Humans of Saint Martin's: Br. Ramon Newell, O.S.B.
You may think you are going to do one thing, but you wind up doing something else that you are more suited for, so be open to the possibilities.
- Br. Ramon Newell
- Saint Martin's Abbey Monk
- Mailroom Manager
Monks from Saint Martin’s Abbey staffed the Queen of Angels Parish, my local parish in Port Angeles, Washington, so I came to know Saint Martin’s through them. In 1960, I came here as a high school student and felt I had a vocation. At the time, I thought it was a vocation for the priesthood, but I later found out about the brotherhood, and that is what drew me here. In 1963, I entered the monastery, and I have been here ever since.
I have worked a variety of jobs at Saint Martin’s, including that of roads and grounds, garbage, the farm, care of abbey cars, the library, the infirmary, the registrar’s office, campus ministry, and as a barber. In the 1980s, Br. Lawrence, my predecessor, was working as the mailroom manager, and I helped him out from time to time. Back then, the mailroom was located on the short wing of Old Main, along with the bookstore. Campus ministry was right across the mailroom. A couple of times, when Br. Lawrence was gone, I took over his responsibilities in the mailroom. When Br. Lawrence decided to go on to other things in 1990, I was asked to take over as mailroom manager. I agreed, and I have been doing this job ever since. I like my job in the mailroom because it is a lot like the monastery, in that it is semi-contemplative; there are times when you’re meeting people, but there are also times when you’re by yourself, and that really appeals to me. I am somebody who works better in structured or semi-structured situations, and that is what the mailroom is.
I am one of those vanishing species that go into religious life straight out of high school. Normally, most people don’t do that anymore, but I did. The monks, the way of life, and the spirituality of Saint Martin’s attracted me, and it just seemed to be a good fit. I believe that God brought me to the place I was meant to be. You may think you are going to do one thing, but you wind up doing something else that you are more suited for, so be open to the possibilities. When you find something that is good, meaningful, and can be long-lasting – not just a passing phase or temporary diversion – try to stick with it and see where it leads you.