Many students have noticed a bearded, white-robed Dominican celebrating Mass on campus.
Brother Ian Bordenave has joined campus ministry as assistant rector to the Church of the Incarnation as well as Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) Director. He will also hear confessions and celebrate Mass with Father Don Dvorak.
Br. Bordenave cites the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal as the inspiration for his short hair and long beard.
“They looked like pretty holy men, so I thought I’d give it a try,” he said. “If you have Beardbuddy beard oil, a monthly trim and a Kent comb, you’ll be in good shape.”
Br. Bordenave grew up in Mississippi and Florida.
He credits his devout Catholic upbringing as a major force in his adolescent life, along with the military.
“Everyone in my family has either served in the military or married someone in the military, mostly Air Force and Army,” Br. Bordenave said.
Of course, that includes himself.
Br. Bordenave was a commissioned officer and served in the U.S. Army for four years after graduating from the University of Dayton, where he received an ROTC scholarship.
He had a pivotal spiritual moment while serving in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
“While I was out on a run, believe it or not, I could hear in my head the voice of John the Baptist saying, ‘a voice of one crying out in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight his paths!’ ” Br. Bordenave said.
Then God gave him an ultimatum.
“ ‘Okay Ian, I’ve been chasing after you all these years to get you to follow the priesthood and religious life,’ ” Br. Bordenave said he heard. ” ‘If you want to make the Army your life, that’s fine, but I would like for you to follow me into the priesthood, but this is the last time I’m going to ask you.’ ”
Looking back, he said he had no choice.
“When He puts it that way, what else do you say to God?” Br. Bordenave said.
He chose the Dominican order because of the spirituality of St. Dominic.
“He blended the spiritual life and the monastic life, coming up with the mendicant life, where brothers live in communities and then go out into the world,” Br. Bordenave said.
He then entered the Aquinas Institute of Theology in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, which is in the Dominican Order’s Province of St. Albert the Great, where he is currently working toward a Doctorate of Ministry in preaching.
His discernment process took 12 years.
“It just seemed interminable to be studying for the priesthood that long, but as the years in formation went by I was grateful for the number of years I had,” Br. Bordenave said. ” I had a lot of growing up to do.”
He was ordained a priest in the province of St. Martin of Tours after a year of study in Berkeley, Calif. and a time as a missionary in Guatemala.
Br. Bordenave requested assignment at the Priory of St. Albert the Great because he found it difficult to balance his pastoral duties and his doctoral studies.
His provincial advisor then suggested he assist in campus ministry at the University of Dallas.
“He talked to President Keefe on my behalf, and I interviewed and he hired me as assistant rector for the Church of the Incarnation,” Br. Bordenave said.
Br. Bordenave says there is a possibility he could teach courses in the pastoral ministry department, but not this year.
He has made his feelings about UD abundantly clear.
“I love it here,” Br. Bordenave said.
His mission for his time at UD is to be present for students.
He wants the student body to know that he uses the title “brother” as a sign of humility.
“It started with Pope Francis’ election,” he said. “I saw how humble he was and thought I could be humbler myself.”