When he was just six years old, Marquis Simon knew that there was something very special about religious life. He loved going to mass with his grandmother and was always eager to learn more about his faith. His admiration and respect for the priests he knew is what sparked his interest in discerning a religious vocation. Initially setting out to become a priest himself, Simon eventually found his home at Saint Joseph Abbey.
Early on Sunday morning, July 10th, in a private ceremony held in the Monastery Chapter Room, Novice Marquis entered the next stage in his life to becoming a monk at the Abbey. Novice Marquis was accepted into the novitiate, a year in which will be marked by a separation from the world and an acclimation to one’s new life in the monastery. The novice takes classes in monastic history and spirituality and contributes to the life of the community in prayer and work. After a year in the novitiate, the novice may petition to make his first profession of vows.
In tenth grade, Novice Marquis, who is from Port Barre, La. took a more active pursuit in discerning his vocation. He contacted his diocesan vocation director and took several discernment retreats. In eleventh grade, he visited the Abbey and Seminary College on a Come & See retreat designed for young men to see what seminary life is like. It was at this retreat that he was first introduced to the monks of Saint Joseph Abbey. He eventually decided that diocesan priesthood wasn’t for him.
After graduating high school, Novice Marquis reached out to Fr. Augustine, who was the Abbey’s vocation director at the time, to get more information about discerning with the monastery. Novice Marquis was invited for a visit, which just so happened to coincide with the Feast of St. Benedict, the funeral of Fr. Ambrose and the first vows of Br. Cyprian. “I got to see monks mourning, celebrating the feast of their patron saint, and rejoicing during first vows of one of their own. I saw the gamut of emotions from the monastic community here, and I just knew that it was something I had to be part of,” said Novice Marquis.
Not old enough to enter the monastery at 19, Novice Marquis spent two years as a seminarian in the Seminary College, located at Saint Joseph Abbey, before deciding to enter the monastery. The beautiful grounds of the Abbey have also provided Novice Marquis the opportunity to spend a lot of time outdoors, something he really loves to do. “As a postulant, I’ve been given many assignments; they try to place you in all areas for a short period of time. But I really have enjoyed working in the garden and greenhouse. It’s fantastic being able to grow the food we eat,” Novice Marquis said.
Novice Marquis is not only excited to share the food with his fellow monks, but with the seminarians as well. With the new academic year just beginning, the renewed activity on campus of the record 154 seminarians is a welcome sight for Novice Marquis.
“It is really a gift, a monastic vocation, to have the privilege to so intensely and unrestrictedly live a life devoted to seeking the will of God as we as monks strive to do daily. It is my hope that taking this next step of discernment will be the beginning of a great monastic adventure at the end of which I will be found to have truly sought God and His will, “ Novice Marquis said.
To learn more about a monastic vocation at Saint Joseph Abbey, visit http://www.saintjosephabbey.com/vocations-home.
Article written by James Shields
Manager of Communications
Saint Joseph Abbey and Seminary College
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