An Interview With a Carmelite
We recently had a chance to talk with Brother Simon Mary of the Cross, a monk at the Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Clark, Wyoming. Fr. Daniel Mary of Jesus Crucified, the Prior of the monastery, offered us this rare occasion to speak with Br. Simon Mary, in the hope that the story of his vocation would help other young men in their discernment, and inspire the prayers and generosity of our readers to preserve this monastic way of life and provide for the young men God is calling. Br. Simon Mary took us from his early, formative years through to the realization of his vocation as a Carmelite monk. The Carmelite monastery in Wyoming is one of the most exciting new elements in the Church in America, and has proven — in just a few short years — to be fecund ground for vocations to the consecrated life.
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NOR: Greetings, Brother Simon Mary.
Br. Simon Mary: Praised be Jesus Christ!
NOR: Tell us a little bit about your background.
Br. Simon Mary: I was born in 1984. I grew up in Cambridge, a small rural town in New York on the Vermont border.
NOR: Only 24 years old — you’re still a young fellow! Tell us about your home life growing up.
Br. Simon Mary: I come from a faithful Catholic family; I’m the oldest of three children. I had a normal, peaceful childhood. My grandparents had a dairy farm in Cambridge, a portion of which they deeded to my parents. It was a great blessing to grow up in a small, rural town such as Cambridge.
My mother was a devout Catholic, as were some of the older members of my family, especially my grandmother. They faithfully attended the devotions, Stations of the Cross, adoration, and Rosaries at the local parish, and always took us kids along with them. Being in a church, to me, was just a natural part of my childhood. And there were always holy pictures and crucifixes in both my parents’ and grandparents’ houses.
NOR: So these physical manifestations of the faith — holy pictures, crucifixes — and devotional practices were helpful in the formation of your faith?
Br. Simon Mary: Yes, absolutely.
NOR: Did you go to Catholic or public schools?
Br. Simon Mary: I went to a public school in Cambridge.
NOR: Looking back, who were some of the early influences who helped in your religious formation?
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