Meet Our Vocation Director - Friar Hans Flondor
Friar Hans Flondor was born in Chicago, but at a very young age his parents moved to the suburb of Elk Grove Village, Illinois, 28 miles away. Friar Hans has a passion for photography, especially for outdoor photography. He also backpacks and hikes in the mountains. He enjoys taking pictures and shooting video footage while on his hikes. In his spare time, he likes to put videos together from those trips, adding music, sound effects or his own audio narratives.
Friar Hans’ vocation story began out of a failed marriage, as he sought the truth of God’s existence. In looking for answers, he called his mom one afternoon and she introduced him to a charismatic seminar. In that seminar, he witnessed others who seem to know Jesus in a personal way. Through the catholic example of the people leading the seminar, he discovered a more personal way to pray to Jesus, and came to notice how Jesus had been working in his everyday life. As an outcome of this seminar, he joined several prayer groups. One was a young adult group, which would travel to Franciscan University (F.U.) in Steubenville, Ohio. By the few weekend conferences he attended at F.U., friar Hans was introduced to St. Francis and picked up his first book on St. Francis of Assisi by Omer Englebert. Over time, he attended a “Come and See” (C.S.) with the Franciscans of the Conventual Branch in Chicago and found their province intriguing, but believed that he was not ready to join them. He left the weekend with a question mark in his mind and continued with his life. Eventually he attended F.U. as a student, where he studied and received a two-year degree and became grounded in his Catholic faith and identity. This also helped him to listen more closely and recognize a voice that was deep within, which had him confused for many years. Hans moved back to Illinois and ended up staying with his parents and working at a Park District, and afterwards, for a Land Surveying company. He attended Mass several times during the week and regularly went to confession. He was drawn to doing this and could not say why at the time, other than having a deep love for the Lord and knowing Jesus was right there in the Eucharist.
Looking back, he realized that several vocation directors (V.D.) had been in his life; a diocesan V.D., a religious V.D. from F.U., and a Alexian Brother V.D. from the hospital where he attended Mass, all of who asked him about having a possible vocation. Hearing that seemed foreign to him, and yet all at the same time, not so foreign. One thing he knew, he was afraid to discuss it. He even had strangers come out of nowhere asking him if he was thinking about becoming a priest. This was over a period of approximately fifteen years. “I had all these signs, yet I was confused on what the Lord really wanted me to do. Basically, fear kept me from making a decision,” said friar Hans.
He felt so confused in his discernment because it was going on for so long. A thought came to him that maybe he was called to be a deacon like St. Francis. However, once he received the material in the mail, even before opening it, he knew that it was not the correct choice for him, and threw the letter away. He finally realized that he would never know whether or not he was being called to the priesthood unless he returned to where he first visited. In the back of his mind, that was the House of Studies in Chicago with the Franciscans of the Conventual Order. He made a call and went to another C.S. weekend. Friar Hans shares: “Truthfully, that weekend was very boring and dry, but I believed that’s what the Lord intended for me.”
On the Sunday morning before they were going to wrap everything up for the C.S. with Mass and breakfast, that dryness brought him to his knees in prayer where he finally submitted to the Lord Jesus, telling him he would go anywhere He wanted him to go and to whichever Order He would like him to enter, if He would just make it clear which one was the right one. It was at this point he sensed deep down in himself the Lord saying, that it was the Conventual Order Province of St. Bonaventure. He did not expect to get a response like he did. Before Mass, he went to the V.D. and was very open about his experience in prayer and how he felt. That led to him asking for an application. Hans figured, if the V.D. said he was crazy, then so be it, he was nuts. The V.D. was willing to hear him out and gave him an application. He went through the application process and the psychological testing and was admitted into the formation program.
Friar Hans made Solemn Vows in 2009 and was ordained a priest in 2012. Afterwards, he became an associate pastor to help minister at five country churches in the Peoria diocese of Illinois. He was later elected the new Vocation Director and was transferred to Marytown, the National Shrine of St. Maximillian Kolbe in Libertyville, Illinois. Friar Hans continues to serve as V.D. for the Saint Bonaventure Province. His territory covers men living in Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan. Though Australia is a part of their province, there is a separate vocation director there.
Friar Hans enjoys hearing a person’s vocation story and even their struggles. He is always willing to help the person figure out what they believe they are called to do or where they may need to look, as he listens.