Fr. Flanery comes from St. Louis, Missouri. His family came to Tradition at approximately the time that Father was born. Fr. Flanery attended grade school at Queen of the Holy Rosary, which kept him in close proximity with priests and the sacraments. He then spent his last three years of high school at Notre Dame de La Salette Boys Academy. During those years at La Salette, he was deeply impressed with the necessity of following God’s will as manifested by one’s superiors, instead of doing one’s own will. Over the summers, he gleaned valuable experience from his summer jobs, coming in contact with many people less fortunate than himself, people without the faith. He reflected on the terrible emptiness of a life in which one does not seek joy in God, but tries vainly to extract it from creatures.
At the Seminary, Father often returned to the thought that man is profoundly in need of the mercy of God. This mercy is to be found even in the commandments. Too many are those who find them burdensome, seeing in the commandments only prohibitions seeming to restrict the search for happiness. This false perspective would vanish, if men could see the purpose of those prohibitions. They are based upon something very great that God has given us – which He does not want us to lose, but rather wishes to increase within us. In His mercy, God gives commandments, not to oppress us, but to protect His precious gift in us. The spiritual formation that Fr. Flanery received at the Seminary enabled him to discern this and gave him the desire to impart the same perspective to others.