Father Dominic O'Toole: I was a business consultant, then I saw the light

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The Independent Online

I decided to make a change when I was about 30. I'd spent my working life in retail as a buyer for head office before moving into consultancy work for small companies. I was really driven by work and it defined much of my personality. But I came to the realisation that something was missing. I had this nagging feeling that I should be doing something different with my life – more importantly that I should be devoting my life to God through a religious order.

I'm based in St Mary's in Clapham, south London. It's a busy parish and the days are long. I spent most of yesterday morning at a hospice, speaking to people who are close to death. Later on I was due to have a meeting with a couple about a baptism. That's a typical day, you are privileged to be present at key moments in people's lives.

I don't miss the outside world or my former job because I'm still very much involved in what is happening around me. This is not the kind of order that remains hidden in an ivory tower and I'm very clear that I have made the right decision. Like any job there are difficult days but most of the time I love what I do.

Father Dominic O'Toole, 39, is a member of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, an order more commonly known as the Redemptorists. Followers take the simple vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience