War and peace

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RICHARDTON, N.D. - Many people are called to religious orders in their teens and 20's. Others find their vocation later in life.

Cliff Naylor reports on a Benedictine Monk whose path to a North Dakota monastery took him all over the world.

Brother Jacob Deiss has experienced war and peace. He joined the Navy in 1989 and served in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm. He witnessed what was called "shock and awe" from an aircraft carrier.

"It was surreal because we were able to watch it," said Deiss.

Deiss watched the U.S. military light up Baghdad "like a Christmas tree" from the deck of the USS Ranger.

"We knew we were doing something unique, being part of something larger than what I ever thought I was going to do when I joined the service," said Deiss.

After his four year tour of duty was up, he made his way to Alaska to work in a fish hatchery.

"And it was there that I got to experience the silence in God's country, and it was there that I remember thinking my vocation might have been started," said Deiss.

After that spiritual encounter in the wilderness, he professed solemn vows at Assumption Abbey.

"It was wanting more out of life than society was offering," said Deiss.

Abbot Daniel Maloney says Assumption Abbey's location beckons other older adults to God's call.

"It is a peaceful setting, we're out in the countryside, so it's helpful for a lot of people," said Maloney.

A monk's day begins and ends with prayer.

"It's a chance to devote their life to God, and to the service of others, and an opportunity to live in community with others that are seeking the same way of life," said Maloney.

Deiss became a monk in July of 2000 at the age of 30. He's now certain he's found his life's calling at this little monastery on the prairie.

Brother Jacob Deiss is from White River, S.D. He's one of 11 children.

Twenty-seven monks live at Assumption Abbey. Another 25 are assigned to pastoral posts across western North Dakota.