Here is an interview with author Father Ray Devlin who wrote a book about his brother, CHA: A Biography of
Father "Joe" Devlin, S. J., which was published by Nenagh
Q. How and why did you become a priest?
A. My brother was a great priest and I was imitating him. I recognized what he was doing. The key of vocations is others follow Christ and you follow them.
Q. Can you give us an example?
A. I don't have one example. It was his whole life. You don't do anything for one example. You do it for a life that's truly dedicated. You saw that he was a happy person. That's the key. People have vocations when they see young Jesuits and older Jesuits who are happy warriors. My brother said always be a happy warrior.
Q. What was your toughest experience in the priesthood?
A. That you serve God, save your soul, and help others. A priest didn't join to become a star golf player or a great coach. He comes to help people save their souls. To help people go to God.
Q. Can you tell us anything that was particularly difficult for you?
A. Everything is difficult! It was never easy -- ever. That's the proof of your vocation. It's never easy whether you're in studies, teaching or coaching. It's always hard. That's why Christ says take up your cross daily. To be a priest is to choice a difficult life. You're not choosing something easy. That's why you choose it, because it's difficult.
Q. You were born in San Francisco in1924. Can you tell us about growing up in the city?
A. There's nothing to tell. I went to the same schools that Joe went to -- St. Paul's and St. Ignatius. San Francisco was a normal city in those times. People didn't lock their doors. I was ordained in 1955 and coached at St. Ignatius in Utah. Then, I went to Bellermine [in 1965] where I enjoyed coaching football, basketball, cross-country and track. But, the big inspiration was going overseas and helping my brother.
Q. Tell us about Father Joe and the book?
A. Father Joe, at the age of fifty-three, was looking for a more difficult life where he could directly help the poor because that is where he found his greatest consolation. He searched around the world to find where he could help the people who were truly poor.
A government official named Mr. Dan in Vietnam wrote an invitation to him. They said come here and see what we have. We have war. We have Communism trying to take over. We have the sick, the dying and the refugees. So, in Utah, he got the invitation and permission to go. The Jesuits told him you pay your own way. People contributed to him from this country.
He became a tremendous success with the refugees. In doing it he suffered a lot. If he had realized how bad it was over there he probably would never have gone. But, once he realized how bad it was, he couldn't leave.
Finally, he did escape from Vietnam -- the day the Communists took over. [They] tried to kill him a few times, but they were resisted by Vietnamese soldiers. Some of them died defending him. When you read the book you'll get the inspiration. You'll see why I'm not saying too much.
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