Matthew Olson

Propaedeutic Stage

Parish: St. Mary, Menomonee Falls

Seminary: Saint Francis de Sales

Birthday: August 3

Intercessor:  St. Josemaria Escriva

Tell us your vocation story.

I was born into a family that was nominally Catholic, but didn’t really practice the faith. I attended Catholic School K-12, but my family rarely attended Mass in my youth and even began attending Protestant Services regularly. My parents got divorced when I was 8 and eventually remarried fairly anticatholic people, one agnostic and one Baptist. Hearing all of these perspectives made me start digging into religion to try and figure out what was true. I searched around for a bit, but began to feel vaguely called to the priesthood fairly on in my searching process. I could imagine myself preaching like a protestant pastor, and when I discovered Eastern Orthodoxy I felt a desire to be an Orthodox priest. It wasn’t before discovering the massive tradition we have within our Roman Catholic Church that I decided to stay Catholic, and my experience attending Easter Vigil High Mass at St. Stanislaus in 2017 was what really cemented this. Experiencing the transcendent atmosphere and seeing the reverence with which the ministers moved around the altar and showed to our Lord in the Eucharist gave me a keen focus on the Mass, and when the consecration came and I saw the priest elevate the host, I felt in the depths of my heart that the priesthood is what I wanted to do with my life. From thereon this desire stuck around, and despite my attempts to date in college I realized it was more than just a passing desire. After spending a year as an intern at St. Paul’s in Madison, I decided to apply for seminary.

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

In a real sense, the greatest challenge to the man is himself. I think a lot of fears I had were around my own perceived deficiencies, and around insecurities that I had wrestling within me. These were the greatest thing I had to come to grips with before I could make the jump. This is one of the many reasons why it’s necessary to have a strong prayer life and a good spiritual director.

What is your favorite Psalm verse and why?

“The eyes of all creatures look to you

and you give them their food in due time.

You open wide your hand,

grant the desires of all who live.” (Psalm 145: 15-16)

It is a wonderful verse, well two verses, focused on the utter dependance of man on God. It’s humbling in a sense; we can’t eat unless God opens his hand to provide us food, but yet he does and grants us our desires and cares for us. I think its connection with all creatures is powerful as well, connecting with Jesus in Matthew 10:29-31 saying, “are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

What are your favorite activities outside of the seminary?

Anything involving food or the outdoors. I love cooking, winemaking, fishing, and camping. I also love to read books and play music, though I’m not particularly good at any instruments.

Where do you like to go pray?

In any chapel with the blessed Sacrament, particularly our chapel at the seminary.

Which saint should people ask to intercede for your vocation?

St. Josemaria Escriva


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