July 11, 2013
Communications and Marketing
Bro. John Paul James, O.S.B., became a full member of Saint Anselm Abbey on Thursday, July 11, when he professed solemn vows during a Mass celebrated at the Abbey Church on the campus of Saint Anselm College.
Standing before his 23 confreres from the monastic community, Bro. John Paul took the three vows of the Order of St. Benedict: stability, obedience and conversatio morum. The Benedictines are the only Catholic religious order to profess conversatio, which means conversion of life and represents an ongoing dedication to growth in monastic life.
Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B., welcomed Bro. John Paul, saying the monastic life offers humble, but profound work. "The monastic life, well lived, is a bright beacon guiding others to Christ," he said.
Bro. John Paul is from Concord, N.H. and is the son of Douglas and Paula James. He was known as Cory James when he graduated from Bishop Brady High School in 1998, and then earned a bachelor of arts in communication from Southern New Hampshire University.
He joined the monastery as an observer in 2007, after working at the Lambert Funeral Home, in Manchester, and taking courses in funeral service at the Funeral Institute of the Northeast, in Norwood, Mass.
"I had a good job, I had friends, I had all the signs of success you could want," he said. "Yet I wasn't happy. There was an underlying truth not being fulfilled."
After a month as an observer, Bro. John Paul became a postulant and then a novice, learning the monastic life and taking philosophy and theology courses at Saint Anselm College. He took his religious name for Blessed John Paul II, the late pope. Read more about becoming a monk.
He spent five years as a junior monk before petitioning the community to make his final vows. "This is a beautiful way to live a life that, as St. Benedict says, is narrow at the outset, but leads to love," Bro. John Paul said.
The Order of St. Benedict in New Hampshire was established in 1889 and founded Saint Anselm College. Bro. John Paul is in his final year at St. John's Seminary, in Brighton, Mass., where he is studying to become a priest.