Faith in Action Blog

Faith in Action Blog

Maureen Gahan (’76) with some of her Milestone clients at her retirement party in September Maureen Gahan (’76) with some of her Milestone clients at her retirement party in September

It is a “repeating story,” says Maureen Gahan (’76), one she heard thousands of times during her recently concluded tenure as the founding director of Milestones Clinical and Health Resources in Bloomington, Indiana. The story typically begins when a child first goes to school, and intellectual disabilities or mental-health problems start to surface — or become unmanageable. “Parents notice that one of their children may not be developing the same way their others did, or the child has trouble in school. Nobody knows what to do.”

For the last 15 years — the second act of a remarkable, three-decade career as a social-services executive — Miss Gahan worked to find answers for families struggling with mental-health disorders or intellectual disabilities. On September 30, that career came to an end, as Miss Gahan retired as the director of Milestones, a job that, at one time, she never would have imagined for herself, at an institution that would not have existed without her initiative, in a field that, though not her first choice, proved to be her calling.

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Cover: Alaska's Wild LifeFollowing the 2013 publication of her first children’s book, Monica Estill (’98) has recently released her first coloring book, Alaska’s Wild Life. The book features 32 black-and-white images of varying complexity designed to “spark creativity, relieve stress, and provide a window to explore an Alaskan dreamland.”

A 10-year resident of Anchorage, Monica describes herself as “a poet, artist, and philosopher.” Her previous work includes designing high-end residential interiors, creating sacred art, and her children’s book, The Bossy Boulder, the story of a rock who sits atop a mountain and — he thinks — the world, until time and change humble him. Like The Bossy Boulder, Alaska’s Wild Life features Monica’s quirky, detailed artistry, including images of a snowboarding fox and a mermaid swimming with a whale.

“Love is the real sunshine,” the author proclaims on the coloring book’s back cover, “and this is what I try to paint.”


Meghan Duke (’08) and Elizabeth (McPherson ’99) Claeys (Photos: Dana Rene Bowler) Meghan Duke (’08) and Elizabeth (McPherson ’99) Claeys (Photos: Dana Rene Bowler)

Wednesday morning, while the United States Supreme Court held oral arguments in the case that the College and 34 co-plaintiffs have filed against the HHS Contraceptive Mandate, Women Speak for Themselves organized a rally outside the Court. Among the speakers at the rally were two alumnae of the College, Meghan Duke (’08) and Elizabeth (McPherson ’99) Claeys.

A former managing editor of First Things who is now a writer in The Catholic University of America’s Office of Marketing and Communications, Miss Duke spoke about her time volunteering for the Little Sisters of the Poor, who have become the focal point of the national debate on religious freedom. Mrs. Claeys, who is chairman of the Washington, D.C., Board of Regents, spoke about the importance of the Catholic faith to the College and pressed the key points in the College’s case. The full text of her remarks is available via the College’s website.

 


Alumnus Author: Holy Week & Don Quixote

“There is a wisdom that belongs to idiots,” writes alumni author Sean Fitzpatrick (’02). “Don Quixote may be mad, but there are forms of madness that are divine.”

In a thoughtful piece for Crisis timed for Holy Week, Don Quixote and the Via Dolorosa, Mr. Fitzgerald considers Miguel de Cervantes’ Adventures of Don Quixote as a fitting Lenten read:

“The adventures of Don Quixote are a Passion where the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. The novel takes up its cross, chapter after chapter, and follows after Christ. Chapter after chapter, the Knight of the Sorrowful Face falls, and, chapter after chapter, he gets up again and continues on. It is a book that plays out with all the pain and poignancy, all the humanity and humor, that composes the chivalric call of the Christian life. …

“[It] is the Lenten quest of every Christian soul: to bring harmony and order to times that are out of joint. What Don Quixote finds is that the world is sundered and senseless, and the work to rebuild among the ruins is treacherous. Though he is trampled and trounced time and again, Don Quixote resolutely rides on for the unity and wisdom of bygone days and is upheld by his vision as he battles through the divisions and disconnections of modernity.”

The headmaster of Gregory the Great Academy in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Mr. Fitzpatrick writes frequently for Crisis. The complete article complete article is available via the magazine’s website.


