September 29, 2010 // Local
Luers grad takes perpetual vows with Marianists
ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Brother Bob Jones, a 1994 graduate of Bishop Luers High School, and graduate of the University of Dayton, will be making his perpetual vows as a brother with the Society of Mary (Marianists) on Oct. 2, in St. Louis, Mo.
After graduating from the University of Dayton with degrees in mathematics and secondary education, Brother Jones moved to Indianapolis where he taught math and helped with liturgies and retreats at Bishop Chatard High School followed by four years of teaching in the public schools at Zionsville High School in Zionsville.
Soon he became involved in the music ministry and small faith communities of St. Monica Parish in Indianapolis. Along with his family upbringing, it was “fertile ground,” Brother Jones says, for the seed of a religious vocation in his life. Brother Jones describes it as a “vibrant community, welcoming place that was alive with good pastors and lay involvement.”
While living in Indianapolis, he assumed the lifestyle of a recent college graduate: He owned a home and he dated. However, he just could not seem to shake the feeling of “wanting to do something different” as opposed to doing something “more” because he already had a lot going for him.
Brother Jones felt the notion of a religious vocation was always present as he was growing up, but he was always able to dismiss it as not being for him. He said though, “There came a point that I could not push it aside, that there might be something to this.” It was then that his discernment of a religious vocation began.
Brother Jones turned to the Internet in his quest for religious communities. Not sure where to begin, he looked at ones he had heard of such as the Franciscan Order from his days at Bishop Luers and the Marianists from his college experience.
The Marianists had a sense of community that resonated with Brother Jones. He saw that they were very committed to education but also had a mission thrust to their charism. In addition, the Marianists have a vision of Church that emphasizes collaboration with the laity. All of these were of great interest to Jones. He said the Marianists made him feel “like it was home.”
The Marianists also have a strong dedication to Mary. The Marian dimension of “looking at things through the eyes of Mary” has developed within Brother Jones throughout his discernment. Just as Mary formed Jesus, Marianists believe that she continues to form everyone into Christlike individuals. Brother Jones feels that he has grown in prayer all the while the charism is “intersecting with” his life. These affirmations, plus the affirmation from his fellow brothers in community tell Brother Jones he is in the right place.
When asked about religious life Brother Jones chuckled and said, “I never thought I would be doing this.” Rather he thought he would be married, father children and would have accumulated some degree of wealth by now. However, he sees the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in religious life as the best way to live his life for God, and he finds a sense of freedom in the vows. With poverty, for example, there is some giving up of material things, but he does not feel “encumbered” by material things as a vowed religious brother and can go where he is most needed. Chastity calls him to build healthy relationships in and outside of his community such that he vows to love everyone — not just one spouse — in a unique way.
These vows bring about different concerns in each phase of a man’s life. Men in their 20s and early 30s ask questions about the vow of chastity; for those in their late 30s and beyond the vow of poverty is more of a concern since society tends to define a successful life by the amount and value of material possessions. Therefore, each man must discern how God is calling him to live his life faithful to God.
Brother Jones defines discernment as a process of prayer and listening. While he originally thought God had a plan and he had to figure out the plan, he says with a sense of calm confidence that he believes that God wants us to be happy and that happiness comes from discerning one’s vocation.
Brother Jones says, “We have to be open to what God has in store for us and be open to the Spirit working within us. This vocation to Marianist religious life is the path for me to take.”
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