In Pursuit of Vocation – Brendan Rolling

2000 News

Br. Brendan P. Rolling, O.S.B. is a 1993 graduate of Benedictine College, Atchison, Kansas, with a bachelor of arts degree in political science and philosophy. He is the son of Joseph and Betty Rolling of Arco, Minnesota. He earned a master of arts degree, with high honors, from Saint Vincent Seminary in 1999 and also received the Diakonia Award, for service to the seminary community in that year. In 2000 he earned the master of divinity degree from Saint Vincent Seminary, with honor, and received the Honorable Judge Bernard F. Scherer Award. Following his graduation he was ordained to the priesthood.

This article is from Columbia Magazine, May, 2000, Volume LXXX, Number 5, Page 17. Reprinted with permission. Columbia is the magazine of the Knights of Columbus,

By Steve Gust

On Youth Day Event Catalyst for Vocation – Rev. Brendan P. Rolling, O.S.B.Columbia/May 2000, page 17.Volume LXXX, Number 5.

Some people pursue a vocation, but in Benedictine Brother Brendan P. Rolling’s case, it was a vocation that pursued him.

Brother Rolling, 29 and a member of St. Benedict’s College Council 4708 at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., has taken an interesting road toward his ordination this spring. It was a path he wasn’t too certain he wanted to take at first.

“When I went to Mass and heard the prayer petitions for priests, I’d get uncomfortable,” Brother Rolling said. His uneasiness was caused by his belief that God was calling him to the priesthood and he wasn’t sure how to react.

Brother Rolling was born in Panama, where his father, Joe, was in the Peace Corps and his mother, Betty, worked for the bishop there. When he was 6, the family moved to the Catholic farm community of Arco, Minn. His father is currently grand knight of All Saints Council 4912 in Ivanhoe, Minn.

Brother Rolling remembers taking a career aptitude test while in grade school and being a bit surprised by the results. “The test said I would b e a good lawyer or good engineer,” he said. “I wasn’t sure a career that benefited me so much was what I wanted.”

After high school he enrolled at Benedictine College, which his mother, uncles and aunts had also attended. But even there, Brother Rolling avoided theology classes.

“It was very unsettling,” he said about his nagging call toward the vocation. “I never told anybody about it.”

His college career drifted as he tried different majors. That all started to change in 1993, when he went with a group of friends to Denver for World Youth Day with Pope John Paul II.

“World Youth Day made me realize the Church was much greater than what I had thought,” he said. “Plus, I looked at the Holy Father and realized at one time he too had been decided whether or not to pursue a vocation.”

That one event “unlocked the zeal” Brother Rolling had for the priesthood and the Church.

If making the decision was difficult, telling his parents, two brothers and sister proved equally difficult.

“I was something of a jokester then,” he said. “I was afraid nobody was going to take me seriously. My parents were a bit surprised, but they were supportive.”

The priests back at Benedictine College and St. Benedict’s Abbey also welcomed his decision. He started his studies for the priesthood in the fall of 1995. Following ordination, he’ll return to Atchison and St. Benedict’s. At Benedictine College he’ll have an administrative position with the student life office.

For others considering service to the Lord, Brother Rolling has advice.

“I would say take it to the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament,” he said. “Pray for the calling.”

There’s one other group he is grateful toward as he waits on the threshold of ordination. “The Knights of Columbus helped me with a scholarship,” he said. “That support has been very appreciated.”

Nobody’s going to accuse Brother Rolling of not having lofty goals once he’s ordained at St. Benedict’s Abbey July 1. “It’s my hope to convert Bill Gates and Ted Turner,” he said.