Friar commitment: Profile of Brother Joe Ruiz, O.S.A

Brother Joe Ruiz, O.S.A will come right out and tell you: “Religious life is not easy, and the same can be said for any vocation: married, single.” But if he sees that faithfulness exacts a cost, he is equally quick to say, “I am convinced it’s worth living in the 21st century. Our world needs healing and positive role models that reflect Christ’s love without discrimination.”

Brother Joe hails from a Mexican American family of eight in Texas, where he learned the traditional folk dances of Mexico he now teaches to kids in Chicago. That’s a side ministry, though, to his main gig as campus minister to students at St. Rita of Cascia High School in Chicago. At the close of each busy day filled with young people, he heads home for meals and common prayers with the Augustinian friars—his brothers.

What drew you to religious life?
Seeing a group of dedicated, faith-filled, and hopeful men living together in an ancient but modern way of life.

How did your family and friends respond to you becoming a brother?
My family and most of my friends do not fully understand my vocation to religious life, and I do not expect them to. I am OK with that. My vocation is a mystery, and it keeps them intrigued.

Favorite part of your current ministry?
Being invited by theology teachers to speak to students about Saint Augustine’s Confessions and about my own vocation as a brother.

Prayer form you like best?
Reflecting on daily sacred scripture and journaling.

What do you do for fun?
I enjoy hiking. I also enjoy hanging out with my Augustinian brothers as well as with friends from other religious communities. They give me a sense of connection and belonging.

Favorite food?
Texas barbecue.

Best part of living in community?
Doing and sharing ministry, whether it’s shoveling the Chicago snow together or contributing to one another’s ministries in Augustinian schools or parishes.

Any words of wisdom for those considering religious life?
Pay attention to the events and people that enter your life. God speaks to us through those means; this is how I came to respond to God’s call in my life.




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