Byron Radcliffe lives in Washington, D.C. and has worked in business development for 30 years.
How did you meet the Dominicans?
I met the Dominicans through Brother Edward van Merrienboer, O.P., in 1998 while living in St. Louis. I had previously contemplated studying for religious life and had also lived in Rome so a mutual friend thought we would have a lot in common. Through this friendship I have had the great fortune to meet and become friends with several members of the Order.
What drew you to the Dominicans in particular?
Growing up in a large Catholic family, we always had priests and brothers visiting the house, but I never had the opportunity to talk first hand with a Dominican until I met Brother Edward. As I learned more about the Dominicans and their preaching, it spoke to my heart and to what I had been seeking in Catholic spirituality. A void was filled for which I am forever grateful.
In what ways have you developed a personal relationship with Dominicans? What impact have the Dominicans had on you?
A day doesn’t pass without the Dominican Order impacting my life. I have a personal devotion to the Rosary and I also try on a daily basis to read some item of Dominican literature. Two examples are: Praying with the Dominicans by John Vidmar, O.P., and Advent and Christmas Wisdom from St. Thomas Aquinas by Father Andrew Carl Wisdom, O.P., which I was given this past Advent season. For each day in Advent the book provides the words of St. Thomas Aquinas, following a passage of scripture that is related, along with a prayer and finally an “Advent Action.” I felt a great closeness with the Order by reading this book each day and in applying the “advent action” into my life.
Why did you first decide to financially support the Dominican Order? Why do you still support the Dominicans?
My parents encouraged us as children to always support the works of the Catholic faith and for the most part I was always a good “giver” however, that was done because I felt an obligation, not a desire to truly assist in helping a mission. As I grew to know the Dominicans and their work for everyone no matter their faith, race, nationality, or social position, the more I understood and appreciated their mission. My feeling of giving changed from obligation to desire to help. Seeing the work they are doing and knowing the impact it has directly on the poor, those who are seeking faith, education, food or spirituality makes me want to support the Dominicans. I know my donations are being well spent and, are making a positive impact on our society.
Why do you support the Central Province in particular?
I see a unique and bright spirituality in the Central Province that speaks to me and where I personally find in no other region. So it is due to the wonderful work, powerful impact and loving spirituality that I continue to support the work of the Friars in the Central Province. The Order has given me so much in my life and made my life so much richer that I want to continue to support the Friars of the Central Province so they can continue their great work and so that others will be able to experience the love, joy and compassion that I have been able to gain from my association.
What is it about the Dominicans that makes you feel your support is having an impact on the larger Catholic Church?
When I began to know the Dominicans and study their approach, I began to build a deeper connection with the Catholic faith. I know my support of the Order allows it to continue the work that might touch the life of others as it did mine and bring them to a closer relationship with God. I can’t imagine a day without the Dominicans. I believe supporting them provides me with a way in which I can thank them for all that they do for so many others.