Ryan Kerr, C.S.C.



Hometown: Ada, MI

Year in Formation: Deacon

High School: Forest Hill Eastern (Ada, MI), 2013

College: University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN), 2017

College Major: Theology and English

Graduate School: University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN)

Graduate Degree: M.Div.

Patron Saint: Thomas Aquinas; St. Thomas is my confirmation saint and his theological writings and poetry (like his Eucharistic hymns) continue to illuminate and inspire my faith today.

Favorite Movie: Cloud Atlas, Into the Wild

Favorite Books: For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, Portal of the Mystery of Hope by Charles Péguy, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favorite Music: Mumford and Sons

Hobbies: Reading, writing, NBA basketball, movies

Most Memorable Prayer/Liturgy you have Attended: I attended my Notre Dame rector’s ordination my freshman year. Various moments of the liturgy, including the songs, stuck in my head and haunted me for the next couple years of my discernment. There was both a joyful levity and a graced weightiness to that “yes” to God — the self-gift and the commitment — that I have never forgotten.

Place of Pilgrimage you Most Want to Visit and why: The Holy Land: Jesus walked on this earth and we can literally go be in those places. What more could we ask for?

Favorite Way to Pray: Journaling with Scripture

Favorite Devotion: Divine Mercy Chaplet

What Drew you to Holy Cross: God. Ultimately, I feel like Holy Cross’ spirituality is devotion to the foundations of Christianity: imitation of Jesus, hope in the Cross, and the intercession of the Holy Family. Our charism as educators in the faith is directly meant to be the mission to proclaim the Gospel to the world. It’s so simple, yet it means everything to our faith.

Your Vocation Story:My junior year of college, I told my spiritual director that I believed that God wanted me to be a Holy Cross priest and that I was going to fight it. My discernment ultimately went the way all things will go: God won. Discerning our vocation — whatever it is — can often feel like a competition between God’s will and our own desires. Real discernment is coming to understand that God wants a fuller life for us than we want for ourselves and that there is no competition with God, as if he were against us. I was a stubborn, idealistic, and argumentative teenager. To put it simply, God won me over not by being more powerful, but by inviting me into a love that changed my life and made me more open, thoughtful, and compassionate. Coming into Holy Cross was both a discovery of a place where I felt at home and taking that next step to imagine my future through God’s eyes.

Ways that you resonate with the Holy Cross charism, “Educators in the Faith”: I believe to be Educators in the Faith is to, as our Constitutions say, help people discover life’s deepest longings. We, as closest servants and neighbors, seek to encourage people to see the power of Providence in their lives so that they can recognize God’s love at work for them and claim their destiny in Jesus Christ, and so that we may prepare the world for times better than these by making God known, loved, and served for the salvation of souls.

One aspect of Holy Cross spirituality that speaks to you the most and why: The Cross. The Cross is at the heart of Holy Cross spirituality. Bl. Basil Moreau consistently invited the members of Holy Cross to give thanks for the many crosses which they encountered in their lives and ministries. Every cross, every burden, struggle, suffering, and trial, can be a sign of God’s love. If we seek the compassionate and Sacred Heart of Jesus, we can discover the depth of God’s mercy, which meets us where we are and transforms our afflictions in the glory of Christ’s Passion. Once we open our own hearts to this truth, we can bear with hope the Cross and meet others weighed down by their crosses with empathy and encouragement.

Favorite Verse:“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:22-28

Favorite Quote: “Let us take things as we find them: let us not attempt to distort them into what they are not… We cannot make facts. All our wishing cannot change them. We must use them…A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault.” – St. John Henry Newman

Favorite Bl. Basil or St. André Quote: “If we were truly worthy of our vocation, far from dreading these crosses, we would be more eager to accept them than to receive a relic of the very wood that our Saviour sanctified by His blood. Let us not allow ourselves, then, to be discouraged by trials … all these are but so many relics of the sacred wood of the true cross.” -Blessed Basil Moreau

How can visitors to this page pray for you? This year, I am professing final vows and being ordained a deacon and eventually a priest. Please pray for me, that I may enter into the gift and the commitment of these moments well and that they may be sources of grace for my whole life.