|Fr. Frederick Keiser, LC. |
I was praying the rosary on a plane flying back
home from my first retreat with the Legion of Christ.
As the beads flowed through my hands I couldn’t stop
thinking about what I would refer to later as the
moment. The Moment had taken place less than a week
before on Holy Thursday of 1994. It was very simple.
I knelt down in a special adoration chapel surrounded by
seminarians dressed in cassocks. Inspired by their fervor in prayer,
I really felt that God was truly present there in
Eucharist and I began to talk to Him. I was
in prayer for a while when suddenly I felt a
tremendous peace. A smile spontaneously arose onto my face, and
the idea popped into my head that I would be
really happy as one of these seminarians. The words “you
will be happy here” kept repeating in my head. This
was the moment. I couldn’t deny that it happened.
started the landing process and I finished my rosary and
stowed it into my pocket. I got off the plane
accompanied by a flight attendant because I was only ten
years old. I looked out the airport window and saw
snow, which really surprised me because it was April and
it never snows in April in Kansas. I got my
bags and waited, with the flight attendant nearby, for my
parents to come pick me up. Time passed by and
my parents still had not arrived. I thought that surely
they were just held up by the snow.
police car pulled up to the airport entrance got out
and talked to the flight attendant that was watching over
me. After showing her a document he came over to
me and said, “Hello there, son. Your Dad couldn’t come
pick you up so he asked me to.” The officer
was really nice and the flight attendant told me that
it was OK to go with him, so I did.
To keep me calm the officer showed me some of
his fire arms in trunk which I thought was cool.
Then when we got in the car he asked me
if I would like to go with the siren on
just for fun. I said, “Sure” and we went zooming
to my house. My ten year old brain was not
quite catching on to what was happening.
|Fr. Frederick Keiser, LC. |
We pulled up to
the drive way of my house and I walked through
the front door and I saw my brothers and sisters
together with my dad all crying. My Dad immediately gave
me hug and when I asked what was going on
he pulled me into my room and sat me down.
“Your Mom passed away in a car accident on the
way to pick you up from the airport”, he said
with tears in his eyes. “She hit an icy bridge
and the van flew over the side.”
I was crushed. The
only thing I could do was cry, and as I
cried I thought of the moment. “Was that even real?”
I thought. The peace that I felt when I thought
about the moment on the plane was not there anymore.
Now when I thought about the moment doubts and questions
arose. How could God call me and then take away
my Mom? It was a very difficult day for me,
my Dad and my five brothers and sisters. As these
doubts and painful moments passed, I asked God to give
me a sign to clear things up and show me
what to do.
The next day we went to the funeral
home to pray over her body. We prayed the rosary.
I looked at my Mom’s corpse as we prayed and
I saw that they had placed in her hands a
rosary. That was the same rosary that she used to
have in the car with her. Mom had the habit
of praying the rosary in the car when she was
by herself. I found out later on that she passed
away with that rosary in her hand.
In the days
that followed every time I prayed the rosary or just
had one in my hand I felt like my Mom
was really close to me. It was as if Mary
would bring her down to me every time I prayed
it. The day before the funeral I was praying the
rosary in our parish with my Mom’s body present and
I had another moment. I felt a tremendous peace as
I prayed. I remember praying and knowing that the moment
was real, that God was really calling me to be
a priest in the Legion. Again I felt that I
would be really happy being a priest even after all
that had happened. I knew that my Mom would be
She has been with me this whole journey toward
the priesthood. There have been more tough moments and all
I needed to do in those moments was pull out
my rosary. I have continued responding to the moment day
after day. I felt in my heart that God told
me, “You will be happy here”. Even with all the
difficult moments that I have been through I can say
with confidence (and with my rosary in hand) “I am
truly happy in the Legion.”
Fr. Frederick Keiser, L.C., was
born on May 31, 1983, in Dodge City, Kansas, United
States of America. He entered the Legionaries of Christ as
a novice in Cheshire, Connecticut, U.S.A., on September 15, 1999,
to move after to the noviciate at Salamanca, Spain. He
studied Classical Humanities in Salamanca, Spain. Has a degree in
philosophy and theology from the Pontifical Ateneum Regina Apostolorum. He
has been member of the team of formators of Inmaculate
Conception Apostolic School in Center Harbor, New Hampshire (U.S.A) and
the Directorate General of the Legion. He currently serves as
the youth minister in Santiago, Chile.