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Seniors enter religious life

Catherine Owers | Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Notre Dame seniors Kellie Raddell and Jimmy White will choose a path less traveled as they enter religious life post-graduation.

Raddell will enter the Nashville community of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia on Aug. 15. White will enter the Blessed Stephen Bellesini Pre-Novitiate, an Augustinian community in Ardmore, Penn., this fall.

Fr. James Gallagher, vocations director for the Congregation of Holy Cross, also said six men who came through the Old College program at the University will continue their formation with Holy Cross. Additionally, three other graduating seniors will enter into formation with Holy Cross in the fall, he said.

Raddell said many opportunities at Notre Dame, such as daily Mass, participation in the Campus Ministry CCD program and Eucharistic Adoration, were conducive to her spiritual development.     

“[Notre Dame] provided the scaffolding for me to grow in the right direction,” she said.

Raddell first began to contemplate the religious vocation while abroad, she said.

“I was in France and I didn’t speak French very well, so I was very quiet,” she said. “But I had a lot of time for prayer, and I recognized the universal Church.”

After visiting many orders, Raddell said she chose the Dominicans in Nashville because of their strong emphasis on tradition, as well their education-focused mission.

“They’re a well-known community, and I feel like God kept sending people into my life that would mention [the Dominicans] or suggest them,” she said. “I’m looking forward to loving the children [who] God places in my care.”

Raddell said she also looked forward to entering the order with several other women her age.

“A lot of [religious] communities now are aging, so it’s really nice that there are a lot of young people still entering this community,” she said. “We’ll be going through life together, as a community.”

White said he attended an Augustinian middle school and high school, and considered the priesthood as early as fifth grade.

“It was really when I got here to Notre Dame that I began to actively think about it,” he said.

White said he began to discern with the Holy Cross Congregation on campus but felt something was missing. The Augustinians’ emphasis on community, as well as dedication to education in an active contemplative community, appealed to him.

“I realized that for most of my life, I was brought up with [an] Augustinian education, and that was really a part of who I was, so it just made sense. … The Augustinians are monastic in their roots but balance the monastic prayer life with an active way of life,” he said. “Other than community and my love for Augustinian theology, education is what really drew me to the Augustinians.”

The demands of being a resident assistant (RA) in Duncan Hall this year helped validate White’s decision to enter the religious life, he said.

“I really had the opportunity to see what active ministry was like, since the RA role here is so unique – it’s not just the guy who unlocks the door or goes on rounds,” White said. “It’s really a pastoral position.

“There’s been challenging moments, and I’ve had to have some difficult conversations this year. But to be able to be with residents in highs and lows and walk with them in those moments has been really fulfilling for me and reassuring that this is something I could be called to do.”

Contact Catherine Owers at cowers@nd.edu