Bronx, New York
What degrees do you hold?
Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies and Sociology, Iona College
How long have you been a Catholic? What brought you to the church?
I was raised in a non-denominational church for the first 20 years of my life. In 2015 I entered the Catholic Church. That had a lot to do with my exposure to religious education and my contact with Catholics religious.
What were you doing before you entered this formation program?
I did a year of service after college. I lived in community with brothers and laypeople at this property in New York. I worked in their volunteer program with youth ministry, manual labor ministry . . . and that’s really where I started my discernment.
What made you begin to consider a religious vocation?
I think it started when I met a Brother for first time in high school. They were super interesting people with this very different perspective.
What made you choose to discern the Marist Brothers?
Contact with them was a factor. But the community aspect was certainly big for me: Seeing way they live together, minister together, and pray together. I feel I could do almost anything.
What is the most difficult part about adjusting to religious life?
In the community I was living in before, it was a diverse community. There were women and laypeople. Now, it’s all brothers, and that is definitely different. But it has been a good adjustment.
What is the most rewarding part of the life?
I think one of the most rewarding parts has been continually learning about myself. You learn a lot about yourself based on the people you’re around.
Who is your spiritual role model? Why?
I have a pretty big friend in Hildegard of Bingen, even though she hasn’t been alive for about 500 years. She wanted to go and create a place for only women where they could go live and serve God, which was unheard of at the time. But she said, “I am a humble servant of God--let me go and serve him.”
What would you tell someone considering a religious vocation who is unsure what steps to take?
Really ask: “Is it God’s voice I’m hearing?” Sometimes God’s desire is our desire, and if the exploration of vowed life is the way you want to serve God, it’s a good thing. But if it’s through a marriage vow, that’s a good thing, too. Serving does not constitute a separate commitment. You can commit to serve God in many ways.
If you met the Pope today and could ask him one question, what would it be?
I’d as him: What is your favorite food? I have found that cooking and eating together is such a great way to bond as a community, so I think that’s part of why I’d ask.
If you met Jesus today and could ask him one question, what would it be?
What is the world missing right now? What don’t we get? And what is the United States not getting culturally? I know that’s more than one question.
What is your favorite Bible verse?
I love James 2:14: “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?” I do things I believe in.
What is your favorite prayer?
The Lord’s Prayer. One of my favorite things about it is we are asking for something we often don’t realize; we ask for God’s kingdom to be here on earth. We are giving up a lot of power there, and we don’t realize it.
What do you do for fun?
I love shopping for food. It’s one of my quirky things. I also just hang out with a few people, and eat and talk and have conversations. I like to sing, too.
What would you like to say to the donors who made this grant possible?
Thank you very much. College loans in the United States are not easy to pay off, and it’s really difficult for groups with people wanting to enter the congregation to deal with that. I am very grateful to be given this gift.