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Faith in Action Blog

Faith in Action Blog

Sr. Mary Thomas, O.Praem. (Alison Bright ’09) makes her final vows Sr. Mary Thomas, O.Praem. (Alison Bright ’09)

 

The following wonderful news comes via the family of Sr. Mary Thomas, O.Praem. (Alison Bright ’09):

Sr. Mary Thomas, O.Praem. (Alison Bright ’09) and family Sr. Mary Thomas, O.Praem. (Alison Bright ’09), and familyIt is with great joy that we announce that Sr. Mary Thomas, O.Praem., made her Profession of Solemn Vows (final vows) as a Norbertine Canoness in Tehachapi, California, on the Solemnity of the Presentation of the Lord.

The Very Rev. Thomas Nelson, O.Praem. offered the Mass and gave the homily, in which he spoke of how the three evangelical counsels, which Sr. Mary Thomas professed that day, are symbolized in the three manifestations of Christ at Christmas:  poverty at his manifestation to the shepherds, obedience in the coming of the Magi, and chastity in the Presentation in the Temple.

Sr. Mary Thomas, who entered the community on October 7, 2011, is one of three Thomas Aquinas College alumnae at the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph, the others being Sr. Mary Oda (Jennifer Tilley ’02) and Sr. Mary Andre (Anne Huguelet ’11).  Since the Holy See’s elevation of the community to an independent canonry within the Norbertine Order on January 29, 2011, the monastery has grown substantially, from 20 to over 40 canonesses.

Please keep Sr. Mary Thomas and the Norbertines in your prayers!

 Norbertine sisters at the final vows of Sr. Mary Thomas, O.Praem. (Alison Bright ’09): The Norbertine Canonesses of the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph

Photos courtesy of Rudy Aguilar, Adoremus Photography

 


Crucifix in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel

Please pray for Dr. Phil Wilmeth, father of Br. Augustine (Philip ’13) and John Parker (’15). Dr. Wilmeth suffered a heart last week and died shortly thereafter. “He was a good man, and did a lot of good for a lot of people,” his sons wrote on Facebook. “He was an ophthalmologist and restored sight and, at times, life to countless patients. We are so grateful for everything he did for us, and we want to honor him as best we can in his death.”

They ask friends to pray for the repose of their father’s soul and for the consolation of their mother, Anne, Dr. Wilmeth’s loving wife of 35 years.

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.


December
26, 2018

Members of the Morlino family in Rome for the October canonization of St. Katharina Kasper Members of the Morlino family in Rome for the October canonization of St. Katharina Kasper

In late October, alumna Genevieve Morlino (’17), along with her brother Dominic (’21) and their family, traveled to Rome for what she describes as “a rather momentous event” — the canonization of a family member.

St. Katharina Kasper St. Katharina Kasper“St. Katharina Kasper started the Congregation of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ in Germany in 1850, and her order has spread throughout the world,” writes Miss Morlino. “My mom and her sisters are some of her closest living relatives.” Miss Morlino’s late grandmother attended St. Katharina’s beatification in 1978. There she met His Holiness Paul VI, who presided over the beatification and whom, in God’s providence, His Holiness Pope Francis also canonized this October, alongside St. Katharina. “When we heard she was being canonized,” says Miss Morlino, “we all knew we had to go.”

A recent story in the National Catholic Register tells the history of St. Katharina, the miracle that led to her canonization, and the Morlinos’ decision to witness the solemn occasion. “Katharina Kasper was my grandmother’s great-great aunt,” the story quotes Miss Morlino’s mother, Fran, as saying. “We didn’t really think we would get [to Rome] this soon, but when we heard about the canonization we said, ‘Well, we’ll do what it takes to get there.’”

Spurred by her love of Jesus in the poor and the ill, St. Katharina established the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, along with four other women, in a small wooden house. Their mission is to minister to the sick and needy, especially children, and they are known for their love of simplicity. In the years since its founding, the community has spread from St. Katharina’s native Germany to Brazil, England, Germany, India, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, and the United States.

Meanwhile Miss Morlino, like her great-grandmother’s great-great aunt, is serving the poor as a program development assistant at Catholic Charities of Ventura County.

St. Katharina Kasper, pray for us!


