Brother John Martin Steilberg will make first Profession to the Dominican Order on Sunday, August 9 along with five other classmates. Brother John is the son of William (deceased) and Theresa Ann Steilberg of Louisville, KY and the youngest of the siblings. The Steilbergs are members of St. Agnes Church. Before entering the novitiate John attended St. Louis Bertrand Church in downtown Louisville.
Growing up, Brother John attended Catholic grade and high school before enrolling at Bellarmine University in Louisville, where he graduated with a degree in history. John spent a number of years teaching and coaching and was eventually hired at Ball State University and then at Western Michigan University where he served as assistant athletic director as well as an administrator for the football program. While serving in this capacity at Ball State he also obtained a MA in Sports Administration. Before entering the Order, Brother John worked for the PGA of America-Vahlalla Golf Course.
John will say that the intuition of pursuing religious life was in his heart for many years while he was working. He joined the Dominican Laity while in Michigan, and still the sense of making commitment to the Order as a friar persisted. He decided he needed to trust the Lord in this calling and applied to the Central Province of Dominicans where he was accepted for the novitiate.
John enters as a Cooperator Brother candidate. All Dominicans make profession to the Master of the Order, but some as clerical brothers and other as non-ordained Cooperator Brothers. The “Lay Brothers” have been part of the Order’s history from its very beginnings. Formerly, most of these Brothers maintained the order of the priory in order to free other brothers for the outward work of evangelizing and preaching. Today, Cooperator Brothers are active in a wide variety of ministries.
The novitiate is a one-year time of discernment under the guidance of a novice master. The emphasis of this year is growth in personal self-awareness and development, and growth in prayer and learning the ways of Dominican community life. During first profession, these men take vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. Afterwards, they will append the suffix “O.P” to their name for the Order of Preachers, founded in 1216 by St. Dominic de Guzman; the Friars will celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Order next year (2016).
The six novices making profession will join seventeen other student brothers in St. Louis. The students live in community at St. Dominic Priory and attend Aquinas Institute of Theology for their theological education as seminarians for the next six years.
The Province of St. Albert the Great consists of 14 Midwestern states.