With the recent rains in California, the Santa Paula Creek, which runs alongside Thomas Aquinas College, is chuckling with water once again, while the surrounding hills are bursting with greenery! A new video from TAC-California student Joshua Moore (CA’24) celebrates the blessing — which might also be a gesture of support from an old friend.

In the final years of her life, Marilyn McArthur, the wife of the College’s founding president, Dr. Ronald McArthur, devoted herself to prayer, particularly for relief from California’s severe drought. Now, just months after Mrs. McArthur left this world, her beloved state has seen record rains, the College’s Santa Paula campus receiving more than a foot of rain over the last two weeks.

Cathy Walsh (’80), Mrs. McArthur’s caretaker and friend of many years, doubts this is a coincidence. “We were praying for rain for about two years,” Miss Walsh recalls. “At first we were saying, ‘Send us the rain we need!’” But reflecting on California’s oft-wayward ways, she and Mrs. McArthur decided to get creative with their petitions. “We rewrote the prayer to remind God that He rains on the just and the unjust,” she laughs. The prayerful pair additionally sought the intercession of St. Genevieve, Elijah the Prophet, and St. Joseph Vaz — all patrons of rain in a dry season.

When Mrs. McArthur died in October, however, the list of intercessors grew. “Two weeks after she died, I said, ‘I’m going to ask her, too,’” says Miss. Walsh. “Two days later, we had an inch of rain — and it hasn’t stopped since then!”

Though it has brought relief, January’s rainstorms have not been without their darker side, as damaging floodwaters continue to bedevil certain portions of the state. “I’m still, praying,” says Ms. Walsh, “But maybe for a little mitigation now.”

The rain is, overall, a blessing which the drought-stricken state has desperately needed. When the Santa Paula campus’s flowers bloom in what is sure to be an especially verdant spring, students may see in the vibrant colors one more way that Mrs. McArthur has found to give to the school her husband helped to found.

Mrs. McArthur's prayer for rain
Mrs. McArthur and Miss Walsh’s prayer for rain