Fostering vocations at home
A Helper and a Marian share on a topic of mutual interest
My son, Joseph -- who is now Fr. Joe Roesch, MIC -- first began thinking about the priesthood when he was in seventh grade. At that time, he was serving as an altar boy in our parish, following the example of his father and uncles.
He then explored a religious congregation one summer by accepting an invitation to a camp given to all the boys in his class. But, when he returned after a week's stay, he told us that particular congregation wasn't right for him.
Through his years of growing up, Joseph got to know many priests and religious. He mentioned that going to Catholic grammar school and high school where there were religious sisters, brothers, and priests opened him up to some aspects of the religious life. In addition, we would invite priests to our home for dinner -- especially those who were far from their homes, having come to our parish to cover for vacationing priests.
My husband and I tried to give our children direction in life through our example of a simple lifestyle, and also teaching them what my mother had taught me. She said that it is best to end every prayer of petition to God with the words, "if it is Your holy will." I explained to my children that God has a plan for each person He creates. Our job, then, is to find out what His plan is for us.
When the children were small, I would often take them to church to pray to dear Jesus living in His home in the tabernacle. The big event of the visit was for each one to light a candle. How they loved to do this. At home, when we could, we prayed the family rosary together, following the exhortation of the "Rosary Priest" Fr. Patrick Peyton, "The family that prays together stays together."
Then, God, in His great mercy, blessed us with Fr. Joe's vocation as a Marian priest.
Mrs. Kathleen R. Roesch, lives with her husband, William, on Staten Island, NY. Both of them pray daily for their son, Fr. Joe, to be a holy Marian priest.
My family has influenced my path to the priesthood and religious life in ways beyond counting. In particular, my dad, my mom, and my grandmother were instrumental in cultivating the seed of my vocation.
As far back as I can recall, my grandmother was always affectionately called "Sister Gramma" by her grandchildren. After my grandfather died, she founded a small community of sisters called the Servants of Mary. Her white veil, long white robe with its beautiful blue scapular, and sandals are a wonderful witness at all family gatherings.
Sister Gramma was always deeply devoted the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Her life of faith provided the roots for my deep love of the Eucharist and the Blessed Mother, as well as my vocation to the Marian way of life.
But I am convinced that her deepest effect on me came through her prayers. As I struggled in my twenties to find my vocation, she persevered in praying for me.
My dad's prayerful advice was also important in fostering my vocation. "Ask God to 'open the doors He wants opened and to close the doors He wants closed,' " he told me at several points. Throughout my life, as I have sought God's will, I have never forgotten this simple yet powerful prayer.
Last but by no means least is the example of my mom. In raising a family of seven children, she has given me a clear model of what it means to be a servant. She has always looked to the needs of others before her own. The acceptance of God's call to the priesthood and religious life is never easy considering the sacrifice it entails, but I have been prepared for it by my mom's heart of service.
So, to my mom, dad, and Sr. Gramma, thank you. And most of all, thanks be to God who opened the doors.
Br. Tim Flynn, MIC, pursues the Marian way of life as a seminarian at the Marian Scholasticate in Washington, D.C. His goal is to serve as a Marian priest.
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