Cloistered Dominican Nuns Corpus Christi Monastery

Discernment Day Preview: Can You Hear Me Now?

2015.10.01 Discernment Day Preview - Fr. Augustine Picture

Listening for God’s voice and discerning His will for your life is not always easy. God speaks in gentle whispers to the heart, but He is also persistent to shout through our deafness. This is one topic we’ll be tackling with one of our speakers, Fr. Augustine Hilander, O.P., during the upcoming discernment day. A topic Fr. Augustine has learned well through his life experience.

Fr. Augustine grew up in Southern California. He describes his childhood as rather ordinary, though his parents did make it a bit more interesting. His mother had always wanted a good education and made it a priority to see Fr. Augustine received every opportunity for one. He graduated from Carden Academy in Huntington Beach and Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana. His parents went to numerous churches and temples in and around Orange County looking for a path for their spiritual life. Still, before college, Fr. Augustine was never baptized nor catechized in any religious faith.

As he approached high school graduation and began looking at colleges, he found Thomas Aquinas College, a great books college with a discussion method of instruction in Santa Paula, California. Through his curriculum interests, Fr. Augustine discovered the faith undergirding Western civilization, the same faith animating the students to welcome him. The chaplain, Fr. Thomas Conn, S.J., kept an open door, giving Fr. Augustine opportunities to ask anything and answered his religious questions.

In 1997, Fr. Augustine was received into the Catholic Church at the Easter vigil. It was the most important day of his life. During first communion, he asked God what He had planned; he knew God asked for nothing less than everything. During the next few years of college, he started discerning God’s will for his future. While considering priestly and religious life, he never ruled out marriage. Then, with a Dominican chaplain, Fr. Bart de la Torre, O.P., he visited St. Albert Priory, the home of the Dominican student brothers of the Western Province. There he found overwhelming joy and love of a life lived solely for God.

What made him happiest in college, he found in the Dominican Order: a common life of contemplation and discussion in order to preach the Christian life. Being a priest is how he portrays the love of God in the world. Since his ordination in 2008, he has ministered as chaplain for the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon and as parochial vicar at Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage, Alaska. He is currently assigned as parochial vicar to St. Raymond of Peñafort Church in Menlo Park, California. His favorite things include good movies, walking, talking with people one-on-one, and the sacrament of Confession.

Time is running to register for our October 10th discernment day. Contact our vocation directress, Sr. Joseph Marie at for more information.

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