The Real OC: On Retreat with St. Joseph and Brother André

Author: Holy Cross Vocations US Province

In this monthly series, different men from Old College, Holy Cross’s minor seminary on the campus of Notre Dame, will report on life in the seminary. They also have their own blog that is worth checking out. Our first poster, Ryan Ayala, shares today about their annual fall retreat the OC men went on this past weekend.

Old College retreat at LaPorte retreat center

This past Friday September 19th, the men of Old College Undergraduate Seminary spent the weekend in La Porte, Indiana, for our fall retreat. I was excited to begin this weekend because we were going to learn about the spirituality and virtues of Br. André. Our first conference was led by Br. Ed who gave us a brief spirituality and history on how Br. André and St. Joseph influenced the Brothers of Holy Cross.

After that, we were all assigned 45 min time slots for nocturnal adoration. To me this was a very grace-filled experience. I never really had a devotion to St. Joseph or Br. André but in their honor, I asked them to take me by the hand and lead me closer to Christ. The time spent in front of the Blessed Sacrament really opened my heart to want to be like these men and seek their intercession. 

Old College retreat

The next morning Fr. Steve led two conferences on Br. André’s devotion to St. Joseph and Br. Andrés little virtues. I think I can speak on the behalf of the majority of men of Old College; we were deeply inspired to conform our lives to Br. André, so that we too can be fools for St. Joseph. He taught me to recognize doing the small things in my life with great love.

Later on, Fr. Andrew gave a conference on Br. André’s life and how he truly exemplified living out the Congregations motto, “Hail the Cross, Our Only Hope.” It was clear that Br. André’s life was burdened with many physical ailments. However, his courage to embrace that lonely cross showed how faithful he was on living out God’s vocation for him. Fr. Andrew also alluded that we should also persevere in our vocation and stay faithful to the Cross that has been given to us. We ended this conference by going to the Cross – Fr. Andrew led us through a Holy Cross Stations of the Cross considered to be one of Br. André’s deepest devotions. 

 On Sunday, we had Lauds and Mass. This weekend was very peaceful and spirit-filled. All glory to God for blessing our time and opening our hearts to His foster-father St. Joseph and Br. André. I pray that we may continue to follow in their footsteps and never cease to model our lives after them.

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