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Passion Project: Brookfield man shares his journey from pediatrician to priest

Posted at 10:01 AM, Oct 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-23 11:01:35-04

BROOKFIELD -- This week in our Passion Project series we have spotlighted people who left everything to pursue their dreams.

Next, is the story of a man who left his career as a pediatrician to become a priest.

Father Dennis Saran sold his two homes, left his practice as a beloved pediatrician in Waukesha County and life as he knew it to join the seminary.

He says he is now happier.

"This is what God wanted me to do," said Father Saran. "I think even in college he wanted me to do that, but I was too interested in following my brother, and I liked girls too much too."

His path to priesthood is even more remarkable when we learned he has been married twice. He was given an exception for two reasons: his first marriage was annulled and his second wife passed away.

He felt the tug of priesthood during his successful medical career, "I was not happy at work and I cant give you a reason I was just dissatisfied a little bit. I was reading religious things about an hour or two every night!"

In 2009, his wife was diagnosed with lung cancer and she died just months later.

That's when he recalled something his father said to him, when he graduated medical school.

"My dad came up to me and said, 'I thought you would be my priest.'"

He went back to school, this time in a seminary for five years.

Today, the 64-year-old serves as a priest at St. Dominic Catholic Parish in Brookfield.

His parish is just minutes away from his old practice. He finds his old and new positions mirror each other.

"You're talking to families, you're helping them in hard times in their lives," said Saran. "It's really very similar."

Julia Fello has many other stories like this in her Passion Project series. This includes a lawyer turned brewery owner, car mechanic turned video blogger, businesswoman turned nun, nurse turned farmer, and a woman who left her Amish community to become a business owner.

If you have a Passion Project idea, e-mail us at