TWO ROADS DIVERGED: My Vocation Story by Brendan McCarrick sac

My Vocation Story

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveller.”


On a cold day, in February 1993, as I prepared for my mock Junior Certificate, I first encountered the words of Robert Frost, words which have remained with me, and words which I have returned to on many occasion as I have forged my way through life. That very day, back in February 1993, I first really contemplated where my life may bring me, and which road I would take on the path of life, would it be married life or priesthood. Would I be a engineer or a priest, where would God lead me in life, and am I willing to put my trust in God to lead me.

            The day arose to fill in my CAO form for college, and nowhere was ‘priesthood’ an option, and I was too afraid to ask anyone, so I decided to go to college and study engineering. Although I succeeded in my engineering, I was never fulfilled, satisfied, or happy, leading me to return to Robert Frost’s words and once again contemplate on my vocation in life. It was then I first applied to religious life, a young lad of 20. For three years I struggled with my studies, and was of the view, “if God wanted me to do this it shouldn’t be so hard.” I still remember the day I knew I was in the wrong place, I was lonely and alone in a seminary, in a class of over twenty lads, and over one hundred and seventy lads studying for Diocesan Priesthood. Feeling so alone, opened my eyes, God truly wants all people to be happy, and fulfilled so I decided to leave and travelled the main road of society. I got a great job in an engineering company, and for almost ten years was extremely successful, succeeding in purchasing a house, new car and enjoying the pleasures and pain of life.

      jubilantcrowdwydmass      A life changing event happened in 2008, I travelled to Australia to the World Youth Day, where once again my faith was reinvigorated; and it was there I decided, during my time in prayer that God was still calling me to priesthood, the only decision was where? A return to Diocesan Priesthood or Community/Religious life? Throughout that year I discerned and prayed for guidance, for which road should I travel? In my discernment I prayed the words of Mary, the Mother of God, “Be it done unto me according to your word,” as I prayed these world I realised the necessity to truly listen to God, listen with my mind and heart and then the need to surrender my will to God, similar to Jesus as he lay on the cross, “Not my will, but your will be done.”

    brendan (2)        While attending a Youth 2000 event, I meet with the vocations director of the Pallottines, and he invited me to a weekend retreat in Thurles, where I could learn more about the Pallottines, St. Vincent Pallotti the founder of the Society and about myself and where God was guiding me in my life. During that weekend I felt welcomed and at home, and knew God was calling me to ‘give, offer and surrender my whole life to God.’ On August 11th 2009, while in Medjugorje on my annual retreat I received a phone call from the Provincial of the Pallottines, congratulating me that my application to become a member of the Society of Apostolic life, in order to study for the priesthood had been accepted. Three years late I took my first promises to the Society, ‘to give, offer and surrender my whole life to God’, and this I do each day by trusting in God, surrendering to his will, and by believing in God, that he is guiding and directing me each day, so that I will receive that strength and courage to follow the road less travelled by, and always say, “not my will, but your will be done O Lord.”