Following two years of graduate studies at the Catholic Theological Union, Augustinians in formation spend a year in a position of active service within one of the Order’s ministries. This time, called the Pastoral Year, affords them an opportunity to apply and practice what they have gained in class, before returning back to complete their master’s degree.
For the 2018-2019 academic year, the Augustinian Malvern Preparatory School in Pennsylvania, welcomed Brother William Gabriel, OSA. In the most recent issue of the Malvern Magazine, they published a wonderful feature on Br. Bill’s and his work at the school. The article text appears in full below, but you can also find it by clicking here.
There is a new friendly face around campus this semester. And, if he wasn’t wearing his Augustinian habit, he may be mistaken as just another senior. Brother Bill Gabriel, O.S.A., 26, is spending his pastoral year of Augustinian formation as assistant campus minister, theology teacher and assistant ninth grad basketball coach at Malvern.
“I love being part of the Malvern community, and helping students get to know Saint Augustine and see how his teachings are such a part of a Malvern education,” Brother Bill says. “Following graduation from college, I spent a few years at Archmere Academy in Delaware as a campus minister and basketball coach, so it is great to be back in high school.”
How did Brother Bill decide to join the Augustinians and where is he on his formation journey? As he tells it, he knew that he wanted to be an Augustinian from a very early age. Growing up in New England and attending an Augustinian-led parish, he remembers telling his father, “I am going to be that guy” referring to the Augustinian pastor. Fast forward to Fall 2015, following graduation from Villanova and a few years in the working world, he joined the Augustinians. First as a pre-novice and then as a novice, he professed his simple vows on August 5, 2017. This step then led him to his first two years of a four year period of theological studies. This year he takes a break from his theological studies for his pastoral year at Malvern.
“My experience of the Augustinian spirit at Malvern has been exceptional - a spirit of loving hospitality, vibrant community, and a deep, communal desire and search for truth,” he says. “It has been a gift to learn from and walk with the Malvern Prep community; serving as a great affirmation of my call to the Augustinian way of life.”
Brother Bill will resume his theological studies after leaving Malvern at the end of this school year. If all goes well, as we know it will, he will profess his solemn vows next year and be ordained as a transitional deacon. Finally, after his seven year of preparation, he will be ordained to the priesthood and take up his new ministry.
“Malvern takes great joy in having Brother Bill with us this year,” said Malvern Head of School Father Donald Reilly, OSA. “It is truly a gift to have him present, modeling the Augustinian way of life for our students.”