Every chance we get, we remember to pray for our generous benefactors. Before staff meetings, before dinner, at community prayer, we ask for blessings on people like you who support our Dominican way of life. Today, we want to share a few words of thanks from Br. Samuel Hakeem, O.P., one of our student brothers at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, MO. This summer, Br. Samuel is our Province Center Vocations Intern, and we’re very lucky to have him! Please keep Br. Samuel and the rest of the 27 young men in formation in your prayers, and know you are in theirs.
Enjoy this little bit of history, Fr. Bede Jagoe’s first message for the St. Jude Chronicle as the director of the Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus.
We recently received an envelope (pictured above) in the mail from a faithful follower of St. Jude with a 4-cent stamp on it. Vernis Bueltel got the envelope from the Dominican Shrine in May of 1961, when he requested (and paid $30 for) a Gregorian Mass to be said upon his death. He died earlier this month, and his brother returned the envelope to us – 54 years later. Of course, we will honor our pledge to him.
We think it is a good story to illustrate the enduring value of relationships with our friends, the patrons of St. Jude. Visit the Ministries of St. Jude online: www.The-Shrine.org.
By: Terry Rowley
Technology in the classroom, while all the rage, is a term with many ambiguities tethered to it. We have come light years from students only being able to save a few files at a time on a giant floppy disc or having to wait days or even weeks for their teachers to return graded assignments. Even college students benefit from instantaneous responses from their professors via email or online classroom forums, rather than having to ask that burning, and often timely, question during the next lecture.
Fenwick High School, a ministry of the Central Dominican Province, has started to take advantage of modern technology’s benefits and incorporate it into the classroom experience for its students as part of the Fenwick Digital Learning Initiative. To introduce the initiative, incoming 2014-2015 freshmen became the first class to use individual iPads as part of their academic experience. Additionally, instructors use these devices to better communicate with and work on the same platform as their students, thus creating a tighter circle of learning and camaraderie.
The Fenwick website delineates the policies and practices of having iPads in the classroom, from payment to website availability during class time. But going beyond that, the more important question to ask might be: how does universalizing technology in the classroom advance the Dominican mission at Fenwick?
Study is one of the four pillars of Dominican life and serves to make individuals “useful to the souls of others.” In decades past, the lessons taught in schools served to benefit the individual student’s mind, and often encouraged the student to achieve academic prowess on his or her own. Today, students are challenged to transcend those traditional methods of learning in preference of developing communications-driven skill sets.
So how exactly do iPads facilitate a new, and yet still distinctly Dominican, form of learning?
- “The pupils learn more efficiently with the iPad as they get instant feedback.”
- With interactive textbooks and online resources, students have more freedom to pursue further lessons and answer questions for themselves immediately
- Students can learn skills useful for the 21st Century, such as coding, computer programming, and proper online etiquette
- Digital platforms allow for students to collaborate on projects with peers with immediacy and efficiency
- The skills developed through online learning and collaboration translate into tangible skills desired by colleges and hiring professionals; students with such skills offer a tech-savvy sensibility that meets the modern workforce’s demands
By having a working knowledge of basic academic subjects coupled with an advanced appreciation and understanding of modern technology’s capabilities and uses, students experiencing Fenwick’s Digital Learning Initiative will be poised to enter the professional world with technological maturity. Fenwick High School is bringing Dominican education into the 21st Century in order to produce a new generation of students who will indeed be useful to the souls of others in their knowledge and ability to communicate effectively in person and via technological platforms.
This week, the Order of Preachers celebrates its 75th anniversary in the Central Province-The Province of St. Albert the Great. Each of the Dominican Friars has been invited to contribute his personal thoughts, prayers, and ministry impact to a new blog called, FollowTheWhiteHabit. Friars from every Central Province ministry, from first-year novices to those with more than 50 years of experience will offer access to their daily lives and their perspective on the world around us.
The White Habit is the most recognizable physical characteristic of the Dominican Order. Learn how Dominican novices receive their first habit HERE. The garment distinguishes Dominicans and unites them. Now, you can follow the Friars in the Order throughout the year, throughout the Central Province. Now, you can FollowTheWhiteHabit.
The View From my Pew
By: Bill Skowronski
At Mass a few weeks ago, I was listening to our pastor give a moving homily about St. Martin DePorres. He encountered a stranger, naked and freezing along the side of the road. He had little to offer, but gave the man half his cloak to keep warm. Later, in a dream, St. Martin saw Jesus wearing the half-cloak. He came to realize the grace he bestowed on his fellow man–on earth, was grace given to God.
God so loved us, He gave his only Son to experience what it means to be human and to suffer, the pastor said.
I thought to myself, What am I going to give to God?
As 2013 closes, I reflect along with just about everyone else on the highlights and missed opportunities from the past year. But, this being “new year’s”, I can’t help but remain optimistic about 2014 tablet yet to be written upon. As I think about all the things I want to accomplish and help others around me achieve, I have to be mindful of the graces God has given me.
I’m reminded of a quote from a sermon by Joel Olsteen that carried me through a difficult 2013.
Be a person of faith and say, “God, I’m going to trust You if I get my way or if I don’t. I will trust You in the good times and the tough times.”
It’s the “or if I don’t” and “the tough times” that will challenge me in 2014. I know that now. But I also know that gratitude is negativity’s kryptonite. So, in lieu of making specific resolutions to get back into the gym or save more money, I’m going to focus on these guiding beacons for the new year:
- What am I going to give to God?
- God, I’m going to trust You if I get my way or if I don’t.
- Thank you.
I am grateful for the care that I have received in the nurses and the personnel of the (St. Pius V Priory). The Novena to St. Jude Thaddeus also is a great help, as are the people who contribute to our needs. We also receive help from our families by their prayers, and from the doctors at Rush Medical Center.
Fr. Raphael Fabish, O.P.
Fr. Bob Staes, O.P., Denver, CO
When I think of gratitude to our loving God for all that He has given us, I think of Hamlet’s soliloquy on being: “To BE or not to BE.”
These are a few “bees” for which I am grateful daily: Body, Birth, Breath, Blood, Bone, Brain, Baptism, Bread, Beloved.
These buzzing bees cover a lot for me in the joy of gratitude to our loving God.
What do you notice in gratitude when you stop to reflect on all God has given us?
Fr. Harry Byrne, O.P., St. Louis, MO
Now that I am in my 70s more and more memory is part of gratitude for me. I am grateful for those people who have loved and cared for me over the years. And for what God has given me, as Ralph Powell used to say, is far more than I deserved.
The gift that I want to give in return to both the people in my life and to God, the creator and sustainer of my life, is that simple prayer that we are reminded of by the Dominican spiritual writer, Meister Eckhart: “If the only prayer you ever said was ‘thank you,’ you would have said all the prayers.”
In deep and sincere gratitude, I say thank you to one and all.
How do you refocus on gratitude during Advent?
At Fenwick High School, Fr. Nick Monco, O.P. shows the John Lewis commercial linked below as a metaphor for how Christ Himself looks at Christmas.
What is it about Advent or Christmas itself that you most look forward to?