Greetings! I’m Father John Zagarella, O.Praem, and I’ll be on this Vocation Blog through the month of November. There are many aspects of my life as a Norbertine to highlight, but for me, the best place to start is at the beginning.
What drew me into the Order was my experience with the Norbertines as a student from 1972-1976 at Bishop Neumann High School in South Philadelphia. What I saw as a teenager were so many examples over my four years at Neumann of these guys who were down to earth, approachable and friendly with us as students and with each other. They truly seemed to like one another and enjoy working together. That spoke volumes to me, and made me want to know more about this Community of priests and brothers.
I eventually spent several weekends at Daylesford on Vocation Discernment retreats. Those were truly great experiences. It was so powerful experiencing the daily life of a Norbertine! So it was very easy for me to make my decision when I thought that religious life was indeed the Lord’s desire for me. I eventually made application to the Order and entered our Affiliate Program in the summer of 1978. What a terrific year that was living with Fr. Tom Rossi, O.Praem. at a house that was then on Daylesford’s property that we called Emmaus.
I’ll be back the week of November 7th with snippets of life as an Affiliate. In the meantime, I would really encourage anyone who may be thinking that religious life is where the Lord is leading you to come and spend a weekend with us. We would love to host you. Have a great week ahead! Be safe.