Passion and vocation: staff speakers present on their state in life

By Peyton Voorheis
Staff Writer

Several speakers shared stories about their passions and vocations on March 1 in the J.C. Williams Center atrium to round out Franciscan University’s first ever Personal Vocation Month.

Speakers included the Rev. Jonathan St. Andre TOR, Kate Lesnefsky, Bob Lesnefsky, Matthew Breuninger, Sister Joan Paule TOR, John Paul Von Arx, Dan Dentino and Danny Pillar. Each speaker gave a talk of roughly ten minutes on a subject they were passionate about–from their state in life or vocation to hobbies such as music.

At the heart of many of the talks was the idea of passion being connected with personal vocation. Pillar addressed how the faithful can use their passions to discern where God is calling them.

“He brought passions out of my life that I didn’t know existed,” she said.

Other presenters spoke on the beauty of their vocation.

Paule said of her religious vocation, “There are so many things about our life, about religious life, that shows that God has to be real, because how could we live this way without His sustenance, without His grace, without His strength?”

Many of the presenters also spoke about passions and interests which God placed on their heart in order to lead them to a career.

Breuninger said of his passion for mental health, “I’ve seen people in pits of despair, and I’ve seen those people ascend to the heights of hope. … I’m passionate about mental health because I’m passionate about freedom.”

Bob Lesnefsky, speaking on his passion for ministry, added, “God wants to take your passion and make it your road to holiness.”

Students were encouraged to sit down and enjoy refreshments or simply to come and go for the talks that interested them.

“I think they have a great amount of speakers, and they (the speakers) have a great amount of experience in different things,” junior English writing major Erin Burns said of the event.

Jessie Leatherby, associate director of student engagement and assessment, said of the speakers chosen for the event, “we just wanted some people who could inspire our students.”

She added that she was glad to have an opportunity to “get people together to celebrate vocations in a way that’s fun.”