Come & See: An Important Step in Glenmary's Discernment Process

Brother David Henley, Glenmary vocation director

"Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, 'What are you looking for?' They said to him, 'Rabbi, where are you staying?' He said to them, 'Come, and you will see.'"—Jn 1:38

Just out of high school, I decided to take a road trip that I later found out would change my life. I hopped in a car with Glenmary's vocation director at that time. I was not certain then that I was being called to religious life, but I was curious to learn more about Glenmary and see the missions.

That weekend we departed from Glenmary Headquarters in Cincinnati on a Friday afternoon. The road took us to missions in western Kentucky, central Tennessee and Alabama. We met Glenmarians, lay coworkers, mission members and others along the way who welcomed us into their homes and shared their stories. After we had visited a number of missions, the whirlwind adventure ended late Sunday night back at Glenmary Headquarters and left me with more questions than answers.

Even after that fantastic trip was over, I was not quite ready to join Glenmary. Still, it was an influential experience in my discernment process. I stayed in touch with some of the Glenmarians I met and even traveled back to some of the mission areas on my own. After a few years passed, I decided it was time to take another step in the journey: I applied and was accepted to serve as a volunteer for one year at the Glenmary Farm in eastern Kentucky. I spent that year working with the Glenmarians in the area and hosting the volunteer students who came to the Farm.

After my time at the Farm ended, I still wasn't ready to go through the application process to join Glenmary Home Missioners. I returned to Columbus and worked for a few years. Later I served as a volunteer at other service agencies. Eventually, I realized that the sky was not going to open up with a voice telling me to join Glenmary. I took the step on my own, trusting that it was where God was encouraging me to go after showing me all the other options.

Come & See weekends have been an important step of the discernment process for most people who have joined Glenmary. We don't buy homes sight unseen, and very few of us would agree to an arranged marriage without knowing ahead of time who our spouse will be. Why would we make a commitment to join a religious community without first getting to know a little bit about it and meeting some of the members? The first disciples called in the Gospel of John did not go out and follow Jesus without first having the chance to "come and see."

Glenmary hosts many of these weekends throughout the year. If you are interested in learning about our next Come & See retreat, which will be during Holy Week, let us know. If you are unable to make a specific retreat, don't worry. We have been able to schedule additional weekend mission experiences at other times of the year as needed.

The retreats are called "Come & See," not "Come & Buy." So if you are not ready to make the commitment, you don't have to sign on the dotted line at the end of the weekend. You will still have a chance to go home and reflect some more on the experience. But be warned that it could be a trip which might change your life forever...

Are you ready to take a road trip with Glenmary? Are you ready to take the risk?

If so, or for more information, contact us!

This reflection was first posted in January 2012.