northeast ends up running a Monastery in Minnessota. I can tell you, it wasn't a straight shot.

I was born and raised outside of Boston, and luckily my family attended a nice little parish there by the name of St. Mary's. Vatican II happened during my formative years, but the pastor there thought this whole idea would blow over, so he did rush any changes through. As I began my journeys through the Church in my discernment path, I was very thankful for the leadership Fr. Brookhaven gave in those tumultuous years after the Council.)

College in New England just wasn't going to do it for me, so I headed south to find warmth and new opportunities. That's right, Florida, baby! I found a small liberal arts college near the beach and packed my bags and headed down there with all the snow birds.

It turns out that Fr. Brookhaven was a better influence than I thought and I started to feel a call to seminary and to the priesthood. Seeing as how Florida was still mostly a mission territory, I joined up with one of the dioceses down there and was sent to seminary in the area. It was a great time of prayer, of learning about the faith, although the solid faith that I was taught as a youngster was starting to be eroded by craziness in the seminary. A small band of us were able to hold together and help each other through the seminary.

The greatest day of my life, tho, was the day I was ordained and was able to celebrate my First Mass. Wow, to be able bring Our Lord to the altar and give Him to His people, unbelievable!! Saying Mass is still the highlight of my day, everyday.

Well, sadly, things went downhill shortly thereafter. My first pastor was a real tyrant and we just did not get along. A new bishop came in and starting attacking us 'conservative' priests. I really just wanted to serve Our Lord, I didn't hardly even know what 'conservative' vs. 'liberal' really meant.

I had some real struggles at that point, and began questioning my faith in a new way, in a way that I had never had before. I had to get out of that place, evil things were happening.

Throughout the 80's, I slowly made my way up the mid-west, I joined a few dioceses while still officially connected with Florida. I felt truly like a Roaming Catholic Priest, helping out where I could and stopping at monasteries in and around the deep south and midwest.

By the 90's, I got associated with a Benedictan community, and even though it was a great place, it just didn't feel like home. I had had a few contacts from the home diocese, but just couldn't bring myself to go back there. Every message I got in prayer was that it was wrong, even though I had the promise of obedience. The new bishop was much nicer than the tyrant, as I came to know him over my years of diaspora.

By the turn of the century, I got to know Mother Frangelico over a period of years and we started to discuss the idea of forming a community that could help those who were spinning wheels as we were. After looking around for a number of years, we finally found the place that we now call home. It feels good to have a purpose again, to have a family again. So often duing those years, I felt like an orphaned father.

I really do love working with Sister Caprice and Brother Brit, as they have that sincere desire to follow Jesus (even if that gets misplaced at times!) I see in them alot of similarities to what I went through in my many wanderings. I am glad to offer them the assistance that I can, while also holding down a few other odd jobs here and there in the Church. I am sure they will come to light eventually.

Well, that's the highlights of my journey of discernment. I hope you enjoyed, and now you understand why I snapped so hard at Sister the other day. It brought up so many demons from my past, and I've brought them to confession already and ask for Sister's forgiveness and understanding as well.

God Bless!


Sister Caprice said...


I totally forgive you! Just...uh...ignore my last comment to Brother Brit, and don't have too much Scotch on my account!

And I might come talk to you this week...about...some stuff. I'm kinda scared, though.

Father said...

Dear Sister, do not be afraid. I promise, I will not yell or scream, you can be open and honest with me. I may be out some of this weekend and all of next, but stop me in the dining room on Monday and we can set up a time to meet.