Court Case - Ps. 119:153-4

Among the many friends of Thomas Aquinas College who have lent their spiritual assistance to the College’s legal effort against the HHS Contraceptive Mandate are the Missionaries of Charity. This morning, the Sisters of Bl. Mother Teresa’s order in New York City offered their daily Mass intention and an “emergency novena” on the College’s behalf — thanks to the intercession of an alumnus priest.

Rev. Nicholas Callaghan (’96)Rev. Nicholas Callaghan (’96), a priest serving the Archdiocese of New York, offered today’s 7:00 a.m. Spy Wednesday Mass for the Sisters at their convent on East 145th street in the Bronx. “The MC sisters were very happy to agree to have the College and the case as the intention of the Mass,” reports Fr. Callaghan. “Given the urgency of the case and the fact of the arguments today, they offered an ‘emergency novena’ immediately after Mass. This, as you may know, was a hallmark of Bl. Teresa: Nine Memorare prayers said in a row. It was her go-to solution in moments of crisis and is held in high esteem by the sisters. A particular feature of the ‘emergency novena’ this morning, which I have never encountered before, was the addition of an antiphon, chosen by them as appropriate for the subject of our petition today.”

Fr. Callaghan scanned the Sisters’ chosen antiphon, posted above.

Thanks be to God!


Dr. Adam Seagrave ('05)Dr. Adam Seagrave ('05)In honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Park Services, Dr. Adam Seagrave (’05) has penned a thoughtful piece for The Public Discourse about the role of the national parks — and Nature more broadly — in the American political tradition. “Over the past 400 years, we Americans have had a very different relationship with nature than the Europeans have,” writes Dr. Seagrave, “and this relationship has powerfully informed what is best in our political culture and public discourse.”

An assistant professor of political science at Northern Illinois University, Dr. Seagrave is the author of The Foundations of Natural Morality: On the Compatibility of Natural Rights and the Natural Law and editor of Liberty and Equality: The American Conversation. A regular contributor to The Public Discourse, Dr. Seagrave observes, “It was because of Americans’ early and unique experience with ‘Nature’ that they came to embrace Locke’s political philosophy in the eighteenth century, with its emphasis on the importance of natural rights and the natural law for politics.” Yet as the country became further removed “from this original experience of nature, through the passage of time and the development of artificial civilization and culture, the original meaning and political significance of nature progressively began to be forgotten. … By the early twentieth century, we were ready to ‘progress’ beyond the founders’ and Lincoln’s ideas, which now seemed naïve, about the political relevance of a grand and significant ‘Nature.’”

By restoring our awe, or reverence, for nature, Dr. Seagrave concludes, the National Parks play a vital role in helping Americans to “connect — or rather reconnect — with something important and distinctive about our national heritage.”

The full article I available via The Public Discourse.

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Sierra Silverstrings, featuring the children of Eve (Bouchey ’97) and Jeremy McNeil (’96) Sierra Silverstrings, featuring the children of Eve (Bouchey ’97) and Jeremy McNeil (’96)

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, KOLO 8, the ABC affiliate in Reno, Nevada, has put together the following segment about Sierra Silverstrings — a local Irish band whose members are the children of Eve (Bouchey ’97) and Jeremy McNeil (’96):

“When people say you play together, you stay together, it’s kind of true, because we were friends, but now we know each other better,” young Brigit McNeil tells KOLO News. “It’s hard to explain. It connects us. We play together, and when you play music, it’s such a joyful thing to create those sounds with each other.”

According to the Sierra Silverstrings website, the band is booked for three shows today, St. Patrick’s Day, and another two more on Saturday, the Feast of St. Joseph.


Kayla (Kermode ’12) SixKayla (Kermode ’12) Six

Four years ago, as she was wrapping up her Senior Thesis, Kayla (Kermode ’12) Six was recruited by the insurance conglomerate WellPoint for a process-consulting position at its Thousand Oaks headquarters. Four years later, WellPoint is now called Anthem, Mrs. Six has risen to the position of sourcing manager, and she has been named to the supply-chain industry’s list of 30 under 30 Rising Stars.

The list, which is a joint venture of the Institute for Supply Management and ThomasNet, “highlights the accomplishments of rising supply management professionals” under the age of 30. “During her four years in procurement, Six has been the enterprise-wide strategic sourcing lead for multiple business areas and spend categories simultaneously,” reads her “30 Under 30” profile. Says Anthem’s director of strategic sourcing, Greg Antoniono, “Kayla’s ability to gain mastery of technically complex areas of sourcing, manage demanding internal clients and still drive innovation and great results — 37 percent savings in a mature category is just one example — is extraordinary.”

