Father Ron honored in photo journal, ‘Men Who Inspire’

By Mimi Whetstone

Madonna’s own Father Ron DesRosiers is one of only five men from the Detroit area honored in St. Lawrence Seminary’s photo journal, “Men Who Inspire.”

“I was surprised and privileged to be considered,” DesRosiers said.

The book was a project completed by the alumni of St. Lawrence Seminary High School, asking those who were compelled to tell a story about someone who served as inspiration in their life. Alumnus John Riss told the organization of DesRosier’s positive influence on his life.

“I was a 10-year-old boy in Detroit, and I met Ron at our perish,” Riss said. “I was just a boy in the pew and Ron was the best preacher I had ever heard. He was so different than our parent’s priests. He was so alive. As a 10-year-old, I usually thought someone thirty-something was anciently old, but I thought he was so cool and so kind. He had a style unlike any other priest that I had met.”

After working in the church in seventh grade, Riss got to know DesRosiers on a personal level, outside of the church, building the foundation of a life-long friendship.

“When I was at a real crisis point in my life, I knew that the only person who would understand me was Father Ron,” Riss said. “I thought if any one can love me, I know Father Ron will be loving, and if Ron is that loving, then God has to be more loving. I turned to Ron during a really dark moment and he turned my life around through his kindness and understanding. He really reflected the love of God to me, a troubled teenager. Through that bond, we grew into very special friends.”

The recipients of the dedication pages are men who exude the convictions of St. Francis by demonstrating significant, outstanding contributions to his profession, vocation or personal life, cultivating an evident pursuit of Christ-centered thinking and lifestyle, dedicating his life to developing the mind of Christ in others, and exhibiting an enthusiasm or vigor which typifies and represents the spirit of his Catholic foundation.

“I felt delighted, grateful, stunned,” DesRosiers recalled, learning of his inclusion. “When I saw the other recipients, I felt totally unworthy.”

Those who know DesRosiers, however, would strongly disagree.

“I believe Father DesRosiers is very worthy of inclusion in the book ‘Men Who Inspire,’” said Madonna University President Sister Rose Marie Kujawa. “I have heard several of his homilies and noted the positive influence Father has had over the participants. I myself felt deeply inspired by his gentle words and depth of empathy he elicits in the people.”

Riss wrote DesRosiers’ dedication page, and arranged for a photographer to complete the finished product, published in Dec. 2010.

“I know he’s popular there at Madonna,” Riss said. “I’ve never been there to witness him in action, but I know him well enough and I’ve heard him preach many times. I know he can bring any subject to life, always with a gentleness and understanding. He has so much kindness in him. I’m so glad he’s being honored like this.”

Photo credit to Jason Lee