Currently enrolled at Duquesne University and majoring in philosophy and healthcare supply chain management with a minor in theology, Matt Broeren is one of two students in Spiritan formation at Laval House in the U.S. Province.
Matt was born in Chicago, but his family moved to Pittsburgh, Pa., when he was only one year old, so he considers himself a native of the Steel City. His decision to enter the priesthood was a long process influenced by a number of people.
It wasn’t until his sophomore year at Duquesne that he began thinking about entering a religious order. Matt had initially spoken with vocation directors at two different Franciscan provinces, but his desire to work with the poor in a missionary capacity was more directly aligned with the Spiritans’ work.
“I really took time to reflect and tried not to rush in, but I picture myself doing that kind of work and enjoying it.”
He went on the Campus Ministry trip to the Dominican Republic in August of this year and knew he’d made the right decision.
“I loved seeing the work that is actually being done by Spiritans. I learned from Padre Don about how poverty operates in the Dominican Republic and how the Spiritans work to alleviate it. It really confirmed for me my purpose in choosing this path.”
One major lesson Matt learned is also the title of a blog post he authored, “Joy Has No Language.” He’d been nervous about not speaking Spanish fluently, but a well-timed water balloon prank by a gleeful group of young children taught him that joy matters more than any language barrier.
Although nearing the end of his undergraduate studies, Matt still has a long road ahead of him in his Spiritan formation. He will finish a few courses this year and then enter his novitiate year of prayer and reflection. The next steps will be his Profession (taking his first vows), followed by earning his Master’s degree in Divinity and participating in two years of overseas training.
At the conclusion of his theological studies, he will be perpetually professed and ordained to the priesthood in preparation for his Mission Appointment. The entire process will likely take around 10 years.
“I’m ready to go wherever the Congregation needs me. I hope to use my healthcare delivery background to help others. I can’t say I will end poverty or end AIDS; that may very well be impossible. But you have to start somewhere. I hope I can make whatever difference I am able to make.”
First published in the Fall 2017 One Heart, One Spirit Newsletter.
Is the Holy Spirit calling you to join us? Read more information on joining the Spiritans.