Taking Time to Discover God’s Plan

Brandon Turk

Brandon Turk is living proof that you can go home again. An aspirant for two years at St. Joseph Discernment House while attending Holy Cross College, Brandon decided after his 2016 graduation to leave the community and work at a day shelter for the poor. But, he continued to discern his vocation. This fall, Brandon will return to St. Joseph Discernment House as an aspirant, and will petition to become a postulant. “In the past year, I’ve grown a lot in balancing my emotional and intellectual capacities. I’ve been able to operate more from the heart level, and relate to people in their suffering.”

While still an undergraduate, Brandon was drawn to the Brothers of Holy Cross’ global ministry. One summer, he took the opportunity to live in Bangladesh and teach at two Holy Cross schools. His dedication to help others continued after graduation, when he decided to live at the St. Peter Claver Catholic Worker community while tending the underserved at Our Lady of the Road, the community’s day shelter for men, women and children. The community’s proximity to St. Joseph Discernment House meant that Brandon could maintain contact with the brothers there. In fact, he helped to facilitate opportunities for young men in formation at St. Joseph to help at the soup kitchen during Lent. “My desire to enter into religious life is a fundamental part of my identity,” he says of the year spent at Our Lady of the Road. “Sharing that with others over the past year brought that identity more to life.”

Brandon’s desire to explore his vocation outside the community isn’t unusual, according to Bro. Chris Torrijas, CSC, director of St. Joseph Discernment House. While every aspirant is different, Bro. Chris encourages young men to take the time to discover God’s plan for them. “I feel blessed when young people want to discover what’s out there. Some are very sure of what they want. For others, having that real-world perspective helps them to understand where God is calling them. Not everyone is cut out to discern religious life in college.”

Brandon Turk (middle) on a 2016 trip to India with students and professors from Holy Cross College.

As a Brother of Holy Cross, Brandon hopes to someday teach English abroad, or possibly work in counseling as a Campus Minister. When the young man returns to St. Joseph Discernment House this fall, Bro. Chris will look to him as a sounding board for younger men who are traveling on their own spiritual journey. “He is a very generous person with a very giving heart. People tend to want to talk to him. Brandon is a little older now, and has more experiences to share. As he continues to discern his own vocation, he’ll provide a perspective that other young men don’t have at this point.”