As a young man, at the age of sixteen, he was inspired in high school to follow the founder thereof into the mission field. This call eventually led him to the wilds of Wisconsin upon coming of age and completing his schooling (which included being trained and ordained as a priest). Far from the comforts of his home in Philadelphia, he joined two colleagues at the direction of the bishop to establish a community, a seminary, and a center for theological work.
He penned a letter to a friend about his experience:
The students boarding with us are all theological. They are chiefly young men, sons of the farmers, and all communicants of the Church. Our students, like ourselves, are poor, but not the less worthy for all that. They seek the Ministry, but are unable to attain it without aid. We have a house; for this we pay no rent; it belongs to the Church, and so do we. We have land. They work four hours a day for their board and washing, and we give them their education without cost.
Breck recognized that he was the Lord’s servant and all that he had been given was entrusted to his care as steward. He saw no higher calling than to follow God’s lead and to tend to what God called him to do. Thus, he led a humble life of work, study and prayer that he modeled for those who came under his care at the seminary. A tradition that continues to this day as I can attest to from my time there.
As we reflect upon his life, his service and his example, may we do the same. May we evaluate our lives in light of the call of Christ Jesus to follow Him and thus orient each aspect of our lives around work, study and prayer for His sake. May we order our lives intentionally through the lens of being a disciple and steward and embrace the contentment that follows. In doing so, we discover the most rewarding view of life and one that builds up the Church and advances God’s work as we play a part in it. And while we are not all called to be pioneering missionaries, we are all called to a life of holiness, simplicity and self denial for the sake of the Gospel!