Meet a Brother: Br. Conrad
Brother Conrad Richardson, F.B.P.
Franciscan Brothers of Peace
St. Paul, MN
I first discovered the call to religious brotherhood when I was 21 years old. It took some time for me to realize what God was calling me to do. I graduated from high school in Denver, Colorado, just a year before Blessed John Paul II arrived for World Youth Day in 1993. I attribute the rediscovery of my Catholic faith and the starting point of my vocation discernment to that extraordinary event.
Before entering religious life I worked as a nursing assistant, caring for the elderly, the physically and mentally challenged and the terminally ill. I was beginning to see that I was caring for Jesus by caring for the least. As my prayer life grew, so did my desire to serve God and others. I volunteered with the Missionaries of Charity in Denver who were caring for those dying of AIDS. This was my first experience of being around a religious community and my call to the vocation of brother was coming into focus during that time of praying and working along side the sisters. I admired their undying love for Jesus, each other and those for whom they cared. Before meeting the sisters I had an assumption that deep down they must be miserable due to all they had to give up and go without. The various religious men and women that I have met throughout my life are some of the happiest people I know.
In 1996, I contacted the Franciscan Brothers of Peace in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and was invited to make a "come & see" visit. Being with the Brothers felt like family and I felt like I belonged. After some time of getting to know the community and the brothers getting to know me, I expressed an interest in applying and was accepted. I began postulancy in February of 1997 and professed final vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in October of 2001. Through a life of prayer and repentance, the brothers engage in various apostolates such as praying and sidewalk counseling outside of abortion centers, helping to feed and clothe the poor and homeless, ministering to refugees and providing sanctuary in our friary to men who are international victims of torture.”
God calls some men to be priests alone, some to be brothers alone and some to be priest-brothers. Each vocation is distinct and complete. My life as a brother is filled with great joy and of course there are hefty challenges as well. Let's face it, life isn't easy no matter what vocation we are called to, but I know that with God's saving grace and with the help of my brothers, I will continue to grow in love of Him and all those around me. May God be praised, both now and forever!