The profile additionally notes that Mrs. Six “is most proud of negotiating an integrated voice-response contract, which had to be coordinated and collaborated with more than 40 business owners to implement consolidation and create a joint-governance model between Anthem and the supplier. The project had to assure compliance to regulations, drive innovation, address current issues and opportunities and track service level agreements.”

Just last month, Mrs. Six returned to her alma mater to offer students advice at a Career Strategies Workshop.


Rev. Miss Therese Ivers, JCL, OCV (’03) and His Holiness Pope Francis (L’Osservatore Romano Photo Service) Rev. Miss Therese Ivers, JCL, OCV (’03) and His Holiness Pope Francis (L’Osservatore Romano Photo Service)

To mark the end of the recently concluded Year of Consecrated Life, the Vatican hosted an international symposium, “Consecrated Life in Communion,” which culminated in a February 1  audience with His Holiness Pope Francis. Among those in attendance — and privileged to meet the Holy Father personally — was an alumna of the College and a consecrated virgin, Rev. Miss Therese Ivers, JCL, OCV (’03).

Rev. Miss Therese Ivers was one of about 600 members of the Ordo Virginum from around the world who participated in the Symposium. Sacred virgins are consecrated to Christ, but unlike religious sisters, they do not live in community. Instead they devote their lives to the service of Christ and His church in some other way. Rev Miss Ivers, for example, is a canon lawyer living in Rome. An experienced judge and advocate, she specializes in the theology of consecrated life and law. She holds a diploma from the Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in the Theology and Law of Consecrated Life.

“I did not know I’d meet the Pope, but knee injuries had me in a wheelchair, which put me in the front section for the audience,” she recalls. “My companion for the Symposium was a consecrated virgin who recently retired as a firefighter. I am glad she was able to meet the Pope with me after all the pushing she did over cobblestones.” A video clip of the two consecrated virgins meeting Pope Francis is available below:

When asked what she said to Pope Francis, Rev. Miss Ivers replies, “I simply said, ‘Holy Father.’ He asked me to pray for him, and I asked for his prayers. That was it and he blessed me.”

 


Joseph O’Brien (’93)Joseph O'Brien (’93)In the pages of the Catholic Business Journal, Joseph O’Brien (’93) profiles three Catholic priests who are, as he puts it, “making confession a hallmark of their own Year of Mercy.” The managing editor of the Adoremus Bulletin, Mr. O’Brien asks the priests to explain the importance of penance, what role it has played in their vocations, and why it is so important to the ongoing Jubilee Year. Among those he consults are two of his old friends from Thomas Aquinas College, classmates Rev. Mark Moriarty (’95) and Rev. Jonathan Perrotta (’95), both pastors of Midwestern parishes.

Rev. Mark Moriarty (’95)Rev. Mark Moriarty (’95)The pastor of St. Agnes Parish in St. Paul, Minnesota, Fr. Moriarty (’95) recounts how his time at the College — and particularly the influence of then-chaplain Rev. Gerard Steckler, S.J. — heightened his appreciation of God’s mercy and, in turn, helped lead him to his vocation. “I was impressed with [Fr. Steckler’s] casual way of inviting us to experience mercy when he invited incoming freshmen to have 10 minutes of spiritual direction each week,” he says. “It wasn’t just a formality, but combined true vulnerability with a lifting of the veil of God. … I thought that was a truly beautiful thing. So that affected me in terms of my interest in being a priest.”

Rev. Jonathan Perrotta (’95)Rev. Jonathan Perrotta (’95)Fr. Perrotta (’95), meanwhile, observes that, as matter of human psychology, “There is overwhelming evidence that we have a need to confess, to speak to another our sins, even when we don’t go away knowing we have been forgiven.” Yet this sense of unburdening one’s self, he adds, is nothing compared to the true relief that comes when one avails himself of sacramental confession, thereby “knowing all of my sins have been completely destroyed; the sin and the guilt are no longer there.” In these moments, Fr. Perrotta tells Mr. O’Brien, “God and his mercy are present.”

For many more such words of pastoral wisdom, read the full article on the Catholic Business Journal website.