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Bro. Jonah (Mary) | by Province of Saint Joseph
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Bro. Jonah (Mary)

Micah - Ohio, studied at University of Dallas (clerical brother candidate)


The second of seven children in a devoutly Catholic, homeschooling family, I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. My exposure to and interaction with the Order of Preachers began at an early age; my family’s parish is St. Gertrude’s in Madeira, Ohio, which is also where I’ll spend the first year of the novitiate. Since our schedule as a homeschooling family allowed it, we went to Mass often throughout the week, and I would serve Mass as much as possible, often getting very competitive about it with my friends. My parents raised my siblings and me to know that God had a specific plan for each of us and that that plan quite possibly could involve the religious life. This attitude was enhanced by my time spent as an altar server. One particular memory stands out of a particular friar's customary blessing to altar servers after Mass: “May God bless you both, and may you both become priests.”


While I acknowledged that, yes, the priesthood was certainly a wonderful thing, I didn’t give it much serious thought until I was a sophomore at the University of Dallas. While studying abroad with the University’s Rome program, I felt a great surge of enthusiasm—I was to become a priest! I wrote as much to my father and then promptly began to date someone. So much for surges of vocational enthusiasm.


It was not until I had experienced the rest of college, a very serious relationship, working in the oil fields in North Dakota, and then landing a job as a literature and composition teacher at The Atonement Academy in San Antonio, TX, that I began to revisit the thought of a priestly vocation. After much prayer and spiritual direction, I decided to go on a vocations retreat at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. in February 2013. It was during that weekend that I experienced another surge of enthusiasm for the priestly vocation, but this time it was profound. In hearing the priests speak about Dominican life and spending time with the friars at the House, I was overcome with a radical desire for the Dominican life. The fact that the Dominicans are the Order of Preachers is especially meaningful to me; not only must Dominicans know the faith at a very profound level, but they must be able to then articulate that understanding to other souls in order to lead the world to God. The thought that it may be God’s will for me to share in that work is exhilarating. I look forward to this first year of the novitiate with great excitement.

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Taken on August 8, 2013