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The Society of St. Peter Apostle

In 1883, Stephanie and Jeanne Bigard answered a desperate plea for help from the Missions. Within five years the Bigards, and other donors, were sending funds to seminaries across Southeast Asia.

Fast forward to 2017 and the Society of St. Peter Apostle still nurtures local vocations in the Missions worldwide. Here, we present the story of one young man who depends on The Society for half his tuition: $700 a year.

They call themselves ‘brothers’ though they were raised in different parts of Sri Lanka. From city and seashore, peaceful and war-torn, their upbringings could not be more different. Their common bond is their deep love of God and their desire to serve Him as priests.

Another commonality is their dependence on YOU – the benefactors of the Society of St. Peter Apostle –  to achieve their goal of becoming one of their country’s local clergy.

Josiah Roninson comes from the harsh conditions of a tea plantation high in the mountains of the island country. To him, a local clergy – educated by the Society – is important because they can say to the people, “I have experienced your suffering. I know your life.”

Raised in a faith filled family, Josiah saw from a young age that it was important to be involved in parish life but never thought of himself as a priest. On a family visit to a cousin, who is a Missionary Sister of Charity, his eyes were opened to what true service to God’s poor meant.

As his family toured the Sisters’ home for the sick, his father cautioned the children to avert their eyes. Suddenly, a naked man ran towards them – screaming and disoriented. His Sister cousin calmly took the man by the hand, bathed him, wrapped him in a sarong and soothed him, never losing her smile or eye contact with him.

When he returned home, Josiah spoke to his priest about what he had witnessed and they discussed God’s mercy to those on the margins. It was in a mission outstation like this one that Josiah first felt God’s call to the priesthood.