Post by Patrick Downes, MDiv ‘23
Editor’s Note: For students who have been out of school for a few years or are well into their careers, applying to divinity school can be an especially difficult decision. Here is a piece from one of our current MDiv students, Patrick Downes, about his experience deciding to apply to HDS. For a more directed approach to the application process, including a suggested timeline, please see this earlier post from July 2020.
What becomes of a person who flees a call to vocation, flees the Divine, forever fights and retreats? For me, it felt like an endless winter, an overexposure to cold. I wrestled in snow and ice. The moment I turned in my application to HDS, a moment when my acceptance seemed remote, turned into a moment of quiet. I had stopped fighting, for a little while, with God, and began to suffer less. The discernment that became my statement of purpose, my application, belongs to a surrender.
Last November, fifty-years-old, I attended the Theological Education Day at HDS, or how it is currently known, Open House for Prospective Students. I walked from my hotel in Back Bay to the Academy of Arts and Sciences, three miles more or less. I chanced the unfamiliar roads, feeling out Cambridge on a weekday morning. I wanted to think and prepare my heart, to cross the Charles on foot. Walking is for me a form of devotion, a time for attentiveness and witness. To attend the day was to advance toward vocation, to situate myself within a scholarly community that embraces exploration of devotion and the future of religion.Continue reading