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Br. Edward (’16) and Sr. Felicity Seeley (’14)
Br. Edward (’16) and Sr. Felicity Seeley (’14)

A small but growing religious community near the College’s California campus now includes a religious brother and sister who are also siblings — and Thomas Aquinas College graduates.

While studying for the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Br. Edward Seeley (’16) began to sense a call to the community life of a religious order. “I discerned the need to grow together with other people to help me grow closer to Christ,” he says, “to really support me in my vocation, to help call me out when I’m not doing enough, but also to help pick me up when I fall down.”

Br. Edward turned to the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception (CRIC), whom he knew from growing up in a parish that the Order serves in his hometown of Santa Paula, California. He joined the community on the Feast of the Visitation, May 31, 2020, and entered the novitiate on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2020. 

Around the same time, several women requested permission to enter the CRICs as the order’s first-ever female branch. Upon receiving the approval of the order’s General Council and the Most Rev. José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, the Canonnesses Regular of the Immaculate Conception formally established their own community, beginning with just two postulants.

When Sr. Felicity Seeley (’14), who had been pursuing a religious vocation for several years and was working in the College’s Financial Aid Office, learned of the new community, she was immediately interested. The Canonnesses permitted her to participate in as much of their common prayer life as she could fit into her schedule, and after a few months, she discerned that Our Lord was calling her to join their ranks. She became a postulant and received the habit on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, February 11, 2021.

“My discernment process had been long and somewhat grueling, with visits to many communities,” she says. “Now it is clear that God was teaching me about those communities so that I could bring that knowledge and experience with me to help found this community in my own hometown. His timing is always the best!”

The Canonnesses have recently been joined by a fourth postulant and now await approval from the Archdiocese to begin their novitiate.

“Discernment was a time of wild emotions, joy at the beauty of it all as well as discouragement at what seemed to be setbacks,” Sr. Felicity says. “My education at Thomas Aquinas College gave me the skills to analyze those emotions, to hear God’s voice in them, but also a bedrock of security to know what is unchanging even in that internal tempest. Since I am a foundress, my studies in theology and philosophy will be of great use to this new community. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds!”