At 27 years old, Daniel Schachle was ready for a change. He was making decent money in the paper industry, but with his eighth child on the way he needed a job that would allow him to provide for his growing family.
He sought the advice of his father, who provided for six children as a hardworking entrepreneurial business owner.
“In his characteristic simple wisdom, he said, ‘Pray like it’s all up to God, but act like it’s all up to you.’ He would go on to tell me that it required both sides of the above formula, not just one. This was a call to action for me,” Schachle recalled.
Reflecting on his job in the paper industry, he realized that while it seemed secure, there were no guarantees. He also realized there’s no less security in working for yourself than for someone else.
“Now the question was where and how was I going to do it?” Schachle explained.
He began reading books about how to find the vocation God created you for and came across a quote from St. Catherine of Siena: “Be who God made you to be and you will set the world on fire.” He thought about how his father came to embrace his own calling as the founder of a successful water drilling business.
“He told me he didn’t like it very much when he was young and he used to run and hide when there were problems with the farm’s well growing up. He told me that eventually he realized that water was essential to sustain life and he could help thousands of people by dedicating himself to making sure they had it,” said Schachle.
Around this time Schachle was elected grand knight of St. Mary’s Mission Council 8083 in Savannah, Tennessee, and he read Parish Priest, eager to learn more about Father McGivney’s life and mission for the K of C. In the book, he learned more about the history of the Order while finding answers to the personal questions he was grappling with.
“What did God create me to do for him in my business life? How could I integrate my vocation to ‘bring water’ to God’s people and tie it all together with my striving to become a better Catholic, husband, and father so I could lead my family to heaven?” Schachle said. “For me, I felt I was being called to follow Blessed Michael McGivney in bringing water to God’s people through helping them financially.”
As a member who had an insurance policy himself, Schachle knew the nearest agent lived three hours away.
“Seeing that Blessed McGivney had founded us to take care of widows and orphans, I knew I was living in a McGivney desert when it came to this side of the Order’s mission,” said Schachle.
But when he was thinking about becoming a K of C insurance agent, some friends and family members, including his beloved father, questioned him.
“I had plenty of people telling me that I was crazy, that my family would starve, that I can’t walk away from the best job for fifty miles to go sell insurance to Catholics in an area that was only 2% Catholic,” said Schachle.
“It did sound crazy but our God is a God of radical miracles. The only question that needed to be answered for me was, is this God’s will for my life? If the answer was yes, then He would help me.”
Despite the people around him doubting the career shift, Schachle saw a need. Real Catholic families were suffering without a K of C insurance agent in the area, and he couldn’t ignore it.
“Once the decision was made, Dad always supported and was proud of me, but I was in uncharted waters. He told me before he passed that he was glad I became an agent and he was sorry for discouraging me. He told me not to do it because he thought he couldn’t, not because I couldn’t. He said he thought I found my calling,” Schachle said.
Knights of Columbus agents continue Father McGivney’s mission in a special way. Learn more about becoming an agent
Originally published in a special weekly edition of Knightline, a resource for K of C leaders and members. Access Knightline’s monthly archives