A great young man, Matthew Hysell. I wish him all the best. Here’s a link to a story I wrote about him:
When Matthew Hysell was eighteen months old, he contracted meningitis during an epidemic in the 1970s.
He received a vaccine and one of its side- effects was hearing loss. But Hysell, who can read lips, speak clearly and communicate via sign language, realized after he became Catholic that his deafness is a gift.
“I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing for the deaf community today if I wasn’t deaf. So I see it as a blessing in disguise,” said Hysell, who will be ordained a transitional deacon in the Edmonton archdiocese on August 27th and hopes to become a priest next year.
Hysell, now 34, was born and raised in Michigan in a Baptist family. He converted to the Catholic faith at the age of 16 in 1993.
“When I read my history I found out that the Catholic Church goes all the way back to the time of Jesus,” he said. “That makes sense. I will join that one.”
But Hysell wanted to be a Catholic priest before he was Catholic. At age 13, he came across a book of black and white pictures of the life of a priest. The pictures showed the priest counseling couples, celebrating the sacraments, and seeing people “at their highest and lowest moments of life.”
“Wow this is cool but I can’t do this as a Baptist,” he said.
“I saw the priest as someone who gives himself to the other person, a whole self-gift that was so beautiful,” he said. “I couldn’t put it in words but it felt like something I should be doing with my life.”