Rettler Finds His Calling


West senior is headed to the seminary

By Hannah Bensen, Editor in Chief

It’s the question that many high schoolers are asked to consider at some point in their lives: What do you want to be when you grow up?

This question is often met with ambiguous and uncertain answers, but for West senior Max Rettler, the answer is clear. He wants to become a priest.

That journey is already underway. On Oct. 19, Rettler was accepted to St. Joseph’s College Seminary on the campus of Loyola University.

Rettler first became interested in becoming a religious leader around eighth grade when he was trying to figure out a gratifying career.

“I remember a statistic that said the lifestyle of the priest is the most fulfilling, the happiest. And so that just stuck with me,” Rettler said.

Rettler kindled his interest by volunteering and working at his church, Holy Angels Parish in West Bend. Last year, he received over 500 service hours volunteering in the Office of Faith Formation. This year, he gets paid to do the same work, which includes completing office tasks, writing lesson plans and leading retreats for younger students.

“I love the retreats. It’s a great time to share my energy with the youth,” Rettler said.

Rettler has been confident in his decision to go into the priesthood for a while, but his parents had a few reservations about Rettler’s chosen vocation.

“I would say [I was] uncertain [at the time] that this was the best path for him,” said Max’s mother, Kelly Rettler. “It’s not a traditional choice at that age and I kept encouraging him to keep all options open. I realize now that he has to follow where his heart takes him; what brings him happiness and contentment. It’s what every parent wants for their child.”


Selfie with Jerome E. Listecki, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Once Rettler’s parents were on board with his decision, Rettler began the grueling application process. After completing a typical college-like application for St. Joseph’s College Seminary last June, Rettler underwent intensive evaluation. He met with a psychologist for a total of six hours, which determined if he had the right mindset to become a priest. Rettler was then required to take a 500 question personality test.

“[The test had] some really oddball questions that really made you think, [such as] ‘Do you like mechanical magazines? Do you think people are out to get you?,’” Rettler said.

Once the testing was completed, Rettler met with three different priests who asked him questions about his family and his life. These three priests then wrote a report about Rettler which they presented to members from the seminary. Based on the reports from the priests and the psychologist, and five letters of recommendation from friends and family, Rettler was finally accepted into the seminary.

Rettler will major in philosophy at Loyola. He will live in the college seminary, but he will take all of his classes on the Loyola campus.

Upon graduating from Loyola, the next step is to go to theology school to get a Masters in Divinity. After that, Rettler will finally be ordained as a priest.

Joseph Heit, a youth minister at Holy Angels and Rettler’s longtime friend and boss, was not surprised by Rettler’s choice to go into the priesthood.

“He’s a people person,” Heit said. “His love of God and love of people and wanting them to love God as well are [good qualities for a priest].”

(Top image: Max Rettler at Holy Angels Parish in West Bend. Photograph courtesy of Olivia McClain of Twin Vision Photography.)


Max Rettler, left, receives vocational advice. Photograph courtesy of the Rettler family.


Filed under School News and Features

6 responses to “Rettler Finds His Calling

  1. Mrs. Coultas

    It has been an honor to be your teacher. Your enthusiasm for life and your compassion for others is contagious. These four years have truly been a blessing. Keep following your heart. I love you!

  2. Wonderful story Hannah! You really did justice to Max and his future commitment. High praise for the excellent work. Hope you don’t mind I’m sharing the story. Keep up the great work.

  3. Jody Bender

    Max, I am so proud of you and your decision. It is a true calling for you. I will never forget when you came to us in 5th grade. Your enthusiasm and zest were contagious. You talked fondly of family, even naming your pig after your grandmother! We need priests that have a perSonali like yourself – you have such a love for God, but you also love to have fun and kid around. Good luck in your schooling and I can’t wait to see this good-looking redhead when he makes his final vow.

  4. wes gaedtke

    congrates max… you will make a wonderful priest…im very happy in your life choice

  5. Mrs. Schmoldt

    This makes sense. Max, you were such a delight. I’m happy that you will be sharing your optimism and goodness with so many others. You epitomize what a religious leader should be.

  6. Nathan Fleischman


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