There are three pivotal moments that I can say changed my life forever.
The first happened in my freshman year of high school when I was put on a bus by my parents, Roy and Yvette, which was headed for Steubenville, Ohio, where Franciscan University puts on a charismatic youth conference every year. My grandparents, Paul and June Perret, were highly involved in the charismatic renewal in New Orleans and decided that they wanted to pay for all of their grandchildren to attend this conference at Franciscan.
I am very thankful for them because during the conference, the Lord touched my soul like he had never done before.
After this experience, I was, so to speak, “on fire” for God and my Catholic faith. I came back to New Orleans with a zeal to follow Jesus in a radical way throughout the rest of my life. I started going to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of New Orleans youth group that met every Sunday in the Raider Room at Archbishop Rummel High School.
For the next four years of high school, I would fall away from the Lord and come back over and over. I believe I would fall away because my prayer life was non-existent outside of the youth group, but by the grace of God and Our Lady’s protection and love for me, I always seemed to make my way back.
My lukewarm love for Jesus throughout high school was eventually challenged by my teacher, Brian Butler, at the senior retreat. He told me I would make a good priest. I had never thought about being a priest before, and I’m pretty sure I laughed in his face and just walked away.
After this kind of prophetic question, I could not get it out of my head that God might actually be calling me to be a priest. For the next eight years, I grew closer to God, but at the same time, I was running away from my vocation; I did not want to be a priest! I even ran all the way back to Franciscan University for a year to try to silence this voice in my head.
However, a mother’s plea is always stronger than the will of her son. Fortunately, for my own salvation, I had two mothers praying for me and asking me to do the Lord’s will. The first, my physical mother, called me and told me to come home three times because Katrina had just devastated New Orleans, and she wanted the whole family to be together. The second, my spiritual mother, Our Lady, who I believe has been protecting me my entire life, called me home through the words of one of her priests.
When I was attending daily Mass at Our Lady of the Rosary, Father Neal McDermott pointed at me at the end of Mass and said he wanted to see me afterwards. He asked me to start serving Mass for him. It was in the sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rosary that I stopped running from the call to be a priest.
I entered the Dominican order and stayed there for two years until I discerned that God was calling me to serve the people of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. I finally came home for good to become a priest for this beloved archdiocese.
CHARLES W. DUSSOUY
Birthplace: New Orleans
Home Parish: Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Kenner
Parents: Roy and Yvette Dussouy
Education: St. Christopher; Archbishop Rummel High School (2002); University of New Orleans (2002-04); Franciscan University of Steubenville (2004-05); University of New Orleans (2006-07); Our Lady of Holy Cross College (2007-10); entered Notre Dame Seminary (2010)
Favorite Food: Sushi
Tell us something people don’t know about you: When I was with the Dominicans my name was Friar Joseph Marie.
Favorite Saint: It’s a toss-up between St. Dismas (the good thief), St. Catherine Laboure and St. Louis
Favorite Book (Religious and Non-Religious): All of St. Louis de Montfort’s writings; “The Space Trilogy” (“Out of the Silent Planet”; “Perelandra”; and “That Hideous Strength”) by C.S. Lewis
Hobbies: Sports and eating
Summer Internships: St. Angela Merici (2011); Clinical Pastoral Education at Baptist Hospital in Pensacola (2012)
Diaconate Internship: St. Joan of Arc, LaPlace