without women, and with other
guys who weren’t like me at all?
But on that retreat, I saw that these
were simply men of all types strug-
gling to be the best human beings
they could be.
I realized then—and I’ve been
reminded throughout my time with
the Carmelites—that we gain our
salvation by being human, not by
being angels and having our heads
in the clouds. We grow in faith by
walking on rough ground and being
faithful to the way of Jesus.
The vocation director also told
me during the Carmelite retreat that
just because we walked through
the door, we didn’t have to stay for
life. My first years with the Carmelites—just like with any religious
community—-were a time to pray
and reflect on whether this was the
Learn more about #110 at VocationNetwork.org
life for me. Final vows came later.
I narrowed down my choice to two
communities, eventually settling
on the Carmelites because they are
a Marian order with 800 years of
My formation (or preparation)
years were extremely active and
fulfilling. I studied for a master of
divinity degree, worked with street
people and in a parish, and learned
how to live and pray with a community. I’ve now belonged to the
Carmelites for many years and I
can say with confidence that God is
wonderful. Each day in my life as a
Carmelite brother is an opportunity
to love and serve God and others. =
A version of this article originally
appeared in VISION 2003.