Faith in Action Blog
Srs. Mary Thomas and Mary Andre
Thomas Aquinas College Senior Rachel Bright reports the following wonderful news from Tehachapi, California, where her sister and another alumna have made their first professions with the Norbertine Canonesses of the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph:
Two alumnae religious, Sr. Mary Thomas, O.Praem. (Alison Bright ’09), and Sr. Mary Andre, O.Praem. (Annie Huguelet ’11), recently made their first profession of vows as cloistered Norbertine Canonesses and received their black veils. The Rite of First Profession took place during Mass on the morning of June 6, the Feast of St. Norbert, in the monastery’s chapel. The Very Rev. Alphonsus Mary Hermes, O.Praem., provost of the priory, offered the Mass. Earlier that morning, the canonesses had been vested and received their religious names.
The families of Sr. Mary Thomas, Sr. Mary Andre, and the three other canonesses who also made their first vows were able to witness the professions from the small lay portion of the chapel. Each sister had previously handwritten her profession and read the following text:
“I renounce the world and I promise a conversion of my ways and life in community, especially in poverty, consecrated chastity, and obedience, according to the Rule of St. Augustine and the Constitutions of the Canonesses Regular of the Order of Premontre, to you Mother Prioress and to the sisters for three years.”
After Mass, the families visited with the newly professed and vested, as well as many of the other sisters, who remained behind the grille of the visiting parlor. It was a very joyful time. The Norbertine Canonry in Tehachapi, now home to 29 sisters, continues to growing rapidly, with two young women set to enter this summer.
Thanks be to God!
Now featured on the College’s website is a profile of Elizabeth Trojack (’06), foundress and head of the Elizabeth Ann Seton Montessori School in St. Paul, Minnesota:
“When I was discerning what college to go to, I was young, and I had my own mindset,” says Miss Trojack. Perhaps because her older sister, Anne (Schniederjan ’04), was a student at Thomas Aquinas College, Elizabeth was inclined to blaze her own path and go someplace else. “But I believe God had a different plan for me,” she says. While praying at Adoration, she detected an unmistakable call to that Catholic, liberal arts college in California that she had initially forsworn.
More than a decade later, she now understands the why behind that call. “I am so thankful that God led me to Thomas Aquinas College and to meet the people I met, to read the books I read, to learn from the tutors that I studied under,” she notes. “I absolutely wouldn’t be where I am today without the tools, the resources, and the critical-thinking skills that the College gave me.”
Follow the link to read the whole profile.
By God’s grace, the College has been blessed with 60 alumni priests to date, and more are still on the way. The latest young graduate to answer God’s call is Justin Lefevre (’00), who this month is entering the Sacred Heart of Jesus Monastery in Portland, Oregon — the first Maronite monastery in the Western United States. He will be a postulant with the Monks of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and he will soon begin preparing for the priesthood. “The College and its intentions will be in the monastery’s prayers continually,” he writes. And may he be in all of our prayers as he continues to discern his vocation.
In July educators will gather in Emmitsburg, Maryland, for Love for Wisdom, Passion for Truth, the 2014 conference of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education. Among the speakers will be four graduates of the College:
- Laura (Steichen ’75) Berquist, the founder and director of Mother of Divine Grace School, a distance-learning program serving more than 4,000 students in the United States and abroad
- Dr. Andrew Seeley (’87), a tutor at Thomas Aquinas College and the executive director of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education
- Jessie (Ellis ’86) Van Hecke, a kindergarten and first grade teacher at St. Augustine Academy in Ventura, California
- Michael Van Hecke (’86), Headmaster of St. Augustine Academy and the president of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education
The Conference will take place July 21-24 at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary. More information is available via the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education website.
Please say a prayer for Rev. Hildebrand Garceau, O.Praem. (’78), a graduate of the College and one of its four chaplains, who today celebrates the 30th anniversary of his ordination.
Fr. Hildebrand is one of three priests from the Class of 1978, having received the Sacrament of Holy Orders at the hands of Timothy Cardinal Manning, then the Archbishop of Los Angeles, on June 16, 1984. He was one of the College’s first alumni priests, who now number 60, with another ordination set for this fall.
Over the last three decades, Fr. Hildebrand has served at various churches in Los Angeles and Orange counties, including seven years as the pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Costa Mesa. He returned to his alma mater as a chaplain in 2011.
Thanks be to God for this good and faithful priest!
