Br. Samuel Hakeem, OP professed Simple Vows as a Dominican in 2011 and is now in his first year of theological studies at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, MO.
Growing up in Albuquerque, I had always dreamed of becoming an astronaut. This dream grew up with me, and I did what I could in order to make this dream a reality. During my years at Saint Pius, I took advanced math and science classes. I graduated from Saint Pius in 2005 and was accepted to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, AZ where I would earn a bachelor’s degree in Space Physics. During my college years, thoughts of the priesthood entered my mind from time to time. I was quick to dismiss these seemingly random thoughts as I remained focused on my goal of spaceflight. However, during my senior year of college, these thoughts about the priesthood and religious life overwhelmed me. I decided to give in and began discerning God’s call for my life and praying for guidance from the Holy Spirit. I graduated from Embry-Riddle in 2009 and was accepted into UNM’s Optical Science and Engineering PhD program–the next step to becoming an astronaut. As I began my studies, I met the Dominicans at the Newman Center. After much prayer and discernment, I decided to leave graduate school after one year of studies and began formation with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Albert the Great.
Like the vast majority of people, I did not receive an extraordinary message from God. There was no booming voice in the night or flash of light in the sky. The Spirit instead spoke to me through feelings of peace and joy. During visits to different Dominican priories across the province, I noticed that, in each of the priories, I felt as though I were at home among the friars. There was a peace to the entire process–a peace which gave me the strength to abandon my plan and follow God’s plan. Now in my second year of formation with the Dominicans, this feeling of peace has remained–a feeling which, to me, is God’s “yes” to my vocational journey.