Through The Eye Of A Needle

The Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, Long Island, has been preparing young men for the priesthood for decades. They come here for five years of rigorous study and training in the hopes of one day serving God and mankind in a local parish, CBS News Correspondent Harry Smith reports.

Each has a story of faith and commitment. But, perhaps none is as extraordinary as 37-year-old Jim O'Donnell's.

"A year ago I made 40 trips overseas. Traveled the world. Had 5,000 people working for me. Limos everywhere. Best restaurants. Great wines. It wasn't bad. But, it wasn't real," O'Donnell said.

This is reality for O'Donnell now. A modest room and two millennia of Christianity to master. Incredible because until last November, O'Donnell was the CEO of a global investment bank. The guy on Wall Street everyone else wanted to be. Money poured in by the millions. One day he realized it wasn't enough.

"For me, I always thought it was making another dollar. Traveling more. And the more I got. The more I wanted. And the less happy I was," he said.

So O'Donnell decided to forsake his life of luxury and power to become an equal among men pursuing truth and goodness, not wealth. The transition hasn't been easy.

"The first couple of weeks were rough. I said, 'Oh man, what am I doing?'" O'Donnell said.

But, through prayer and contemplation, O'Donnell has found his new life much to his liking.

"It's very peaceful, very different, very prayerful. And incredibly inspiring," he said.

O'Donnell first considered the priesthood as a teen-ager. He studied comparative religions at Princeton. Somehow, he got on the fast track to making a fortune. And learned this along the way.

"It doesn't mean making money is evil. Or doing well is wrong. But, I think it's what you do with it. And putting it in the right perspective. Working for the sake of working or making more money just for the sake of making more money isn't what matters. It's what you do with it. And what you give back," O'Donnell said.

Jim O'Donnell has decided the best thing he can give back is himself.

©1998 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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