For George E. Cherrie Jr., a banker's life wasn't enough.

As general auditor of BankAmerica Corp., he had all the trappings of success: the $350,000 salary, the pretige, the San Francisco town house, the 51st-floor office with the panaramic view.

But, Mr. Cherrie says, "my mind and heart were someplace else."

Poverty, Chastity, Obedience

So after 34 years with America, he gave it all up last month to join a Catholic religious order dedicated to serving the poor. Today, the 57-year-old former executive lives in a spartan room at a friary of the Conventual Franciscans in a suburb outside San Francisco.

Soon Mr. Cherrie will move to another friary in central California and put on the habit and black sandals of a novice. After two years, he will take a Franciscan brother's vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience.

His workday will consist of counseling society's outcasts: drug addicts, prisoners, AIDS patients. His stipend as a brother will be $75 a month.

Mr Cherrie has no family ties to keep him from a religious life. His marriage to an Argentine woman ended in amicable divorce, and his only daughter is grown.

The former banker says his choice reflect a yearning that has been within him most of his

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