31 Years of Augustinian Brotherhood
By Jack Hibbard
In this Year of Consecrated Life, Brother Jack Hibbard, O.S.A., reflects on his past 31 years of ministry in the Augustinian Brotherhood. He offered the reflection below on the Feasts of St. Augustine and St. Monica Celebration (August 27, 2015) at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago.
As we celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life and a milestone anniversary year for our Province, our 75th, it gives me an opportunity to reflect a bit on my life as an Augustinian Brother. Just a couple of days ago, on August 25th, I celebrated my 31st year of profession. These years have been blessed years for me. I have been blessed to live these years with men who have been on a journey, to live together, one in mind and heart intent upon God.
My vocation goes back further than these 31 years. The Augustinians have been a part of my family's before I was born. When I was little my Uncle John was ordained an Augustinian priest, over in Rome, in December of 1955. Even though he is no longer an Augustinian or a priest, his example still lives in me today.
I entered the seminary at Tolentine after graduating from Mendel Catholic here in Chicago (Go Monarchs!). I was in the first novitiate class in St. Louis, professing vows December 19, 1973. When the time came to consider making my final commitment to the Order, I began to question my vocation. I entered right after high school without ever having to support myself financially or live on my own seriously to date. I decided to take a leave of absence. I will tell you, though, if God wants, He's gonna get you. After about 2 ½ years, I was invited to dinner with the Mendel community and all those feelings returned. I needed to see for myself if they were real, and I returned. And here I am 31 years later.
Over the years I have mainly been assigned to two of our high schools, St. Rita of Cascia here in Chicago and Cascia Hall School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I am currently stationed. I have held the positions of Dean of Students in both schools, Student Activity Director/Student Government Moderator at St. Rita and Chaplain at Cascia Hall. I was also involved in helping to bring the Kairos retreat program to both schools, a program I am still involved with at Cascia today. Kairos not only has made a difference in the lives of many of our students and teachers but a difference in my own life. Through the talks and activities of the retreat, watching and listening to the students share their faith journey only helped me in my own faith journey. I have come to let go and let God take control when needed.
As an Augustinian brother, I have been privileged to be involved in our student’s lives, and am still involved now that they are adults and raising their own families. I have been there for their joys and successes and also when times are tough as one who will listen and hopefully guide. My presence in their lives I hope brings the Lord a little closer to them each time we see each other.
In community I have served as treasurer and sub-prior. Currently at Cascia Hall I am the treasurer and the Prior of the community. I am honored and thankful for the trust put in me to hold this position and with the help of God I will be there and guide the men in my care the best I can.
My life as an Augustinian Brother has been wonderful. I have been totally supported along the way by my mother and late father, my brothers and sisters. I have been challenged and cared for by my Augustinian brothers and the many friends both past and present. Most of all, the love of God I receive from all the people in my life keeps me moving forward and my heart alive.