Marist Brothers Robert Diittus and Ryan Richter professed their first vows during a ceremony held July 23 at the Marist Brothers Center in Esopus, NY. They professed the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, committing themselves for one year according to the Constitutions of the Little Brothers of Mary.
“Brothers, on the day you entered the Novitiate, you received the habit of the Little Brothers of Mary, given to our first Brothers by our founder St. Marcellin. Today, you will receive cords with three knots. A symbol of your commitment to follow Christ — poor, chaste, and obedient.” Brother Daniel O’Riordan, Provincial of the Marist Brothers Province of the United States, announced as he accepted Robert and Ryan’s vows.
Brother Robert grew up in Queens, NY. He graduated from Marist-founded Archbishop Molloy High School before attending Saint Michael’s University, where he earned a BA in Psychology in 2019. During his time at Molloy he was able to learn a lot about the Marist Brothers and their mission, especially at retreat programs held in Esopus. Br. Rob has said “The work that the Brothers are doing is work that I find myself called to do. The Brothers have a great sense of community, not only amongst themselves, but in the larger communities they are a part of.”
Brother Ryan grew up in Burkburnett, TX. His first connection to the Marist Brothers was through Br. Rob Clark, campus minister at the University of Texas in Austin where he graduated from in 2019 with his BBA in Marketing. During his senior year, Br. Rob took a group of men, including Ryan, on a vocation pilgrimage to New York, where they spent time with a variety of religious orders. Br. Ryan recalls “In the Marist communities and ministries we visited I felt immediately at home. The sense of community, mission, and passion these Brothers held was inspiring. I fell in love and I had to try it out.”
Brothers Robert and Ryan entered the Marist Brothers Postulancy in September 2020 and lived in community with Brothers in the Bronx, NY. They became Novices to the Marist Brothers on September 12, 2021 and lived at the Marist Brothers Novitiate on the campus of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY with the late Brother Sean Sammon serving as the Master of Novices. In the fall of 2022, they moved to the Saint Barnabas Community in the Bronx, NY, where Br. Don Bisson served as Master of Novices.
This fall, Br. Robert Dittus will move to Miami, FL and teach religion at Christopher Columbus High School, and Br. Ryan Richter will move to Brownsville, TX and teach religion at Saint Joseph Academy. During the next year they will continue to discern their calls to a lifetime commitment as Marist Brothers.