BROTHER JOE RUIZ, O.S.A
Brother Joe Ruiz, O.S.A will come right out and tell you: “Religious life is
not easy, and the same can be said for any vocation: married, single.” But
if he sees that faithfulness exacts a cost, he is equally quick to say, “I am
convinced it’s worth living in the 21st century. Our world needs healing
and positive role models that reflect Christ’s love without discrimination.”
Brother Joe hails from a Mexican American family of eight in Texas,
where he learned the traditional folk dances of Mexico he now teaches to
kids in Chicago. That’s a side ministry, though, to his main gig as campus
minister to students at St. Rita of Cascia High School in Chicago. At the
close of each busy day filled with young people, he heads home for meals
and common prayers with the Augustinian friars—his brothers.
What drew you
to religious life?
Seeing a group of dedicated, faith-filled, and hopeful men living together
in an ancient but modern way of life.
How did your family and
friends respond to you
becoming a brother?
My family and most of my friends do
not fully understand my vocation to
religious life, and I do not expect them
to. I am OK with that. My vocation is a
mystery, and it keeps them intrigued.
of your current ministry?
Being invited by theology teachers
to speak to students about Saint
Augustine’s Confessions and about my
own vocation as a brother.
Prayer form you like best?
Reflecting on daily sacred scripture
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy hiking. I also enjoy hanging out
with my Augustinian brothers as well
as with friends from other religious
communities. They give me a sense of
connection and belonging.
Best part of living
Doing and sharing ministry, whether
it’s shoveling the Chicago snow
together or contributing to one
another’s ministries in Augustinian
schools or parishes.
Any words of wisdom
for those considering
Pay attention to the events and people
that enter your life. God speaks to
us through those means; this is how I
came to respond to God’s call in my life.