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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"Case of a higher calling"

From Australia's The Inner West Weekly
by Fiona Brady

Graham Fullick, one of the first year students at the Seminary of the Good Shepherd, Homebush West.

THERE'S a "heaven sent" opportunity for lawyer jokes in Homebush's Catholic seminary these day three of the new first year students are former lawyers.

Since they've become student priests at the Good Shepherd Seminary, judgment day has a rather different meaning for erstwhile legal eagles, Graham Fullick of Cessnock, Chatswood's Thomas Stevens and Perth's Christian Irdi.

To add to the coincidence, Mr Fullick and Mr Stevens first met when they were on opposing sides in a motor vehicle insurance case.

It was only a small court matter but Mr Fullick remembers his then adversary as a "worthy and noble opponent".

At 43, Mr Fullick is the oldest of the new recruits and has sacrificed a comfortable lifestyle for the cloistered life at the seminary.

The students live on site and rise at 6am to follow a busy timetable of prayer, study and community activities.

Silence is maintained from 10.30pm until after morning Mass.

It is quite a contrast to Mr Fullick's former life as an associate in a city firm but there are a lot of things he doesn't miss.

"No minimum billable hours, timesheets, humungous court preparation deadlines or documents to draft in international transactions in many time zones," he said with relief.

Thomas Stevens, 30, lived a glamorous expat lifestyle as a maritime lawyer in Singapore. He had wanted to be a priest as a child, but said he "got caught up in the path of going to university, living the lawyer's life".

While admits he did "a great deal of thinking" about celibacy and sacrificing his right to have a family, Mr Stevens feels his new brief is the right one for him.

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