St. Joseph Discernment House: Growing in Spirit and Size

St. Joseph Discernment House at Holy Cross College in Notre Dame, IN, is a little livelier this year, with eight new students joining the 14 young men who returned in September to explore community life there. Bro. Chris Torrijas, CSC, director of formation, attributes the growth to word spreading that St. Joseph is a great place to live. “It’s wonderful. They really get to understand who the brothers are when they live with us.”

The students aren’t the only newcomers to St. Joseph this year. As they settled into their dormitory style rooms on the house’s lower floors, two new brothers, along with a new postulant and aspirant, have moved in upstairs.

Bro. Paul Kelly, CSC, enjoys mixing with the students at his new community. A born and bred Hoosier, he visited St. Joseph two years ago, and jumped at the opportunity to transfer there in August. Teaching the young men about community life, including cooking and cleaning, also provides opportunities for him to grow. “You learn something every day, and that energizes me,” said Bro. Paul, a Holy Cross brother for 57 years. “The chance to work with these young men, I think, is a wonderful thing. Together, we’re working for vocations in the United States.”

St. Joseph House Holy Cross College

Dustin Nelson

Not too long ago, Postulant Dustin Nelson was just starting out on his discernment journey. The 31-year-old moved into St. Joseph in August to take theology and philosophy courses at Holy Cross, planning to earn his teaching certification and enter the novitiate next year. He values the community experience, especially sharing his insights with the college students. “I think I’m right at the age where they find it easy to talk to me. They realize that I have something worth saying.”

Bro. Jony Gregory, CSC, also brings a youthful outlook to St. Joseph. Like Dustin, he is a 31-year-old student, and is enrolled in a master’s program in English Language and Literature. He arrived from his home in Bangladesh last August and gelled quickly with his new community. Bro. Jony, who entered the order as an aspirant at age 13, now tells the students, “I’m very happy as a brother.”

For Bro. Chris, the rich faith experiences of Bros. Paul and Jony, as well as Dustin, contribute an interesting perspective to St. Joseph and its college-age residents. “The young people can understand that the Brothers of Holy Cross are not just Notre Dame, Ind. We’re all over the world. We’re all living witnesses of the international aspect of the congregation.”