Cory Russman

Theology I
St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
St. Bridget’s Chapel, Berryville, VA

What did you do prior to entering seminary?

I graduated from Clarke County High School with an ardent desire to study Aerospace Engineering and to bridge the distance between heaven and earth with a rocket. During my first semester at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Fall 2012) I soon realized that my desire for the heavens was quickly turning into a desire for Heaven – and that Jesus Christ, not a rocket, was my vehicle. By Christmas time, I had “aborted my mission” and returned home to work, pray and discern God’s will. God led me through prayer to attend George Mason University, which gave me the optimal environment to continue studying engineering while nurturing my Catholic faith within the thriving George Mason Catholic Campus Ministry (GMU CCM). During this fantastic year, I submitted my application to the Diocese in order to become a seminarian.

What influenced your decision to apply for seminary entrance?

As it says in 1 Kings 19, God is not found in the loud, bombastic things in our life (earthquakes, fire, strong winds) but rather, He is to be found in the simple and quiet things. God gained access to my heart when I opened it to Him. And what opened my heart to Him was simply praying a daily Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament with a friend of mine. I gave God an opening, and He poured abundant graces on my life. Once I began to experience the depths of His love for me, I left behind my plans for myself and began to seek out His plans for me. 

Why do you want to be a priest?

I love Jesus Christ and His Church and after a few years of “doing whatever He tells me” I am where I am today. I desire what He desires.

What are your favorite pastimes?

Being a son, brother and a friend, followed by various activities which include hiking, playing basketball and tennis and studying astronomy.

What is your favorite quote?

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.” - Mark Twain

Who is your favorite Saint and why?

St. Therese of Lisieux touches my heart because of her style. She is simple and direct; authentic and open. I admire her ability to take the most unassuming task and turn it into an amazing expression of her love for Christ. Lastly, she is known for having been particularly enthusiastic about elevators and even incorporated them into her spiritual life (she wanted to ride the Elevator to Heaven). However, I am personally convinced that if she had lived to see the Space Race, she would have been even more enthusiastic to incorporate a “Rocket to Heaven” into her spiritual life. I think we would have that in common. 

What advice would you give to a young man thinking about the seminary?

God calls “you”. He doesn’t call who you wish you were or who other people think you should be. Bring yourself and the shirt on your back because that is all Jesus requires. Most of all, you must be patient. Desires from God don’t run dry, and patience roots out all the others.