50 Years a Friar: Fr. Jim Van Dorn, OFM Conv.
by Bro. Bob Roddy, OFM Conv., Director
On July 13th, Fr. Jim Van Dorn, celebrated the 50th anniversary of his Solemn Profession of Religious Vows. (In 2017, God willing, he will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.)
Fr. Jim has served in a vast array of ministries in our province: Associate Pastor; Vocation Director, Initial Formation Director, Guardian, Campus Minister, Retreat team member (in three of the four retreat houses run by our province), Spiritual Director and Preacher of Parish Missions.
An avid reader, Fr. Jim takes seriously his duties as a homilist and retreat presenter. His homilies and retreat presentations often reveal some of his own personal journey of faith as well as insights he has gained from his earnest study of Scripture or Christian Spirituality.
I have had the privilege of living with and ministering with Fr. Jim in all three of our retreat centers. When he offered to come to Prior Lake for three weeks in 2007 to help out, one of the retreat team members asked me to describe him. “Let’s put it this way; Fr. Jim is a 220 volt person in a 110 volt world.” Later, that same staff member said to me, “You weren’t kidding. He really is a bundle of positive energy.”
Despite the many painful passages he has had to make in his personal life and his life as a Friar, Fr. Jim remains grateful for the rich life that he has lived. He has made a difference for the better in the lives of countless retreatants and friends of the Retreat Center.