SUBIACO -- Father Brendan Miller, OSB, was driving across the state of Arkansas on his way to visit a community of monks in another state. As he reached the horizon atop a steep hill in Logan County, he was overwhelmed at the natural beauty that lay before him: a spectacular rainbow glistened above Subiaco Abbey.
From that moment on Father Brendan knew the answer to his spiritual quest.
"Some day, God willing, I'll be a member of this Benedictine community," he said.
A "war baby," Brendan Miller was born in California on March 23, 1945, to an American father and an Irish mother, William and Carmel (Quinn) Miller. Through the years, he and his parents kept in close contact with Irish relatives and friends, visiting many times with them in Ireland and the U.S.
Like many young men growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, Miller found himself searching for that inner peace in a world at odds with itself. After earning a degree in business administration in California, he spent many years as a successful merchandising agent.
He always loved to read, and in doing so he became interested in psychology. He found the study of this subject in college to be contradictory to his seemingly successful business career.
"I was living in denial," he said. "If it had not been for the prayers of my mother," he added, "(I) would probably still be living in denial."
By the 1980s Miller was able to say "yes" to the Lord's invitation.
"I entered Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hale's Corner, Wis.," he said, "to study for the priesthood for the Diocese of Nashville, Tenn."
He was ordained in Nashville on Nov. 12, 1983, by Bishop James D. Niedergeses.
For 10 years Father Miller worked in various aspects of priestly ministry.
"These were happy years for me," he said.
But as time went on he began to feel that something was still missing in his life. As a student in third grade "I recall Sister asking what we wanted to be when we grew up." His hand shot up immediately with the answer, "a monk." It was not until this moment in his priesthood that this childhood desire was awakened in his consciousness.
When his bishop allowed him to take a leave of absence to test his monastic vocation, Father Miller knew where the Holy Spirit was leading him. He asked Abbot Raphael DeSalvo, OSB, and the community if he could test his monastic calling at Subiaco Abbey. On Feb. 2, 1995, Father Miller professed his vows as a monk of Subiaco Abbey, retaining his baptismal name Brendan.
As a Benedictine monk, Father Brendan's life is filled with daily opportunities to live out his Benedictine hospitality while remaining faithful to his vows. Over the past decade he has been doing this in retreat work, spiritual direction, counseling, pastoral assignments, chaplaincy and teaching.
Currently he is a spiritual counselor and religion teacher at Subiaco Academy.
"God is good," said Father Brendan. "Today, I seek the mercy of God and fellowship in this community." And he adds with a gleeful Irish smile, "God willing, I'll do the same tomorrow."
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