Br. Maximilian Kenny, OSB

As is the case with many people, summarizing one’s vocation story can be challenging as there are so many little moments in life that can radically change the road we tread on. As humans we often like straight and level paths but God often has other things in mind.  Having come from a Missouri Synod Lutheran father and Roman Catholic mother, even questions of my faith were hard to figure out as a child let alone a proper vocational calling. They seemed to be at odds with a great number of things , and I ended up more confused than anything for a time. Eventually though, it was in the early elementary years that I finally received something resembling a calling.  My primary influences in these years were my grandmother, Monica Heit, and St. Francis of Assisi. She encouraged me to discover saints and after acquiring a comic book on the life of Francis, I became enamored with his story and wanted to replicate it as much as possible. I, at first, sought to be a priest but after finding Francis, I wanted to be a deacon, as he remained a deacon despite the pleadings of his followers.  But then I switched it around as (in my childhood mind), it was like settling for the silver medal when I could go for the gold, which was diocesan priesthood.  My initial religious fervor was to fade, however, when my home life began to deteriorate some. My parents had been fighting for years and finally, when I was in fifth grade the dam broke and they divorced. As with many kids whose parents went through such a separation, it was difficult and I began to withdraw within myself into a safe cocoon of isolation, abandoning everything I could not trust 100 %. This nearly included my faith but my grandmother refused to let me and continued to keep me in line, if unwillingly. I looked at my old notions of a calling as folly, and silly, childish dreams. I genuinely did not see much reason to bother about my faith, let alone a vocation, but she encouraged me to hang on, that I’d eventually figure it out if I made an effort to keep God first in my decisions. I thank God now every day that I listened to her, for God has since done so many great things in my life, both for myself and for others.  Things picked up again in the 10 th  grade. My faith began to not only take off ,but became something active and engrossing; not a passive observance done to please my elders and superiors, as it had been. I was in adoration when I audibly heard the calling to both religious life and the priesthood. But, since I was a materialistic highschooler, I edited that down to simply the priesthood, as I was too in love with my possessions to even consider letting go and, in  my mind, I could have it all in the diocese (wrong again!). I am, after all, not a very good listener. After settling on a plan to go diocesan, I wanted to enter seminary upon graduation but, I reneged on that, and studied philosophy and theology at the University of Mary. Eventually though, after studying in fall of 2012 in Rome, I realized I finally had to do something. I was at St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, for two years and a spirituality year in Minot for another 6 months. I learned many great things while in seminary but there was something missing. Eventually the re-emerging call to the religious life grew loud enough even my greatest attempts to politely ignore it failed. On the advice of Fr. Josh Waltz, I prayed over, and then discerned that Assumption Abbey seemed like the right place for me. It is of course, far too early to say anything definitive but the Abbey has been a more natural and thorough fit thus far. We have a wonderful and varied community of faithful men that keep life interesting and enriching on levels I never thought possible. In conclusion, as much as we like to edit and control our own destinies, God will always finds a way through to us if we pray and listen.   Without God, none of this would be possible, and by giving him primacy in my life I can continue to receive many graces from him, at his own pace.
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Br. Maximilian Kenny, OSB

As is the case with many people, summarizing one’s vocation story can be challenging as there are so many little moments in life that can radically change the road we tread on. As humans we often like straight and level paths but God often has other things in mind.  Having come from a Missouri Synod Lutheran father and Roman Catholic mother, even questions of my faith were hard to figure out as a child let alone a proper vocational calling. They seemed to be at odds with a great number of things , and I ended up more confused than anything for a time. Eventually though, it was in the early elementary years that I finally received something resembling a calling.  My primary influences in these years were my grandmother, Monica Heit, and St. Francis of Assisi. She encouraged me to discover saints and after acquiring a comic book on the life of Francis, I became enamored with his story and wanted to replicate it as much as possible. I, at first, sought to be a priest but after finding Francis, I wanted to be a deacon, as he remained a deacon despite the pleadings of his followers.  But then I switched it around as (in my childhood mind), it was like settling for the silver medal when I could go for the gold, which was diocesan priesthood.  My initial religious fervor was to fade, however, when my home life began to deteriorate some. My parents had been fighting for years and finally, when I was in fifth grade the dam broke and they divorced. As with many kids whose parents went through such a separation, it was difficult and I began to withdraw within myself into a safe cocoon of isolation, abandoning everything I could not trust 100 %. This nearly included my faith but my grandmother refused to let me and continued to keep me in line, if unwillingly. I looked at my old notions of a calling as folly, and silly, childish dreams. I genuinely did not see much reason to bother about my faith, let alone a vocation, but she encouraged me to hang on, that I’d eventually figure it out if I made an effort to keep God first in my decisions. I thank God now every day that I listened to her, for God has since done so many great things in my life, both for myself and for others.  Things picked up again in the 10 th  grade. My faith began to not only take off ,but became something active and engrossing; not a passive observance done to please my elders and superiors, as it had been. I was in adoration when I audibly heard the calling to both religious life and the priesthood. But, since I was a materialistic highschooler, I edited that down to simply the priesthood, as I was too in love with my possessions to even consider letting go and, in  my mind, I could have it all in the diocese (wrong again!). I am, after all, not a very good listener. After settling on a plan to go diocesan, I wanted to enter seminary upon graduation but, I reneged on that, and studied philosophy and theology at the University of Mary. Eventually though, after studying in fall of 2012 in Rome, I realized I finally had to do something. I was at St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, for two years and a spirituality year in Minot for another 6 months. I learned many great things while in seminary but there was something missing. Eventually the re-emerging call to the religious life grew loud enough even my greatest attempts to politely ignore it failed. On the advice of Fr. Josh Waltz, I prayed over, and then discerned that Assumption Abbey seemed like the right place for me. It is of course, far too early to say anything definitive but the Abbey has been a more natural and thorough fit thus far. We have a wonderful and varied community of faithful men that keep life interesting and enriching on levels I never thought possible. In conclusion, as much as we like to edit and control our own destinies, God will always finds a way through to us if we pray and listen.   Without God, none of this would be possible, and by giving him primacy in my life I can continue to receive many graces from him, at his own pace.
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