Friday, August 10, 2012

Dominic's followers

     I've missed a few days of posting, but I would like to "catch up".  We have had some great saints on the calendar this week.  On the 8th of August we honored Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers.   Renowned in his day, his charism continues through countless men and women throughout the world.  I have had a very limited experience and encounters with Dominicans, but I would like to mention three that touched my life. 

     At Saint Francis Seminary, for a few years, we had Father John Davis of the Order of Preachers on our faculty.  I remember him as being outgoing and a good liturgist.  I'm not sure what happened to him, but being the first Dominican that I met, he is remembered.

     There are two other Dominicans that I have come to know and respect for their holiness, their love of the church, and their preaching/teaching abilities.  They are Fathers Michael Champlin and Nicholas Punch, who together with Sister Joan Bukrey, OSF, form a retreat/parish mission team that is based out of the Thomas More Center in Webster, Wisconsin.  I have had the honor of having them visit parishes that I been assigned to in Greensburg and Scottdale, and they have ministered in a number of other parishes in our diocese over the years.  I look forward to calling upon them again in the near future.  They are great people, good Religious, excellent teachers, and true ministers of the Gospel.  Dominic's charism of preaching and teaching is exemplified in the lives of these three Dominicans, and my life is better for the presence of their ministry.


     Someone closer to our time, in fact within our recent history, is a woman Religious by the name of Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross of the Carmelite Order.  Her feast is on the 9th of August.  She lived in Europe at a most difficult time, and was arrested, imprisoned at Auschwitz, and put to death in 1942 by the Nazi's.  The reason for her death was two-fold:  she was an intellectual, a philosopher and scholar before entering Carmel, and also because she came from a Jewish background.  Her name before entering religious life was Edith Stein.  Her death, along with millions of Jews and Catholics and Christians, and outcasts and intellectuals and priests and religious, is part of the dreadful legacy of our human condition apart from God.  Maybe her elevation to the altar, along with Maximilian Kolbe whose feast is this coming Tuesday, will help us remember those dark days when the world was embraced by evil.

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