AS New Year fireworks lose their glow Brisbane’s Ashley Higgins will ignite another faith-filled pathway this month.
Turning 22 on Australia Day, “Ash” begins formation with the Marist Brothers among a community of 11 men in Melbourne.
Working as a campus minister at Mt Maria College, Mitchelton, for the past two years and as a member of the boarding staff community at Marist College, Ashgrove, the driven young man spoke of his motivation.
“My drive is derived from being a witness to the work of Jesus that surrounds my daily experience of the extraordinary moments of ordinary life,” he said.
“(This is) what keeps me getting up in the morning.”
From secondary schooling at St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace, Spring Hill, Ash moved into aviation studies.
He said that being a commercial pilot was enjoyable but led to “a developing emptiness”, and realised it “was perhaps a hobby rather than a career”.
Positive Gregory Terrace experiences and influences were always at the heart of Ash’s long-term decisions.
“I spent eight years as a student at Terrace and believe the experiences of faith development, service, ministry and especially community offered by the college (were) crucial in my adolescent formation and social outlook,” he said.
“Throughout my time (there) the greatest inspiration to my life, my vocation and my future was Christian Brother Damien Price who continuously challenged, comforted and nurtured me through my adolescent and young adult years.
“It was Damien’s words that first began to quench my thirst for religious understanding and identity as I faced a crisis in faith at 15 years of age about the perception and image of God. “More recently, for the past three years discerning with the Marist Brothers … whether this journey is for me is Brother Tony Leon who continues to challenge and support the choices that I make in exploring what life has in store for me.”
Admitting there have been “challenges” discerning his vocation, Ash said he “looks back … (and has found his) journey has fallen into place with the Marist Brothers”.
“There are a number of young men in various stages of conversation and formation and we gather twice throughout the year to share stories and common interest,” he said.
“This has been a huge benefit to the energy that has formed around the idea of religious life as we share the journey together as companions.”
After his 2011 postulancy Ash and others will then discern his entrance into two years of novitiate studies in Canberra.
The beaming young man of faith is hopeful he will “continue to make a difference in the lives of young people”.
“Becoming a (Marist) Brother is about bringing my contemporary understanding of the Church to young people and journeying with the young people I will encounter,” Ash said.
“It is about service – living out our faith in action – rather than talking about it.”
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