Central Province Prior Provincial, Fr. Charles Bouchard, O.P. discusses his role as the 2015 Province Chapter approaches.
Archives for May 2015
In honor of Mother’s Day, we wanted to learn more about the mothers of the Central Province Dominican Friars. Please enjoy the reflections below, and share with us your memories of “Mom”!
Fr. Andrew Carl Wisdom, O.P.
One winter morning when I was 9 years old, I woke up with my left ear so swollen that I could not get a knit cap over it. My mother rushed me to the hospital. That day, doctors saved my life from a massive infection in danger of spreading to my brain. A month later, I was again rushed into the operating room after the discovery that the infection had not been completed destroyed. Waking up after the surgery, I learned from my mother that for a second time, my life had been saved. Even as a child I knew the unlikely odds of that! “Mom, I understand how you can cheat death once, but how did I do it twice?” I will never forget her response as it altered the whole way I looked at the world. “God must have something special for you to do, some mission in life that no one else can do.” From that day on, I never saw my life in the same way. I had a calling. My task was to find out its specific expression. That day in the hospital room was the birth of my vocation.
John Paul II reflected that “just as Jesus’ vocation was manifested in the family of Nazareth, so every vocation is born and manifests itself in the family (The Meaning of Vocations, John Paul the II, Scepter: NJ, p. 36).” The family is that primary and preeminent place where a vocation is discovered, developed and nurtured. It starts with the faith of the parents as revealed in the conversation with my mother that day in the hospital. When life compels children at some point to ask questions like my own: “Why am I alive?”, and others like it, “How did I get here?”, “Where am I going?”, “What does life ultimately mean?,” parents need to seize these teachable moments to share their faith.
Fr. Joseph Fogarty, O.P.
True to her Irish roots, Mother would usually have a cup of tea and a slice of soda bread in the middle of the afternoon. Her beloved feline, ‘Red,’ would sometimes jump onto her lap as she sipped her tea. She would pour some into the palm of her hand, and ‘Red’ would drink the tea with rapid tongue movements. With his red coat of fur and taste for tea, he was indeed an Irish cat.
At night, when Mother would start to put the cats down in the basement, ‘Red’ would skitter across the kitchen floor and hide beneath the sewing machine with his face toward the wall, thinking that if he couldn’t see Mother, she couldn’t see him. She would gently gather him into her arms and, amid his protests, consign him to the basement to spend the night with his brother and sister. But he would get ‘even’ early the next morning (around 6:00) by reaching up with his front paw and rattling the loose door knob. It was time to end his exile and rejoin the human family.
Mrs. Nancy McAlpin (Mother of Fr. Andy McAlpin, O.P.)
My husband Dave and I were blessed with four children. They all arrived between the years 1960 – 1967.
Three boys and one little tag a long girl. Fr. Andy was number three. Speaking from a mother’s bias, they really were pretty darn good kids, busy, but a joy. We had one that was noticeably busier than the other three. He did everything somewhat faster and earlier than the others, i.e., sit up, crawl, walk and run at high speed!! This one was named Andrew Mark. Little Andy continued to be busy all through childhood, teenage, and into adulthood.
What ever Andy did, he did with great fervor and determination, but always maintained his outgoing personality, loyalty, common sense and his exquisite sense of humor. It did not matter if he was taking care of and showing our horses at horse shows, constantly “banging” on his drums, learning the guitar, working or playing hockey, he did it all with great enthusiasm.. AND this little boy always liked going to his religion classes every week. He went on later to explain, it all made sense.
Of course ultimately this led him to hear a calling, whispering at first I think…. and thus the long road to his holy Priesthood and on to his becoming a Friar with the religious order of Dominicans. As a mother, it’s hard to say how terribly important his listening to that call has been to me. There truly is no greater gift a mother can receive than to know every day how blessed I am. I would never have thought ever when my life began as a mother my “little busy boy Andy” would someday be a holy Priest, and a Dominican also.
Always great praise goes to our Queen Mother Mary who wouldn’t leave Andy alone, because her son wanted him….
Fr. Chuck Dahm, O.P.
Thanks to My Mother, an Extraordinary Woman
I celebrate the life of my mother, Cecil Susan Dahm, on her birthday, May 9, each year, which often falls on Mother’s Day. She shaped my life and I love enjoying the parts of me that she transmitted to me through genes as well as personal formation.
From my mother (and my father) I received the faith. We all went to Mass every day until I left home for the University of Notre Dame, where I continued to attend daily Mass. The family prayed the rosary around a large double bed, and attended evening novenas of Our Lady of Perpetual Help on Tuesdays and Our Sorrowful Mother on Fridays. My mother encouraged my vocation as a priest but never pushed me. It was to be my decision.
My mother gave me much more. She taught me a love of nature, requiring me to plant, water and weed her spectacular garden. Eventually I became the lead landscaper and gardener for the House of Studies in River Forest and Aquinas Institute in Dubuque. She taught me to combine colors and decorate, including flower arrangements. She was an extraordinary cook who produced the finest meals and gave me a love of cooking. She was a professional seamstress that family and friends frequently visited for design and alterations. She taught me how to appreciate good clothing. She enjoyed entertaining and was especially attentive to inviting all the family. She had a compassion for the poor and anyone in need which she inculcated in me.
My mother had many other virtues, which I have to admit I have not yet adequately assimilated, such as patience and tolerance. But in her memory, I will continue to work on them. I will always thank God for my extraordinary and loving mother.