August 11, 2023

Serra Club Vocations Essay

St. Peter Julian Eymard’s example leads student to love of the Eucharist

(Editor’s note: The Indianapolis Serra Club’s annual John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest awards prizes each spring to winning essayists in grades 7-12 in the archdiocese. This week, we continue with the winning entry in the 12th grade.)

By Donovan Hibbeln (Special to The Criterion)

Donovan HibbelnSt. Peter Julian Eymard was a French man born in 1811 during the strong push for an anti-Catholic society. With all of the persecution and discrimination around him, Peter wanted a way to stay happy and faithful.

He found this through God, and specifically, through Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. When Peter was young, he ran away from home and was found in an empty Church at the altar, saying that he was “listening to Jesus.” This is what set Peter on his journey toward a life devoted to Christ.

As Peter grew up, he desired to become a priest. However, his family did not want this due to the continuous persecution of Catholics. Peter became a priest anyway, but found himself unfulfilled. This led him to join the Marist religious community and serve there.

As a Marist, he had a heavy involvement in devotion to the Eucharist and was surrounded by people who shared this love. Whilst continuing to preach the worshiping of Jesus through the Eucharist, Peter had a life-altering experience.

As he was leading a eucharistic devotion, he had a burning connection to the Lord unlike any experience with God he had ever had. Peter felt this love throughout his whole soul and used the desire for a greater connection to the Eucharist to fuel his devotion to Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

Peter advocated for the creation of a Marist community in which the Eucharist was a central focus. But the leaders of the society said that he was not able to do this. Here, Peter realized that he had to leave his beloved community and go off to create a new one.

Peter’s desire for a stronger relationship with Christ in the Eucharist led him to fulfill his vocation and true calling. Peter went on to first establish the Priests of the Blessed Sacrament, which reached out to the old and young about the importance of the sacraments and drew these people toward the Church which valued them.

This practice began to rapidly grow across many cities, leading Peter to establish a second religious order, the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament. This was a community of women devoted to honoring the Eucharist.

After having created these communities, Peter was called to journey to Rome where he discovered the truth that when celebrating the Eucharist, Jesus is sacrificing himself to you as you simultaneously sacrifice yourself to him. This became the central focus of Peter’s preaching and holy adorations for the rest of his life.

St. Peter Julian Eymard’s love for the Eucharist inspires me to have a greater devotion to the sacrifices at play in this sacrament. His story has created a desire in me to fulfill the callings of my life through a devotion to the Eucharist and a sacrifice of my life to Jesus every day.

I wish to take what I have learned from Peter and implement his teachings and determination into my daily life.

(Donovan and his parents, Matthew and Amanda Hibbeln, are members of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis. He recently graduated from Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis and is the 12th-grade division winner in the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2023 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

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