Current Seminarians

John Paul Stedwill

Diocese of Peoria, Illinois


July 3

Ordination Year


Home Town

Peoria, IL

Home Parish

St. Jude


Benedictine College, Atchison, KS (Biology and Philosophy)


Backpacking and camping, reading, leatherworking, running and cycling, studying biblical languages, and cooking

Favorite Saint

St. John Paul II

Favorite Devotion

Whenever I have the opportunity to be outdoors, I find myself in conversation with my patron saint, John Paul II, who inspires me with his contemplative prayer, devotion to the Blessed Mother, zeal for serving young people, and love for encountering God in the beauty of creation. I have also made it a daily devoted of mine to pray St. Charles de Foucauld's Prayer of Abandonment each morning and evening for the grace to surrender more completely to God’s will in my life.

Vocation Story

Upon entering high school, I began a personal search to find meaning and purpose in my life. I desired to make a difference in the world, to serve those most in need, and ultimately, I feared living a life that was mundane and mediocre. I had the blessing of watching my own father, a Catholic physician, positively impact countless suffering patients and their families in the hospital which was a source of true inspiration for me. I was motivated to become a physician myself, and already being attracted to a life of discipline and sacrifice that I had learned from years as a high school wrestler, I was also drawn to the possibility of future military service. Thus, my plan to make a difference through serving others in medicine and the armed forces while living a life of adventure and excitement was already taking shape as I completed high school.
Thankfully my parents encouraged me to continue my education at a Catholic institution, so I enrolled to attend Benedictine College. I spent the summer between high school and college further feeding my growing love for adventure and the outdoors by working as a backpacking instructor in the Sangre de Christo Mountain Range in Northern New Mexico. During these months spent hiking and teaching young men in the outdoors, I began to first experience a longing for the priesthood. I desired to regularly encounter the Lord in intimate solitude as I did while traversing the beautiful desert terrain like King David, and to shepherd young men along straight and narrow paths as I experienced with the crews of young hikers I guided.
As I began my pre-medicine studies Benedictine, I encountered a group of men who were striving to live Christ centered lives, and I witnessed their joy and fulfillment in living as true disciples of Christ. This inspired me to take my faith more seriously, so I became more committed to a regular sacramental life, daily personal prayer, and growing in brotherhood with other Catholic men. While still  focusing on a future career in medicine, my idea of “planning my own life” was being challenged in prayer and conversation with peers. I was not interiorly open to hearing the Lord’s voice out of fear that He might be calling me to the priesthood, yet in the midst of shadowing various physicians I had also started experiencing the desire to care for people in a spiritual, rather than bodily manner.
By senior year, the Lord had blessed my pursuit of medical school. I had achieved what I thought was my dream of having multiple medical school acceptances and an offer from the US Navy to pay for my education in exchange for becoming a Navy physician. However, there was a distinct lack of fulfillment and peace for me in continuing down the path of medicine. Through prayer, I came to realize the futility in my own desire to physically save the lives of others with medicine when in truth I could not even save my own life; after all, Jesus says, “whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it (Mt. 16:25).” I had a growing sense of confidence that the Lord was asking me to lay down my life and follow him so that by the power of Christ working through me countless lives may be saved, not from death in the flesh but for life eternal. Since entering seminary, this conviction of the Lord calling for me to be a healer of souls, to shepherd his people to the eternal gates, and ultimately to abide in an intimate friendship with him has continued to humble me and fill me with gratitude. Furthermore, I continue to be amazed by the countless opportunities I have to fulfill my desire to serve others and to experience an authentic sense of adventure in obediently surrendering my will to that of the Heavenly Father.

Priest Aspirations

As a priest, I look forward to performing the sacraments of healing: reconciliation and anointing of the sick. I also aspire to follow the example of St. John Paul II in helping young people experience the goodness of God though encouraging strong community and encounters with the beauty and wonder of creation.

How can Mundelein's donors and community pray for you?

Please pray that I may be a faithful priest who daily embraces Christ’s own model of laying down his life for his friends, and that I may keep always present in my mind the realization that my life and vocation are a gift to be given away for Love of Christ.