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Chapter 3

“I Will Not Leave You Orphaned”

Fr. Daren J. Zehnle

discerned a call to the priesthood through the many events of my life, some of which were very sad and painful. Yet it was in each one of these experiences that I most deeply felt my call to the priesthood as a call to share the love of Christ Jesus with a hurting world. These events seemed to come together, almost like a puzzle, and in them I was able to hear the Lord’s will for my life. I

To share my story, I need to start at the beginning. When I was about four years old, my mother developed a brain tumor, which confined her to a hospital bed in our home. I have a few very fond memories of Mom walking, but most of my memo- ries are of her bedridden. After Mom’s cancer developed, Dad stopped working as an electrician and stayed home to care for her, my brother, and me.

On February 20, 1986, my brother and I awoke as usual. We readied ourselves for school and only needed Dad to cook us breakfast before we got on the bus and were off to school. Oddly though, Dad was not up yet. Typically he was already in the kitchen, listening to the radio and fixing breakfast. My brother and I thought nothing about it, and when we were ready, I went to wake him up. Not finding him in his bedroom, I discovered him on the couch where he had fallen asleep the night before. I


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