Faith in Action Blog
“My best memories of the College were being in the tutorials, learning through the great books, and the spiritual life,” recalls Rev. Hildebrand Garceau, O. Praem. (’78). “Our chaplains were very fine spiritual guides. It was through their example and through the prayer life we had at the College that I really developed my vocation.”
As the College’s newest chaplain, Fr. Hildebrand now has the opportunity to be the same sort of mentor and influence that the late Rev. Thomas McGovern, S.J., and Msgr. John Gallagher were when he was a student at Thomas Aquinas College more than 30 years ago. With Fr. Hildebrand joining Rev. Cornelius Buckley, S.J., and Rev. Paul Raftery, O.P., the College is now blessed to have three chaplains serving the spiritual needs of its 350 students, offering four Masses and numerous opportunities for confession daily.Read more
The Anchoress has posted the following, delightful video, featuring the Norbertine Canonesses of the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph in Tehachapi, Calif.
Three alumnae of the College are currently members of the “Sisters of the Mountains,” including Sr. Mary Oda (Jenny Tilley ’02). In addition to participating in the Sisters’ rich life of prayer and devotion, Sr. Mary Oda also serves as their cook, cares for their livestock, and is earning a master’s degree in theology.
At the 4:00 mark of the video, Sr. Mary offers a beautiful testimonial about why she left an Ivy League school to come to Thomas Aquinas College, and how the College helped her to find her vocation:
“I went to Princeton University first, and I was Protestant, but I came to a fuller understanding of the Catholic faith, and so I converted while I was there. Then I decided that I wanted a deeper experience of living that Catholic faith and knowing more about it, so I transferred to Thomas Aquinas College in California. Part of my thought in going there was that it would be a good place to find a good Catholic husband, but I found a really good husband in Christ as my spouse. I came to realize that really I was being called to the consecrated life.”
Sr. Mary Oda appears again at the 16:53 mark, and the video then shows scenes from her solemn profession on January 29, 2011. The whole production, however, is so edifying and inspiring that it deserves to be watched in its entirety!
Please join us in praying for alumna Alison Bright, who on Friday will be entering the Norbertine Canonesses of the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph in Tehachapi, Calif. Deo gratias!
- Related: Alumnae Norbertines
At Thomas Aquinas College’s recent 40th Anniversary Gala, two alumni were honored to address the guests. Rev. Sebastian Walshe, O.Praem. (’94), professor of philosophy at St. Michael’s Abbey Seminary in Orange, Calif., and Brenna Scanlon (’06), Principal of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish School in Oxnard, Calif., offered testimonials about their time at the College and how it prepared them for their service to the Church. Below is audio of their remarks:
Rev. Sebastian Walshe, O.Praem. (’94)
Brenna Scanlon (’06)
On Sunday night, Rev. Joseph Lee, F.S.S.P (’00), and Vanessa Brink (’04) appeared on EWTN’s Life on the Rock. The two spoke about Juventutem, a lay association founded in response to Pope John Paul II’s 2004 invitation to aid young Catholics who want want to participate in the extraordinary form of the Mass. You can watch the episode here:
We have learned the joyful news that another alumnus has entered the religious life. In August, Arden Mills (’08) was received into the novitiate of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, based in the Orkney Islands, Scotland. In addition to blessing him with the religious habit, his superiors also conferred upon him his religious name, Br. Peter — “after St. Peter the Apostle,” he writes.
The College is grateful for the prayers of all its alumni religious, and we continue to keep them all, including Br. Peter, in our prayers.
Oklahoma Living magazine has published a fascinating profile of Br. Joseph-Marie Owen, O.S.B. (’76), the lay brother who runs the farm for the Benedictine monks at Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek Abbey in Hulbert, Okla. The article discusses the great care Br. Joseph-Marie takes in raising a herd of Katahdin sheep, his reliance on some ancient shepherding techniques, and how his work and prayer life are one in the same. “There’s great joy in this life, but all this is only provisional,” he says. “It’s a dress rehearsal.”
Br. Joseph-Marie was one of the 13 monks from the 900-year-old Abbey Notre Dame de Fontgombault in France who founded Clear Creek in 1999, along with the Abbey’s subprior, Rev. Mark Bachmann, O.S.B. (’82). There are currently 10 Thomas Aquinas College alumni at Clear Creek, including Br. Andrew Marie Norton, O.S.B. (’06), who will make his solemn profession tomorrow.
We have received the joyful news that Br. Andrew Marie Norton (’06) will soon make his solemn profession as a Benedictine monk at Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek Abbey in Hulbert, Okla. Br. Andrew is one of 10 Thomas Aquinas College alumni at Clear Creek, including the Abbey’s subprior, Rev. Mark Bachmann, O.S.B. (’82). Writes Br. Andrew:
I will be making my solemn profession on Sept. 8, and this fills me with joy. I am so grateful to God for having led me on this path, to a life of intimacy with Himself. As this happy day approaches, I humbly ask for your prayers, that the Lord grant me the smallness necessary to soak up all of His love, like a sponge. Please be assured of my continued prayers …
Please pray for Br. Andrew as this beautiful day approaches!
On June 25 Frater Maximilian Christopher Okapal, O.Praem. (’02), was ordained to the transitional diaconate at Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano, Calif. Frater Maximilian is a brother at St. Michael’s Abbey of the Norbertine Fathers in Orange County, and he is currently studying theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome. He attended the Beatification of Bl. Paul II; you can read about his experiences on his blog, and see his photos in the recent issue of the Thomas Aquinas College Alumni Newsletter.
Alison Bright (’09) and Annie Huguelet (’11)
Alison Bright (’09) writes that, having recently earned a master’s degree in sacred theology from the International Theological Institute in Gaming, Austria, she plans to enter the Norbertine Canonesses of the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph in Tehachapi, Calif. She will be joining Annie Huguelet (’11), who entered the same Southern Californian monastery shortly after her graduation in May.
Sr.Mary Oda (’02)
Another alumna at the Priory is Sr. Mary Oda (Jenny Tilley ’02), who made solemn profession of religious vows in January. Her mother, Kathy Tilley, writes that “it was a magnificent ceremony,” taking place at the Saint John Cathedral in Fresno, and Sr. Mary Oda “is deeply happy.” After Thomas Aquinas College President Michael F. McLean sent Sister a Mass card on behalf of the College, she wrote back: “Praised be Jesus Christ! Thank you for your prayers and for having a Mass celebrated for my intentions for the occasion of my solemn profession. I appreciate very much your ongoing spiritual support of my vocation and our Norbertine community. Please be assured of my prayers and my warm greetings to all my friends at Thomas Aquinas College.”
Please pray for the vocations of our beloved alumnae sisters!