John Metilly

Except for the light illuminating the crucifix above the altar, the chapel was pitch black. Suddenly a violent banging sound, the strepitus, resounded through the chapel. The strepitus signifies the violent death of the Lord, and is performed at the end of the night offices during the Triduum. I was ten years old when I attended the night office at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington DC, and little did I know that ten years later I would be discerning a vocation to the very same province.

My name is John Metilly, and I am the fourth of nine siblings. I have four brothers and four sisters. I was born in New Hampshire and have also lived in the DC area and in Massachusetts. I was homeschooled all the way up until college except for my junior year of high school, when I attended a catholic private school. My mother taught me Latin, mathematics, reading comprehension, writing, history, catechism and natural science. As if I were not challenging enough, she did this while teaching all my other siblings as well! My Father has a PhD focusing on the philosophy of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas. As we grew older, he would share valuable insights into the areas of philosophy and theology with us.

My parents built a very strong household for me and my siblings. They did a great job in both protecting us from harmful influences as well as directing us to good things. My parents gave us a sense for good music and art. They also instilled discipline and a love for work. Family prayer was a nightly occurrence in the Metilly household. I am very grateful to God for the wonderful upbringing that he gave to me.

After graduating from high school, I enrolled at the New England campus of Thomas Aquinas College. My first year there was also the first year for the College on that campus. (Thomas Aquinas College already had a campus in Southern California.) Thomas Aquinas College is a great books program where all the classes are in seminar form. If one applies oneself to the program, one grows in wonder—a desire to know the cause—, which is the beginning of all real knowledge. As the name suggests, Thomas Aquinas College gives St. Thomas Aquinas pride of place in its curriculum. The program nurtured the love for the teachings of the Angelic Doctor that my father had planted earlier in my life.

The college also offers wonderful opportunities to grow in the spiritual life through great friendships, readily available sacraments, and reverent liturgy. During my years at college, I became ever more aware that I was being called to religious life. I wanted to offer myself to God through the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience. I wanted to live a life of regular prayer and service to others; in other words, I wanted a religious life that was both contemplative and active.

These different desires, together with my own intellectual background, suggested the Order of Preachers as the right fit. My attraction to the order was deepened by reading a life of St. Dominic, who spent his days in the service of men and his nights in prayer to God. During the 13th century, the Catharist heresy was spreading across southern France. God raised up St. Dominic to combat this wicked heresy through his fervent desire to save souls by means of the preaching of sound doctrine. This original mission, gave to the Order of Preachers its unique character: it is contemplative in its study and prayer, and active in the preaching flowing from this contemplation.

No matter how much I wanted the order, however, I had to see if the order wanted me. I attended a come and see weekend at the House of Studies for the Province of St. Joseph in DC, and shortly thereafter started the application process. When the province accepted me, I was unsure as to whether I would be able to enter that year, due to my college debts. Thanks to the Fund for Vocations this question was resolved. I am now spending a year of novitiate with the Dominicans at St. Gertrude Priory in Cincinnati, Ohio. Thank you, generous donors and Fund for Vocations, for making this year possible. God willing, I will serve the Church as a priest and Friar because of your support. You are in my prayers; please pray for me.

Get Updated