Faith in Action Blog
It was while she was a student at Thomas Aquinas College that Sr. Juliana Schmitt, O.Cist. (’86), first became aware of her vocation to the religious life. Yet as is often the case, God’s plans for her unfolded slowly — and circuitously. So it took several years before Sr. Juliana found her way to the Valley of Our Lady Monastery in Prairie du Sac, Wis., where she now happily lives the life of a cloistered nun.
Sr. Julianna tells her vocation story in the upcoming issue of Religious Life magazine, humorously and candidly describing how God used her human foibles and weaknesses for His greater glory. “But even a misunderstanding of God’s message can be a real part of God’s ways,” she writes. “Mistakes and even sins within the decision process don’t bother God. He blithely uses all sorts of materials for His divine purposes!”
The article will appear in the magazine’s May/June edition, but thanks to the generosity of the Institute for Religious Life, the College has received permission to post Sr. Juliana’s story (PDF) online. Enjoy!
A professor of philosophy at St. Michael’s Abbey Seminary in Orange County, Rev. Sebastian Walshe, O.Praem. (’94), recently appeared on Catholic Answers Live, where he discussed The Power and Purpose of Celibacy. As a regular guest on the nation’s top-rated Catholic radio program, Fr. Sebastian has covered a wide range of topics, both philosophical and theological. Past episodes are available for streaming/download via the Catholic Answers website:
- Open Forum for Non-Catholics (December 12, 2011)
- How Biblical Inspiration Works (October 21, 2011)
- The Role of Logic in Apologetics (May 7, 2011)
- Are You Predestined? (February 10, 2011)
- The Nature of Prophecy (December 6, 2010)
- Can Doctrine Develop? (April 26, 210)
We recently learned that Ivitea Connolly (’08) joined the Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus in October 2011. A community of non-cloistered, contemplative nuns, the Adorers, through their prayers and sacrifices, support the works and the priests of the Institute of Christ the King. The picture above shows Sr. Ivitea receiving her cape as a postulant. More photos from the ceremony are available at the Institute’s website.
Members of the Morey family at the October 30, 2011, solemn profession of Sr. Pauline of Christ (Bridget Morey ’05), from left to right: Rev. Joshua Morey, O.S.B. (’00), Eric Morey (’10), Clement Moore, Molly Morey, Kathy Morey, Cecilia Moore, Bernadette (Morey ’06) Moore, Nick Morey (’03), Noah Morey, Brian Morey (’02), Jude Moore, and Joel Moore (’06).
We have received the following wonderful news from the Morey family:
“On October 30, 2011, Sister Pauline of Christ (Bridget Morey ‘05) made her solemn profession of vows at the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Valparaiso, Neb. The Most Rev. Fabian Bruskewitz, Bishop of Lincoln, was the celebrant for the Solemn Pontifical Mass and Veiling. Rev. Joshua Morey, O.S.B. (’00), was Deacon, and Rev. Joseph Lee, F.S.S.P. (’00), was Subdeacon. Rev. Brendan Kelly (’85) also assisted in the sanctuary. Fr. Morey, Sr. Pauline’s oldest brother, gave an inspirational homily. The ceremony was so majestic, and the Sisters’ Gregorian chant was so beautiful! After the ceremony, there was a reception in the Turn Room for family and guests and visiting time in the Speak Room with Sr. Pauline. This gathering was a marvelous family reunion, too, as all seven of Sr. Pauline’s siblings attended, coming from seven different states.”
Praise be to God! In 2010, the Thomas College Aquinas Newsletter printed the following brief profile about Sr. Pauline:Read more
The fourth and final profile in our ongoing series about the College’s newest alumni priests is Pater Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist. (’06), a Cistercian monk at Stift Heiligenkreuz in Vienna Austria. Be sure to also read our previous profiles of Rev. Nicholas Blaha (’02), Rev. Joseph Dygert (’02), and Rev. Jonathan Perrotta (’95).
The above photo comes from the latest issue (PDF) of First Fruits, the newsletter of the Norbertine Canonesses of the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph in Tehachapi, Calif. It depicts several of the sisters assembling wreathes as part of the order’s annual fundraiser. Shown second from the right is Annie Huguelet (’11).
Shortly before her graduation in May, Miss Huguelet offered the following reflection about her vocation in an address to the College’s Board of Governors:
“With graduation on the horizon, I have my eyes set on the eagles, turned Heavenward, and I plan to continue the education I have received here at Thomas Aquinas College by pursuing the contemplative life. I will do then what I have learned to do here, which is to raise my mind and my heart up to God.”
How beautiful it is to see her joyfully living out that vocation today!
- Related: Alumnae Norbertines
Periodically, the Catholic Answers Live radio program hosts a show that is directed specifically toward non-Catholics — whether fallen-away believers, Protestants, atheists, agnostics, or adherents of any other faith. Only self-identified non-Catholic listeners can call in during these shows, asking questions about the Church, its teachings, and its truth claims. Sometimes the callers call out of genuine curiosity about the Faith; other times they call out of hostility, hoping to “stump” the host and guests. Invariably, it is a lively exchange.
On Monday’s 3:00 p.m. (PT) “Open Forum for Non-Catholics,” the guest charged with answering these questions will be Rev. Sebastian Walshe, O.Praem. (’94), a Catholic Answers Live regular. No doubt, he will be well-prepared: Speaking at Thomas Aquinas College’s 40th Anniversary Gala in September, Fr. Sebastian said, “as a guest on Catholic Answers Live, I listen to sometimes very diverse questions from people around the world about the Catholic faith. At the College, of course, we have the seminar method of education. So I feel that I have been really blessed with that capacity to hear someone and understand what he is saying and to try to address his questions in a way he can understand.”
Related: Previous appearances by Fr. Sebastian on Catholic Answers Live:
- How Biblical Inspiration Works (October 21)
- The Role of Logic in Apologetics (May 7)
- Are You Predestined? (February 10)
- The Nature of Prophecy (December 6, 2010)
- Can Doctrine Develop? (April 26, 2010)
Three alumni of the College who are currently pursuing graduate studies in Rome gathered in the Eternal City last week to celebrate Thanksgiving with some 30 other expats. Pictured above are Frater Maximilian Okapal, O.Praem. (’02), Marie Nuar (’02), and Frater Nathaniel Drogin, O. Praem. (’01). Frater Maximilian studies at the Angelicum; Miss Nuar and Frater Nathaniel are students at the Gregorian.
The friends have extra reason to be grateful this year. On June 23, 2012, Frater Maximilian is scheduled to be ordained to the priesthood as a member of the Norbertine Order at the Mission San Juan Capistrano Basilica in Orange County, Calif. His confrere, Frater Nathaniel, will be ordained to the diaconate at the same Mass.
“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!