Before joining the Jesuits, I practiced optometry for 10 years. Since I was a child, my dream was to be a doctor. I believe this desire originated after visiting my family physician. I was attracted to the way my doctor showed a very caring attitude toward me and other patients, and I left that office with a great conviction that I wanted to do the same.
After finishing high school, I followed my dream by going to Howard University in Washington, D.C., for a summer and taking prep courses to enter a pre-medicine program at Kent State University. It did not take long to realize medical school was not the place for me. I did not like physicians’ hours and couldn’t stomach the thought of surgery. I was faced with the dilemma that my dreams might not be what God intended.
During this time, I visited my local eye doctor, who informed me that there were two providers for eye care: optometrists (primary eye care) and ophthalmologists (eye surgeons). After four years of optometry school, optometrists serve the public by diagnosing and treating eye conditions. I felt God directing my path toward my dream.
I began discerning a religious vocation, recognizing my joys and satisfactions as I went through my daily activities.
A Franciscan sister, Suzanne Susany, OSF, pointed me toward the Jesuits. After reading about their apostolates — especially the Cristo Rey schools — I was intrigued and met with the vocation director, Fr. Dan Reim, SJ. In 2000,
I entered the novitiate and decided to become a brother a few years after joining.
Just as there are two separate eye care professions (optometrists and ophthalmologists), there are two separate Jesuit vocations (priests and brothers). When I was an optometrist, people would say, “Oh, so you didn’t go all the way to be an ophthalmologist.” I would explain that those are two different paths, like Jesuit priests and brothers: they are two different tracks, not one that leads to another. Just like optometry, a Jesuit brother’s vocation has value in its own right.
I have had many joys and opportunities since joining the Jesuits 17 years ago. I have taught mathematics at two Jesuit high schools, ministered to inmates at prisons with an RCIA program, served as an optometrist at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, and ministered to migrants with the Kino Border Initiative on the US-Mexican border. What God implanted in my dream as a child has opened many doors in how to bring Christ into the world. All I had to do was follow my dreams.