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Br. Sam Wharton, OP

Third Year Student, Province of St. Martin de Porres (Southern Province)

Br. Sam is currently a third-year student brother of the Southern Province. He spent a bit of his childhood in Lake Charles, but was born and raised mostly in Baton Rouge, Louisiana! He is a cradle Catholic who spent most of his Sundays at church but only because his mom made him. Br. Sam went to University Laboratory School for elementary, middle, and high school! He played football and baseball and was even recruited to play football in college (more on that later!). Growing up, he always wanted to become a doctor and excelled in math and science. He did, however, have a stint in high school where he and his brother started a band. Can you guess the name of his band? 

After high school, he planned to attend Texas Christian University, play defensive line, and study neuroscience to become a neurosurgeon. As you can see, that’s not quite where he is today! 

Br. Sam did attend TCU and did major in neuroscience, but he injured his shoulder in his first semester and needed surgery. He came back from this injury but then almost immediately injured his shoulder again. After this second injury, he had to quit football. 

Br. Sam said, “One of the weird things with quitting football was the amount of free time that I had. I ended up spending a lot of that time at the Newman Center. I had a lot of good friends who supported me through that transition and brought me more into my faith.”


These friends encouraged Br. Sam to keep exploring his faith and digging in to the community at the Newman Center. By his sophomore year, Br. Sam was the head of the Student Outreach Committee and led a men’s Bible study. During his junior year, he attended a "Come and See" for a local diocese but felt like he was not called to diocesan priesthood. Yet, during his senior year, as he served as the president of the Newman Center, he kept feeling this call to the priesthood. 

“I was clearly feeling the sense of ‘come follow me’ for months and didn’t know what to do with that,” Br. Sam shared. “I was kind of angry because I had a plan for my life and didn’t want to listen to this call. I fought it for 8-10 months, but finally accepted the Lord’s will for my life.” 

He prayed a novena to St. Benedict, St. Francis, and Sr. Dominic, and truly felt connected to St. Dominic. He attended a "Come and See" with the Dominicans during his senior year and felt at home with the brothers. He realized that he felt called to life in community, which was why he did not feel like diocesan priesthood was the right fit for him. He discerned that this feeling of peace and comfort was a call to enter the novitiate and discern his vocation as a Dominican. 

Br. Sam’s novitiate, located in Irving, Texas, felt very lonely for him. Though he was surrounded by people and lived in community, he struggled with a deep sense of loneliness. When asked why he discerned to continue in religious life and make his simple profession, Br. Sam said, “In all my experiences of discerning, I always feel God pulling me towards something. If I am somewhere, and God wants me somewhere else, God pulls me there. I’ve never felt God pulling me anywhere else.” 


Since making his simple vows, Br. Sam has been at Aquinas Institute deepening his understanding of Christ and the Church. He enjoys the built-in silence, prayer, study, and community that comes with being a friar. He appreciates the opportunity to learn from others and their perspectives. His favorite class has been Uses of Philosophy in Theology with Fr. Michael Mascari, OP. Br. Sam said, “It bridges the gap between philosophy and theology in a way that helps you think of things from a Catholic mindset.”

During his Supervised Practice of Ministry class, he served at an African-American parish in north St. Louis, St. Matthew the Apostle. He worked with their young adult group and experienced Catholic community in a new way. 

When asked what he loves about Aquinas Institute, Br. Sam shared, “I love the chance to understand people’s perspectives and get to know them outside of class. During our class breaks, we have deeper conversations and get to know once another’s perspectives in new ways.”

In his third year of studies, Br. Sam is studying hard and serving others! Next year, he will depart on his pastoral year, where he will teach at St. Agnes and St. Dominic School in Memphis, Tennessee. Pray for him as he embarks on this new journey and continues his studies. Pray for Br. Sam so that in a few years, we will get to meet Fr. Sam.