You can't hear God unless you're listening: A Chat with Br. Thomas Buttrick
The Shape of Faith · 83 minutes ·

You can't hear God unless you're listening: A Chat with Br. Thomas Buttrick

Brother Thomas Buttrick was born in Phoenix in 1981, to a family with secular Jewish roots on his mother’s side and Protestant New England– though unchurched and fairly disconnected– roots on his father’s side.

Thomas is one of three, having two older siblings, and, after his parents divorced when he was an infant, he, his mom and siblings moved out East, where he gained a stepfather and grew up in suburban New Jersey, loving the arts, music, and, as he says, arguing.

After high school, Thomas studied history at Brown University, where, through the Bible and an influential friend, he also got interested in the academic study of religion, as well as in its teachings and promises for the believer.  

By his graduation, Thomas considered himself a Christian, though still unbaptized. After college, he traveled to Israel, becoming more religiously committed there and experimenting with his sense of belonging in different Christian groups and churches.  

In 2007, he was baptized by a friend in a private ceremony, and, around that time, he also started working on organic farms out west and becoming interested in teaching.

After a confusing and illuminating journey, Thomas chose to join the Catholic Church in 2014. He continued teaching for some time, but longed for more structure and purpose in his life, as well as more space for prayer. He began visiting Mount Angel Abbey, a home and seminary for Benedictine Monks, and found in it a balanced-feeling existence, with, as he says, “good spaces for listening.”

Thomas joined the Abbey, going through the typical stages of monastic initiation, in 2017, and he received the religious name Thomas, in honor of St. Thomas, the Apostle of Jesus, who initially doubted his master's resurrection and was later convinced of it.

Thomas made the traditional vows of obedience, stability, and monastic conversion very recently on September 11, 2021


Art Direction and Design by Molly Keene

Music by Yakov Fleischmann

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