From the desk of Fr Stephen
As you know, I started thinking about the priesthood when I was relatively young. In those days, 50 years ago, there were seminaries for high school students. So, when I was going into high school, I left Maryland Heights and went 400 miles north to Wisconsin to a school called St. Joseph's. At the time, there were about 80-90 of us from different parts of the Midwest going to school there. Many of the boys came from Redemptorist parishes scattered throughout the region.
I enjoyed this time of my life. At the school, we had about 100 acres of land. There was a huge lake, we had soccer fields, baseball fields, a swimming pool, two gyms, an auditorium, tennis courts and a barn that housed pigs. It was perfect for an energetic boy like me! Two years after I entered, Fr. Maurice Nutt entered, I have known him since our school days together. I was from a diocesan parish and he was from the ‘Rock’, and we both found a home away from home. From there, we moved on to college, also in Wisconsin; Holy Redeemer, and then on to graduate school at CTU in Chicago. It took 13 years of schooling before I became a religious and a priest. I am grateful to God for my calling. I do not think I would have been satisfied doing anything else.
Perhaps you have heard a story like this before or maybe not. I tell this story today because I am not only grateful to God and my parents for helping me along in my vocation, but I am also grateful for all of you who may have helped me along the way. You may wonder how you could have helped me in those days when you didn't even know me. That is a good question and so let me explain.
Fifty years ago, when I went to school, the tuition at the school was $1000. In those days, that was a lot of money for my parents, but they were willing to make that sacrifice. Now we are talking not just about the education, but also room and board. I know it must have cost more than $1000 for me to go to school there. We had many other boys, and they paid the same amount, but it could not have been enough. Do you know how much food eighty high school boys can eat every day? We had a group of nuns that cooked for us, whose salary was not that high, but still, it must have been expensive.
In those days, there was an organization called the Co-Redemptorist Association. They helped to offset the expenses for the seminarians. We still have this group today. Appeals have been made on behalf of our students to people like you to help with this cost. You did and always will make a difference in the education of Redemptorist students. We could not do it without your help. We need your help; your donation will help men in far off lands. Our Province helps with the education of students in Nigeria and Brazil. On February 7th, the Rock will have a collection for our seminary students, and I ask you to be generous. I would not be a Redemptorist priest today without your help.