Brady GagneJacob Freund

College Program - Junior

Parish: Holy Family, Fond du Lac

Seminary: Saint Francis de Sales

Birthday: October 28

Intercessor: St. Therese of Lisieux

Describe yourself:

I’m an optimistic man looking for peace and joy in a world full of noise and distractions. I spend most of my time in the company of my family and friends.

Tell us your vocation story:

The first time I thought about the priesthood was when I was 14 years old. I was in confession and I asked the priest questions about heaven, death, and purgatory to better understand it. After the priest answered my questions he said, “Have you ever thought of becoming a priest?” It completely shocked me and felt a fear that I might be called to be a priest. I went to a discernment camp the following summer but afterwards I didn’t think about it throughout high school.

Fast forward to summer of 2019, a seminarian I knew from high school came to stay at our parish for the summer and led a Thomas Aquinas study for young adults. As this study went on throughout the summer, I grew in friendship with him and started asking many questions about seminary. I thought it sounded fun and fulfilling but the idea of seminary still frightened me since it required letting go of my own will. I started taking discernment seriously in September because I felt this restlessness in my heart that was not getting solved by my own means. Confused, lost, and unfulfilled with my life, I consistently prayed to God to lead me where He wants me to be and that His Will be done. As the months went on, the idea of seminary stayed in my head and would not go away. I was unsure if I was called to be a priest, but I knew in my heart that God wanted me to go to seminary, even though I fought against it for a few months. As I had the application in hand, I would fill it out time to time and then not touch it for a few weeks. But it seemed God never let me forget about the application, no matter how much I tried to put it off. Whenever I was just about to forget about it completely, someone would ask, “Hey Jacob, how’s that application coming along?” I took that as divine providence that I needed to finish the application and I would not have peace if I failed to do so. When I got the news that I was accepted into seminary, I was overcome with more joy than I could have ever imagined. I do not have certainty about my vocation, but I do have certainty God is with me and His Will be done.  

What is the greatest challenge facing a man considering the seminary?

I think the greatest challenge is the pressures of culture telling you what will make you happy, such as living selfishly and materialistically. Another challenge I think many men face is thinking that if you go to seminary, you will automatically become a priest. This is false, as I learned seminary is a place of discernment to find clarity in one’s vocation in a community of brothers who are also on the same road as you.

What is your favorite psalm verse and why?

Psalm 51:9 “Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” This is my favorite verse because it shows the mercy God has for us. God’s Mercy is one of the things I am most thankful for.

What are your favorite activities outside of the seminary?

Driving around in the countryside listening to music, frisbee, gaming, casual basketball, and spending time with family and friends.

Where do you like to go pray?

I love to pray in front of a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament. I feel the strongest connection and awe when I go to an adoration chapel.

Where do you do your best studying?

In my room listening to music.

Which saint should people ask to intercede for your vocation?

St. Therese of Lisieux – she has been and continues to be a major help in my discernment.

Vocation Office

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