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A Heart on Fire:
Nicholas Albin, SJ

Nicholas Albin, SJ
It was the spring semester of my junior year at Xavier University. After completing an essay on Descartes for my philosophy course, I submitted it by email to my philosophy professor, who happened to be a Jesuit priest. A few hours later, my philosophy professor replied:

Thank you for your essay on Descartes. By the way, have you ever thought about becoming a Jesuit priest?

Reading his email both surprised and intrigued me. Initially, I was unsure of what to make of this question of becoming a Jesuit priest. I was surprised that someone would consider me for a path in life that I had never considered for myself. While growing in my Catholic faith was always important to me as a college student, I never imagined myself pursuing the priesthood. I was a business student, and my dream was to pursue a career in finance after graduation. At the same time, I was also intrigued by this idea of potentially becoming a Jesuit priest. I wondered, “Does he know something about me that I don’t?” I was curious, and I wanted to know what it could possibly mean.

Nicholas Albin, SJ, meets with a student at Loyola University Chicago.
Nicholas Albin, SJ, meets with a student at Loyola University Chicago.

Interestingly enough, shortly after that Jesuit sparked the question of Jesuit priesthood to me, I began to notice other people in my life—friends, teachers, and mentors—all ask me the same question: “Nick, have you ever thought about becoming a Jesuit priest?” I continued being both surprised and intrigued. I wondered, “Why do people keep asking me about becoming a Jesuit priest?” After hearing this question posed to me enough times, I thought, “Maybe these people see something in me that I don’t see in myself.” While only 21 years old at the time, I thought I had my life all planned out. But now, I was inspired to explore this possibility and to consider a vocation that so many people believed that I could be a good candidate for.

I yearned to find clarity and understanding of this question that many people continued to ask. Throughout my senior year at Xavier, I met with a Jesuit priest for spiritual direction. I went on a few vocation retreats. I prayed…a lot! I also read the spiritual autobiography of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Through these experiences, I finally discovered that God was calling me to use my gifts and talents to become a Jesuit priest for the betterment and service to others. After graduating college, I was at peace to enter the Society of Jesus and pursue a path toward becoming a Jesuit priest. I felt great confidence and excitement in my decision—even more than compared to the life path I had drawn up for myself prior to considering a Jesuit vocation.

As I near my priestly ordination after almost 10 years in Jesuit formation, I still look back in gratitude about how my vocation to become a Jesuit priest found me through these incredible people whom I was blessed to cross paths with during my undergraduate studies. Had it not been for their asking if I had ever thought about becoming a Jesuit priest, I may not have ever realized this call which God was inviting me to. Their question helped inspire God’s invitation within my mind and heart to pursue this vocation.

To view all Heart on Fire reflections, please click here.