The video above is of the ordination Mass of the Rev. Mr. Joshua Mayer (’03), whom the Most Rev. James Wall, Bishop of Gallup (N.M.), ordained to the transitional diaconate on May 24. Deacon Mayer is a seminarian at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, Colorado, where he studies under the direction of a fellow Thomas Aquinas College alumnus, Rev. Gary Selin (’89), the school’s formation director.
Meanwhile, the College has learned the joyful news that another alumnus will also shortly be entering the transitional diaconate. Frater Jacob (Joseph Hsieh ’06), O.Praem., will be ordained on June 21 at the hands of the Most Rev. Kevin William Vann, Bishop of Orange (Calif.) and the College’s 2013 Convocation Speaker. Frater Jacob recently appeared on this blog when he and several of his Norbertine confreres performed at Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in May.
May God bless both these young men in their new ministries and as they prepare for the priesthood!
Rev. Matthew Busch (’04) is the College’s 60th alumnus priest, having received the Sacrament of Holy Orders at the hands of the Most Rev. Gregory Parkes, Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee, on May 10. This photo from his ordination, which took place at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Pensacola, comes courtesy of the Knights of Columbus, Tallahassee, of which Fr. Busch is a member, and for which he now serves as a Faithful Friar. Fr. Busch will begin his first priestly assignment on July 1 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Tallahassee, where he also served as a transitional deacon.
Please be sure to keep this new priest in your prayers — and Deo gratias!
The Archdiocese of Denver Mortuary website has published the obituary and funeral information below for Peter Daniel Doran II (’06), who died last week. Please continue to pray for the repose of his soul and the consolation of his family.
Peter Daniel Doran II
Peter Daniel Doran II passed away suddenly June 4, 2014, from a pulmonary embolism that caused cardiac arrest. Born December 4, 1984, in Denver, he was 29 years old. Peter graduated high school from Colorado Catholic Academy in Wheat Ridge in 2002. He continued his education at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California, earning an undergraduate degree in philosophy and theology in 2006. He went on to earn a Master of Accountancy from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2012. He earned his CPA in 2014.
He is survived by his parents, Peter and Lou Ann Doran; three of his grandparents, Johanna Doran, and Hugh and Mary Hogan; his four siblings, Mary Kate, Mark, Kevin, and Sam; and by numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins whom he loved so well.
Peter was a most gentle son, a beloved brother, and a faithful friend. He served at Mass as an altar boy for much of his life. He taught the Holy Catholic Faith to others for years. He became an Extraordinary Minster of Holy Communion in 2014. He was a learned defender of the Faith. He loved hiking in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, especially conquering fourteeners with a bottle of Chimay to share with his fellow climbers. He constantly strove to console and comfort those in need. He made the best buttery, flaky, sweet apple pie. He will be sorely missed.
There will be a viewing from 6:00-7:00 pm June, 10, 2014, at Holy Ghost Catholic Church, followed by the recitation of the Rosary at 7:00 pm. His funeral Mass will be at 10 am Wednesday, June 11, at Holy Ghost Catholic Church, followed by interment at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Wheat Ridge. A reception will follow at Holy Ghost. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, and the Carmelite Monastery of Littleton.
Please pray for the soul of Peter Doran (’06), who died suddenly yesterday morning due to an illness. “He was a truly gentle soul,” says Director of Alumni Relations Mark Kretschmer (’99), who asks that fellow alumni and friends of the College also pray for the consolation of the Doran family.
Eternal rest, grant unto him O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.
The latest issue of Los Angeles Lawyer magazine includes an article by David A. Shaneyfelt (’81), Liability Insurance Considerations for Wage and Hour Class Actions (PDF). The article advises fellow attorneys on what to do when insurance companies deny coverage for the costs incurred in class-action lawsuits over wage and hour complaints.
After serving for five years as a shareholder with the New York-based law firm of Anderson Kill, Mr. Shaneyfelt recently joined The Alvarez Firm, a law corporation in Calabasas, California, headed by fellow Thomas Aquinas College graduate Justin Alvarez (’97). For nearly 30 years Mr. Shaneyfelt has litigated complex civil matters in state and federal courts, often insurance-coverage disputes. Previously he served as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, in Washington, D.C.
In addition to being an attorney, Mr. Shaneyfelt is a devoted husband and the father of seven children who now eagerly awaits the imminent birth of his second grandchild.