Originally published in the Lords Call: Practicing Faith in the Diocese of San Antonio
Students, parents, colleagues, and family members frequently ask me why I am discerning a vocation to religious life as a Brother in the Church.
At times, I even ask myself that question on difficult days. I wish there were a simple explanation I could give, but I cannot. I can say to this question that I am inspired by the founder of my order, Saint John Baptist de La Salle, and the Brothers I have encountered throughout my four years with the Institute. Without my attraction to the Lasallian charism, I would not have considered religious life.
I have always known that I had a calling to be a high school teacher. I never really considered religious life because I did not think I could teach high school as a priest or religious. That is until I met my college advisor, Brother Charles Hilken, FSC. He must have seen something within me because he kept (gently) pushing me to visit his community at Saint Mary’s College of California. However, I resisted his invitations, convinced I was not religious enough to be with his community. That is until I got sick in the summer of 2016, and Brother Charles extended another invitation to me. The book had recently inspired me, I am Malala, and I said yes to his invitation. At the time, I did not know the Brothers were specifically involved with education, and when I went over to their community, I was immediately struck by their passion and love towards not only knowledge but their students.
I immediately began to visit the Brothers monthly until I finally said yes to God’s calling and joined the Brothers as an aspirant at our school in San Francisco.
What keeps me going as a Postulant with the Brothers in El Paso is Saint John Baptist de La Salle’s Meditations. One quote that perfectly encapsulates our charism and why I continue to pursue religious life vigorously is from the Meditations for the Time of Retreat when he says that “to be entrusted with the teaching of the young is a great gift and grace of God.”
Being amongst the group of men devoted to bringing about the Kingdom of God through the mission of education helps me on the most challenging days of teaching and reminds me of the wonderful God that has called me. I thank God every day that I said yes and pray I will continue to do so.
Brother Andrew is a Postulant with the De La Salle Christian Brothers and currently teaches at Cathedral High School in El Paso. Founded in 1680, the De La Salle Christian Brothers (www.brothersvocation.org) are a religious order of Brothers dedicated to the human and Christian education of the young, especially the poor. Today, the Brothers and their Lay Partners carry out their Gospel mission in 79 countries around the world serving over 1 million young people.