Br. Jacob Deiss, OSB

Being born into a family of 11 and growing up in a rural town of south central South Dakota, I didn’t think that being religious could be a way of life for me or that I had some calling to it.  When I think of the prophet Samuel who heard the voice of the Lord, but thought it was someone else’s voice, or that of Elijah who heard a small whisper in the silence and recognized it as the Lord, but not in nature’s devastations;  this is not what happened to me.  But that’s just it, at the beginning of my monastic formation I thought I chose this way of life, when in fact I didn’t do the choosing.  At the beginning of my life, I didn’t get to choose my parents, family members, or even my physical genetics, so in some abnormal way I wanted to do some choosing in how I live my life and how good I wanted to look.    I, Br. Jacob Deiss was baptized as Darren James on July 26th, 1970 which placed me in a sacred place and time.  God chose me as an adoptive son and the situation was that a mark of His Son’s choice to die for my sins is placed within my soul forever.    My mother told me as I gained reason and intellect that she was praying for my vocation to the priesthood or religious life.  I didn’t like the idea, for it put me in an awkward spot because I had a few ideas of my own on what I wanted to do.  As I grew in my own wisdom and understanding, I tried to follow the rules and discipline of our Catholic faith.  We were a devoted Catholic family, as my mother’s family was.  My father was a convert from a Protestant background, but a loving parent, quiet and supportive in every way.   I was an altar server and went to Mass as often as my mother could get me out of bed; I remembered going to CCD classes, saying the family rosary, and being confirmed at 17, but in the rural setting of White River, SD I always dreamed that more is out there and more out there to do.  I joined the U.S. Navy a few months out of high school, not realizing the impact that decision had on my life or my family, but found out very quickly that to be responsible and disciplined was the norm.  I learned many good things, but soon they were overcome by more sinful decisions: disobedience, drunkenness, fornication, and debauchery.  Most of these were fueled by pride and the desires of the flesh, but I am here to say that I choose these things and was hurt by them as were those closest to me.  During those 4 years, I ended up traveling to different places of the world and became a veteran of the Gulf War.  A few years out of the Navy, my father passed away and I came to understand death in a personal way.    Mostly of what I knew about life backfired and sent me in a whirlwind of chaos and addiction.  When my family intervened, the Catholic way of faith, hope, and charity brought new expression to my life and a second chance to make things right with God.  It didn’t happen overnight, but in choosing to live a life in service to God and in a monastic setting was going to require change.  Change meant growth and to grow in virtue meant to die to my inner self.   Once more the marks of the Catholic Church were being realized in me and the Divine providential choices to live with more devotion, piety, and reverence became the norm, especially with the sacrament of confession.  I entered the Benedictine monastery of Assumption Abbey in Richardton, ND on Jan 26th, 1999 and took vows of monastic obedience, stability, and conversion of life on July 11th, 2000.  It has been 10 years since a lifestyle that brought about my conversion of heart for the betterment of our world.   I say this because the world is getting by just fine without me.  I was better without the world in my life and vice versa.  Sounds prideful, but when we pray the Divine Office (Opus Dei) 3 times a day and attend the sacrifice of the Mass each day also, we are praying for the world that we left behind.  It sounds ironic, but very Christian to pray for our enemies.  In believing that all prayer is answered in its own time and place, God is changing the hearts of peoples through those who have compassion and love of Christ in their souls.  Practicing and reliving the baptismal promises each day, I am sent out again into the world and witnessing to families that God is love and that He is choosing all of us to live the Gospel of Christ.  My work here is the Opus Dei, server of the Mass, cantor at liturgies, Abbey farm and maintenance worker, book binder, rosary maker, and the various tasks that are graciously ask of me by my confreres each day and those that are not asked.  There lies the true spirit of monasticism, which our love is so imbedded in Christ we know what charity is for others, above and regardless of our own selves.  More will be asked of me and I pray (as I hope you will also) for the strength to look beyond my needs and wants for the sake of our community.  Don’t wait for the call to a vocation, just live out your baptism in grace and the choosing will be the Lord’s. “Then we might serve in holiness and justice in the Divine presence all our days…, to go before the Lord and prepare the way by giving the people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.”  Canticle of Zechariah (Luke 1: 74-77)
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Br. Jacob Deiss, OSB