Thumbnail of video with Fr. Miguel Batres Rev. Miguel Batres, O.Praem. (’08)

One of the College’s newest alumni priests, Rev. Miguel Batres, O.Praem. (’08), is now featured on The Abbot’s Circle, a digital library of spiritual resources from the Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey in Silverado, California. In a four-minute video, he considers the question, What is the Mass?

“The Mass is the most perfect prayer anyone can offer,” says Fr. Miguel. “There is a great, great, infinite distance between man and God, and we ourselves do not have the means to give God the perfect worship, to give God the perfect praise. And so it is Christ Himself who gives us that means through that sacrifice. Through the institution of the Eucharist, through the institution of the priesthood, He makes the Mass possible.”

The second youngest of 11 children of Mexican immigrants, Fr. Miguel came to Thomas Aquinas College in 2004 at the recommendation of his parish priest. He became acquainted with the Norbertines through one of the College’s then-chaplains, Rev. Charles Willingham, O.Praem., and entered the Norbertine Order shortly after his graduation. While in the seminary, he studied in Rome, where he three times had the privilege of chanting at papal Masses. He was ordained to the priesthood in 2017, and he returned to offer Mass at his alma mater just last year.

Since his ordination, Fr. Miguel has taken on the role of his community’s provisor, charged with providing for its material needs. He offers Masses in Spanish at nearby parishes, teaches religion at the abbey’s prep school, and reaches a far wider audience through his work on The Abbot’s Circle, beginning with his video about the Mass.  

“The Mass,” he says, “is ultimately about giving God that praise, that adoration which he deserves form all of His creation.”


Rev. Sebastian Walshe, O.Praem., (’94) is a regular guest on Catholic Answers Live Rev. Sebastian Walshe, O.Praem. (’94), is a regular guest on Catholic Answers Live. Photo: @catholiccom

“You’ve been in Massachusetts because you’re a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College,” began host Cy Kellett on a recent episode of Catholic Answers Live.

“That’s right,” replied Rev. Sebastian Walshe, O.Praem. (’94), a professor of philosophy at St. Michael’s Abbey in Silverado California. A regular guest on the apologetics radio program, Fr. Sebastian appeared on the November 5 episode to discuss religious freedom. But before getting to the topic of the day, Mr. Kellett wanted to know about the Norbertine priest’s alma mater. Among “all of us out here on the West Coast,” he said, “there’s a general amazement at the quality of students that are being turned out by Thomas Aquinas College.”

And so Fr. Sebastian described his recent trip to the Bay State, where he spoke on the College’s New England campus at a celebration of its recent approval from the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. “Thanks be to God, the College received the gift of a campus — with a number of buildings and so forth on a 100-acre property,” he said. “I was there to give a Mass and a little talk … and it was a very good, wonderful event.”

To which Mr. Kellett replied, “Congratulations to your alma mater embarking on this new endeavor. We can all pray that it’s successful!”

The entire interview — including Fr. Sebastian’s commentary about religious freedom — is available via the Catholic Answers website.


Maggie Conklin (’17) Maggie Conklin (’17)On their Facebook page, the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles report the wonderful news that, on September 14, they welcomed Maggie Conklin (’17) as a new postulant. Miss Conklin entered the community as a candidate in August of 2017 and, having completed her first year, she is taking the next step in her vocational discernment. She now may wear the Sister’s blue-and-white uniform, but not (yet!) the habit.

“We are so happy to have Maggie with us in Carmel,” the Sisters write. “Thanks be to God!”


Sr. Maria Battista of the Lamb of God (Maria Forshaw ’07)

Liza Forshaw reports the wonderful news that her daughter, Sr. Maria Battista of the Lamb of God (Maria Forshaw ’07), made her final vows at the Carmel of St. Joseph in St. Louis, Missouri, on June 9. “We are celebrating this morning a holy Mass that is a special occasion of joy and thanksgiving,” said Rev. Brian W. Harrison, O.S., who presided at the profession, “not just for Sr. Maria Battista, who has just now expressed publicly her answer to the call she has received from God; not just for her other sisters as well, here at St. Joseph’s Carmelite Monastery, not just for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, but also, I would venture to say, for the Universal Church.”

Sr. Maria Battista joined the Discalced Carmelites as a postulant in 2012, entered the novitiate in 2013, and made her first vows in 2015. As a member of this cloistered, contemplative community, she is dedicated to the prayerful service of the Church, and she is particularly involved in the musical life of her monastery.

