Center for Discernment: A Close Knit Community Within DeSales

By Tiffany Sellers
The Minstrel

The Center for Discernment first began as a pre-theologate program but has expanded to include women as well. Fr. John Harvey, OSFS offered the idea for the this type of program to the Philosophy and Theology departments after he was involved with a similar program at Florida’s Ave Maria University. Dr. Stephen Loughlin volunteered to further the research on the program and developed the Center for Discernment which includes both men and women and the proposal was approved.

The planning for the program began in the spring of 2006, and this year was the first of operation for the Center for Discernment. Fr. Chris Hudgin and Sister Audrey Frances also run the program and live in Brisson Hall along with all the members.

Sister Audrey Francis recently became involved with the Center when she was offered to stay as a guest here at DeSales and work with the Center. Sister Francis was at her Motherhouse in France when she received this opportunity and was very excited to join the community this past summer. “I am very glad that we have a little community here to support this life of faith and love,” said Sister Francis.

The group currently includes 14 people total, 10 women and four men. Everyone involved in this prestigious organization lives in Brisson Hall and pray together in the mornings and evenings, as well as attend 5:00pm mass every day. The Center for Discernment encourages student involvement in campus activities and one’s spiritual life. Other activities that this program contains are scripture sharing, in which the students read scriptures and then have group discussions. Monthly presentations concerning vocation, prayer, discernment, and sometimes marriage are given as well.

To become involved with the Center for Discernment, an application including an essay of why one would like to be involved, and what contributions one can bring forth, as well as two letters of recommendation are needed. The application time is for one year; however reapplying is not necessary. Freshman can apply for a semester if they are interested, and they will then continue to live in their freshman dorm until they are able to move to the Center’s place of operation, Brisson. The Center received 20 applicants in its first year, and it hopes to expand with a goal of bringing in 10 new individuals every year.

“We remember in prayer the people on campus, students, faculty, and staff, and we remember the intentions of people in need,” said Father Hudgin, when asked about the Center for Discernment.

The Center for Discernment is currently accepting applications for anyone who is interested in becoming a part of their organization for the 2009-2010 academic year. To inquire about further information on the organization and download an application, one can visit their website at, or talk to Fr. Hudgin, Sister Audrey Frances, and Dr. Stephen Loughlin.

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