Our Lady of Lourdes High School, Poughkeepsie, NY
My whole life was a series of events that drew me towards The Marist Brothers. First in high school when one of the Brothers approached me about vocations when I was too terrified to even ask about it. The Contact Program in college. My first part-time teaching job when The Marist Brothers opened a House of Studies in Newark. This sequence of events seemed more than coincidence. It was like God was taking a sledgehammer and banging me over the head, showing me, This is what you’re supposed to be doing.
The Marist Brothers are different because it was about working with people. It’s more apostolate. It’s getting your hands dirty and doing work that is needed. And living in a community of people who are in the same boat as you, there’s a support system, so you can do the work that is needed. It encourages you to come home from work, share what’s going on, process it and discern what is it that God wants me to be doing?
The idea for an Outward Bound type retreat program started when I trained volunteers for the City Volunteer Corp. I was very impressed with the adventure education program — the games were the most effective part of training and in pulling a team together and it works for our retreats.
Frequently during the retreats you see the light bulbs going on in kids heads. You can see a group who knew each other marginally — maybe they started out knowing each other’s names —come together with a level of trust and openness. At the end of the day, the kids are really close. They learn to let walls down and let other people in. That’s a very satisfying experience. And doing the retreat program was a culmination of so many experiences. I really felt like my life meant sense.