“A young daughter of God is committing herself to a life which, in the greatest degree possible here on earth, anticipates the life of the Blessed in heaven,” continued Fr. Harrison. “And Sr. Maria Battista has answered this noble calling in the specifically Carmelite vocation — a way hallowed by some of the most outstanding and holy women in the history of the Church.”

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Forshaw, Maria’s parents, have made a special gift to the College in honor of her solemn profession. Her mother, Liza, said, “Maria is so grateful to the College for its profound influence on her and her religious vocation.”

Deo gratias!

Sr. Maria Battista of the Lamb of God (Maria Forshaw ’07)


Sr. Maria Battista of the Lamb of God (Maria Forshaw ’07) Sr. Maria Battista of the Lamb of God (Maria Forshaw ’07)Please pray for Sr. Maria Battista of the Lamb of God (Maria Forshaw ’07), who on Saturday will profess her final vows at the Carmel of St. Joseph in St. Louis, Missouri. Sr. Maria Battista joined the Discalced Carmelites as a postulant in 2012, entered the novitiate in 2013, and made her first vows in 2015. As a member of this cloistered, contemplative community, she is dedicated to the prayerful service of the Church, and she is particularly involved in the musical life of her monastery. “Maria is so grateful to the College for its profound influence on her and her religious vocation,” reports her mother, Liza Forshaw.

Thanks be to God!


Sr. Mary Margaret O’Brien, O.P. (’00) Sr. Mary Margaret O’Brien, O.P. (’00)The Facebook page of St. Agnes School in St. Paul, Minnesota, recently announced the newest member of its faculty: Sr. Mary Margaret O’Brien, O.P. (’00), who will be teaching at the elementary level.

A member of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Sr. Mary Margaret holds a post-baccalaureate teaching certificate from Eastern Michigan University and two master’s degrees: the first, in elementary education, from the University of Southern Mississippi, and the second, in theology, from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia.

At St. Agnes Sr. Mary Margaret will be joining two fellow graduates: Eileen (Keating ’93) Douglass, who teaches upper-level English, and Rev. Mark Moriarty (’95), the school’s superintendent. St. Agnes School is a perennial honoree on the Cardinal Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll, which recognizes schools marked by “the integration of Catholic identity throughout all aspects of their programs,” “excellence in academics,” and “an institutional commitment to providing a truly integrated and faithful Catholic education.”

“I have taught elementary school for nine years in Colorado, Michigan, Florida, and California,” writes Sr. Mary Margaret. “I love to tell stories and help students fall in love with Our Lord!”


Rev. Jerome Augustine Zeiler, O.P. (’00)“How do you confront the Culture of Death — a materialistic, secular, godless culture — when you’re immersed in it?” asks Rev. Jerome Zeiler, O.P. (’00), parochial vicar of St. Patrick’s Church in Columbus, Ohio. “You have to do more than go to Mass on Sunday. You need a Catholic culture that is more powerful for you than the worldly culture that surrounds you.”

To help provide young Catholics with that powerful, supportive culture, Fr. Zeiler serves as chaplain for the Columbus Frassati Society, according to a recent story on the Dominican Friars Foundation website. Named for Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, a Third Order Dominican who, through his great love, drew many of his peers to Christ, the Society offers regular spiritual, social, and service opportunities for as many as 20-50 young adults.

The experience that Fr. Zeiler seeks to create for the young adults in Columbus is, in key respects, similar to his own experience of living among fellow young Catholics as a student at Thomas Aquinas College. “The friendships I developed, real authentic friendships, were just an incredible support to my whole Catholic life,” he observed in a 2013 interview. “That was one of the most joyful aspects — being with likeminded men and women who were filled with God’s grace and who wanted to grow in His grace, and who were there to help me grow in His grace. It was just an incredible joy.”

May God bless the efforts of Fr. Zeiler and the Columbus Frassati Society!


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John Jost (’17)

“When you first arrive here, the upperclassmen are almost like your heroes because they’re at the place — or approaching the place — where you want to be, both intellectually and spiritually. It promotes friendship in a way that I have never seen before.”

– John Jost (’17)

Algonquin, Illinois

NEWS FROM THE COLLEGE

“Thomas Aquinas College is uniquely positioned and equipped to let light shine once more in our world, in our society, in our communities, in our families, in our relationships.”

– Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley, S.T.L., D.D.

Archbishop of Oklahoma City