Jesuit Father Chuck Frederico, vocation director for the Maryland, New England and New York Provinces of the Society of Jesus, was a recent guest on “The Busted Halo Show with Fr. Dave Dwyer” on Sirius Radio.
In addition to discussing the Jesuit formation process, Fr. Frederico shared his own vocation story.
Fr. Frederico explained that after high school he went to the Culinary Institute of America in New York, which had previously been a Jesuit novitiate, St. Andrew-on-Hudson.
Before attending, one of Fr. Frederico’s high school teachers, a diocesan priest, told him to do three things when he arrived. One, to take notice of the “AMDG” — which stands for Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (“For the greater glory of God”), the motto of the Society of Jesus — written on the front door. Fr. Frederico recognized this from his grade school days. “I’d been writing that on the top of my loose leaf since first grade because the nuns I had, the sisters of St. Joseph, were founded by the Jesuits.”
His teacher also said in the small chapel there would be a window of St. Aloysius Gonzaga receiving first communion from St. Charles Borromeo. Fr. Frederico recognized this from his grammar school days as well, as he attended St. Charles Borrmeo.
Third, his teacher asked Fr. Frederico to read a book on Jesuit philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and Fr. Frederico was fascinated by his life.
After culinary school, he went to Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia to study food marketing. “I met the Jesuits in spirit at the Culinary Institute and in the flesh at Saint Joe’s,” Fr. Frederico said.
Fr. Frederico was planning to have his own restaurant, but God had different plans.
“I was fascinated by these guys [the Jesuits]. I had six different Jesuits in the classroom, and each of them taught with such passion,” he said.
By his senior year, Fr. Frederico was applying to the Jesuits. Listen to the whole segment with Fr. Frederico online.