Vocation: Fr Benedict found a place that felt like home

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Vocation: Fr Benedict found a place that felt like home

Fr Benedict Bedingfeld (aged 41), grew up in Oxburgh Hall near King’s Lynn and is a priest in the Community of St John, serving in the Diocese of Bentwood in London. Here he talks briefly about his vocation journey.

I spent the earliest years of my life in the parish of Our Lady of Pity, Swaffham and received my first education in the Faith from the wonderful sisters at the convent of the Sacred Heart.

At aged seven, I experienced the first awakening of a desire to be a priest. This desire was later accompanied by other ambitions, but God nevertheless had planted a seed in my heart that would prove more compelling.

Growing up in the countryside, although not always in East Anglia, offered me a relatively protected environment until the day I arrived at Manchester University in the 1990s and was exposed to a culture largely unfamiliar to me.

This provoked considerable soul-searching. While the culture posed me unsettling questions, the answers it offered left me deeply unsatisfied. Religious life attracted me as it seemed the one state of life which would leave me free to give myself in all the dimensions of my person; nothing else would have quenched my thirst.

It was in the Community of St John that I eventually found a place that felt like home: a Community in which I could lead a life of interior prayer, receive an in-depth formation and share the joy of fraternal life with other men who, like me, understood first-hand the challenge involved in following Christ when everything in the world around pulls in the opposite direction.