Two men profess simple vows as Dominican brothers
By Daniel Petty
Photo by Daniel Petty
Two Dominican novices professed simple vows last month at a northwest Denver church, the culmination of a yearlong discernment that included studying the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in addition to the history and traditions of the Dominican order while learning how to live a life of prayer.
Brother Andrew Anderson, a native of Yuma, Ariz., and Brother Martin Taylor, a native of Pittsville, Wis., professed vows Aug. 12 at St. Dominic Church, which is home for the novitiate for the Dominicans of the Province of St. Albert the Great in Chicago.
“It really started when I went to Aquinas College (in Grand Rapids, Mich.),” said Anderson, 25, a 2010 graduate with a major in human geography. “I was introduced into the four pillars of Dominican life—of prayer, community and ministry—our (primary) ministry being preaching. I felt myself yearning for more—this calling for the priesthood, this calling to serve.”
Brother Taylor, 28, attended the University of Florida, serving as an Air Force ROTC student while majoring in Spanish and communications. He went on to serve in the Air Force for nearly five years while studying for and earning a master’s in theology. Brother Taylor made profession as a cooperator brother, meaning he will not ultimately be ordained to holy orders.
“The more I learned about them (the Dominicans), the more I prayed about it, thought about, and (reflected that) my time in the military was coming to an end,” Brother Taylor said. “I was already at a natural break in my life when I had to decide. I had been discerning for about six years already at that point. It was just the right opportunity. It fell into place like a big puzzle.”
The Dominican brothers now move to St. Louis to continue graduate work at the Aquinas Institute of Theology, to continue their studies and formation for six years. As part of that, they take a pastoral year to apply what they’ve learned to ministry.
“My prayer for you (novices) is that you will be ever be more convinced of the beauty of that treasure in heaven,” Dominican Father Charles E. Bouchard of St. Dominic Priory in St. Louis told the religious brothers during the Mass. “But even more importantly, that your lives will be a reminder to others of just how beautiful that treasure is—and that we don’t have to wait that long to discover it.”
For those considering the priesthood and religious life, discernment is more than just prayer—it includes taking action, too.
“Pray, go to Mass,” Brother Taylor recommended. “Try to be the holiest person you can be. If we know our path is in religious life, just learn more about it. Just because you learn about the religious life doesn’t mean you have to become one. Always be open-minded.
“The archdiocese has been fantastic,” he said. “There’s a great Catholic community here, and (Brother) Drew and I are extremely grateful for everything.”
Brother Anderson agreed.
“Don’t just sit there and think: ‘What If? What If? What If?” he said. “Just do it and trust in God.”