Being born into a family of 11 and growing up in a rural town of south central South Dakota, I didn’t think that being religious could be a way of life for me or that I had some calling to it.  When I think of the prophet Samuel who heard the voice of the Lord, but thought it was someone else’s voice, or that of Elijah who heard a small whisper in the silence and recognized it as the Lord, but not in nature’s devastations;  this is not what happened to me.  But that’s just it, at the beginning of my monastic formation I thought I chose this way of life, when in fact I didn’t do the choosing.  At the beginning of my life, I didn’t get to choose my parents, family members, or even my physical genetics, so in some abnormal way I wanted to do some choosing in how I live my life and how good I wanted to look.    I, Br. Jacob Deiss was baptized as Darren James on July 26th, 1970 which placed me in a sacred place and time.  God chose me as an adoptive son and the situation was that a mark of His Son’s choice to die for my sins is placed within my soul forever.    My mother told me as I gained reason and intellect that she was praying for my vocation to the priesthood or religious life.  I didn’t like the idea, for it put me in an awkward spot because I had a few ideas of my own on what I wanted to do.  As I grew in my own wisdom and understanding, I tried to follow the rules and discipline of our Catholic faith.  We were a devoted Catholic family, as my mother’s family was.  My father was a convert from a Protestant background, but a loving parent, quiet and supportive in every way.   I was an altar server and went to Mass as often as my mother could get me out of bed; I remembered going to CCD classes, saying the family rosary, and being confirmed at 17, but in the rural setting of White River, SD I always dreamed that more is out there and more out there to do.  I joined the U.S. Navy a few months out of high school, not realizing the impact that decision had on my life or my family, but found out very quickly that to be responsible and disciplined was the norm.  I learned many good things, but soon they were overcome by more sinful decisions: disobedience, drunkenness, fornication, and debauchery.  Most of these were fueled by pride and the desires of the flesh, but I am here to say that I choose these things and was hurt by them as were those closest to me.  During those 4 years, I ended up traveling to different places of the world and became a veteran of the Gulf War.  A few years out of the Navy, my father passed away and I came to understand death in a personal way.    Mostly of what I knew about life backfired and sent me in a whirlwind of chaos and addiction.  When my family intervened, the Catholic way of faith, hope, and charity brought new expression to my life and a second chance to make things right with God.  It didn’t happen overnight, but in choosing to live a life in service to God and in a monastic setting was going to require change.  Change meant growth and to grow in virtue meant to die to my inner self.   Once more the marks of the Catholic Church were being realized in me and the Divine providential choices to live with more devotion, piety, and reverence became the norm, especially with the sacrament of confession.  I entered the Benedictine monastery of Assumption Abbey in Richardton, ND on Jan 26th, 1999 and took vows of monastic obedience, stability, and conversion of life on July 11th, 2000.  It has been 10 years since a lifestyle that brought about my conversion of heart for the betterment of our world.   I say this because the world is getting by just fine without me.  I was better without the world in my life and vice versa.  Sounds prideful, but when we pray the Divine Office (Opus Dei) 3 times a day and attend the sacrifice of the Mass each day also, we are praying for the world that we left behind.  It sounds ironic, but very Christian to pray for our enemies.  In believing that all prayer is answered in its own time and place, God is changing the hearts of peoples through those who have compassion and love of Christ in their souls.  Practicing and reliving the baptismal promises each day, I am sent out again into the world and witnessing to families that God is love and that He is choosing all of us to live the Gospel of Christ.  My work here is the Opus Dei, server of the Mass, cantor at liturgies, Abbey farm and maintenance worker, book binder, rosary maker, and the various tasks that are graciously ask of me by my confreres each day and those that are not asked.  There lies the true spirit of monasticism, which our love is so imbedded in Christ we know what charity is for others, above and regardless of our own selves.  More will be asked of me and I pray (as I hope you will also) for the strength to look beyond my needs and wants for the sake of our community.  Don’t wait for the call to a vocation, just live out your baptism in grace and the choosing will be the Lord’s. “Then we might serve in holiness and justice in the Divine presence all our days…, to go before the Lord and prepare the way by giving the people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.”  Canticle of Zechariah (Luke 1: 74-77)
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Phone (701) 974 3315 Address PO Box A Richardton, ND 58601