Abbot Austin by CZymkq65


									                                     MY VOCATION STORY

                                   Abbot Austin Murphy, O.S.B.

       I entered the monastery in July of 1996. I was a native of New York, having grown up in
the suburbs of New York City. I came to Chicago to attend college and this is how I learned of
this monastery called St. Procopius Abbey located in the western suburbs of Chicago. I joined
the monastery soon after graduating.

        I grew up Catholic but when I came to college I had to decide whether I would live my
faith nominally or in a committed fashion. Unfortunately, I was drifting towards the former. But
during my first year in college, I had a conversion in which God called me to embrace the
Catholic faith with its teachings. At the time, I had no problem believing in God, but the question
was whether I could fully accept the Church and her teachings, especially when society was
saying that some of those teachings were backwards and wrong. God won out and I accepted the
Church’s teachings as His own. This was a difficult process interiorly for me, but it was also a
time of grace and growth.

         After committing to the faith, I started to discern a call to the priesthood and/or religious
life. Although raised Catholic, I really didn’t know much about the different forms of priesthood
and religious life, that is, about being a diocesan priest vs. a religious priest and about the
different kinds of religious life out there. But as I neared graduation fellow students knew of my
interest in a religious vocation and one of them took the liberty of passing my name on to the
vocation director at St. Procopius Abbey. She knew of the abbey because her father cooked food
for the monks. The vocation director contacted me and we arranged for me to go on a five day
retreat at the abbey.

       The retreat was offered with “no strings attached,” simply as an opportunity for
discernment for young men thinking about a religious vocation. In fact, early in the retreat I
made sure to clarify to the vocation director that I was not think of becoming a monk. It instead
seemed that God was calling me to another form of religious life. But a few days later, I sensed
that God was calling me to join!

        This was certainly not the usual way discernment works – however, God is free to do as
He wishes. During my retreat, I enjoyed the freedom to pray privately and in community.
Communal prayer was indeed a new experience and I found it very enriching to pray the psalms
with thirty other men. All this led to a lot of fervor and during the retreat I began to think eagerly
of how I might serve the Lord. As I thought about the options, God put the idea of joining this
monastery in my heart. He spoke in my heart, saying, “Join here,” and I couldn’t shake the sense
I was being called to the monastery.

        After talking to the vocation director, I was only more convinced that God was calling me
to the abbey. So, I began the process of applying. One does not make a final commitment to join
right then and there, of course. There are over four years of formation in which to discern
whether to take final vows. Through those years I learned more about the monastic life and what
God was calling me to do through it. In 2000 I took my final vows, thankful to God for this
opportunity to serve Him and His people through prayer and the other ministries the abbey
engages in.

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