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Dominican Brother Isaiah Beiter

Brother Isaiah Beiter to be ordained Dominican in May


Sometimes the Lord works quietly in one’s life, a truth that Dominican Brother Isaiah Beiter, knows well.

Growing up in Charlottesville, Brother Isaiah, 27, didn’t imagine early on that he would someday become a priest, but the seeds were planted at home in his large family, and at church and school. He is now a deacon in the Dominican order (Order of Preachers) and will be ordained in May.

Looking back, he said, he was gradually led to his calling through peaceful but clear moments of affirmation.

“The Lord sometimes works quietly by awakening our desire to know him, little by little,” he said.

A 2007 graduate of Charlottesville Catholic School (CCS), a pre-Kindergarten through grade 8 school, Brother Isaiah — the first CCS graduate anticipating priesthood ordination — credits his time there with planting some of the seeds that led to his call to religious life.

Known as Daniel before he was given his Dominican name, Isaiah, he was seen as a bright student with serious and fun-loving traits as well as leadership skills.

“He was congenial and had an openness to people, and was willing to accept everybody where they were,” said Mini Vasquez, his religion teacher for grades 6 through 8. “I observed that as he got older, too. He is genuinely kind and thoughtful, and this is who we want as our priests.”

She noted that religion teachers try to impart the importance of living one’s faith each day so that it becomes a natural part of the person. She was pleased to see this in Brother Isaiah.

“His faith was seamless,” she said.

When he returned to visit her at school one time, they discussed his discernment for the priesthood.

Vasquez recalled that conversation outside her classroom.

“I told him, ‘Daniel, you will know,’” she said.

Deb Samley, who taught middle school social studies while Brother Isaiah was there, was struck by his thoughtful comments during their class discussions.

“He would always bring things back to fairness: ‘Is this system fair? Is this law fair?’ Even at that young age, he had a basic sense of decency and compassion,” she said.

Like his five siblings, Samley said, Brother Isaiah was studious and intelligent, and he had a great sense of humor.

“He was also very thoughtful, and his classmates respected as well as liked him,” she said.

Like Vasquez, Samley is proud of her former student for becoming the school’s first priest.

“It was clear in middle school he had a deep faith and was serious about it,” she said. “And how wonderful it would be someday to have him come back to celebrate Mass at CCS.”

Both middle school teachers also remembered Brother Isaiah’s musical ability; he has played trumpet, guitar, violin and piano. He currently expresses that skill by singing the Liturgy of the Hours throughout the day.

After finishing at CCS, Brother Isaiah attended Albemarle High School, followed by admission to Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, where he studied psychology.

“I knew I wanted to help people find peace and make sense of their lives,” he said, noting he imagined that he would work in some kind of counseling and that he would marry and raise a family.

Before long, he realized that he was being called by God in a different way, and that he could help people as a priest.

“My desire to be a husband and father was transformed, little by little, in a desire to give myself in faithful love for the Church and Christ’s people,” he said.

Because he had grown up in St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish, a Dominican parish that serves the University of Virginia community, he knew and admired the priests and friars there.

“I thought that if I became a priest someday, I would be a Dominican,” he said.

After a time of discernment that included much prayer and quiet moments of affirmation, he entered the Dominican order in 2014. In 2019, he made his solemn vows. Early in 2020, he was ordained a deacon. He is now completing his formation at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington.

Following his ordination on May 22, he will be a priest of the Dominican province of St. Joseph, also known as the Eastern Province, which serves several parishes in the eastern U.S. For the first year of his priesthood, he will finish his theological studies in Washington and will receive an assignment after that.

As the oldest of Chris and Eileen Beiter’s six children, Brother Isaiah was looked up to by his siblings — Rebecca, Benjamin, Jacob, Catherine and Sarah.

“He was the classic oldest child: a good student and comfortable around adults, but he had fun, too,” said his father.

Brother Isaiah noted that his upbringing was deeply rooted in the Catholic faith, led by the quiet example of his parents’ love for their family and for God.

“My family sent me off with joy and encouragement,” he said.

His father added, “My wife, Eileen, and I hoped to raise our children with a firm foundation of faith, including Catholic school, and by trusting in the steady hand of God to fulfill his will.”

God’s quiet call has been constant and reassuring, Brother Isaiah said.

His original desire to study psychology to help others find peace in their lives led him to his own peaceful path.

“The truest and deepest peace comes from Christ,” he said. “So many people need someone to tell them about Christ and his love. So here I am.”

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