Brother Gerald Doherty, F.M.S.
Guidance counselor, Mount St. Michael Academy
When I answered [the call to become a Marist Brother] I had little understanding of what religious life was about. Now it’s more than 50 years later, but I think presence is the core of our religious community…that God works through the present moment and therefore, the Brothers are providentially placed in positions where there’s a need.
Adolescents aren’t always going to talk about what’s going on inside, they’re very good at masking some things, especially the more serious issues. I’ve been in situations where youngsters have experienced substance abuse, or abuse going on in the home, depression and anxiety, and to be able to assist somebody in those situations can be very draining and taxing, but in the long run, very rewarding. Being in the right place at the right time…that providence provides the ability for a person to cross my path, or the path of the Brothers, and that’s where we attempt to respond.
I can’t tell you how many kids I’ve met in high school who’ve struggled with grades and passing and all that business — and because I was like them, it was very easy for me to not only identify with them, but honor them and ensure that they get the best help the Brothers can give. And I really believe I’m not the only Brother that has that type of experience.
I think that the disposition that you bring to ministry every day, which is kindness, optimism and joy in difficult situations, and people see that and they’re attracted to that. And when people come and say, ‘I need your assistance, I need your help,’ that’s a reward in and of itself. The more you give, the more you receive.