Tag Archives: Dominican

Benedict Ashley, OP, RIP

Ben Ashley OP.jpgWord received this evening that the venerable theologian and priest, Father Benedict Ashley, OP, 97, died today. Father Benedict was a teacher of mine when I was in St Louis.

Born and raised in Oklahoma, Father Benedict was a professed member of the Order of Preachers–Saint Albert the Great Province– for 71 years and a priest. He was educated at the University of Chicago, the University of Notre Dame, Aquinas Institute of Theology (River Forest, IL) and the Angelicum.
Father Benedict was the author (or, co-author) of at least 19 books and numerous articles. Among Ashely’s academic interests were healthcare and social ethics and intellectual history. Faith and reason (science) coalesced in the life and work of this Dominican friar. He was a terrific priest and teacher, a man of the Church and person of great humanity.
Ashley was a member of the River Forest School of Thomism and he helped to form the Albertus Magnus Lyceum which was an effort to respond to Pope Leo XIIIs call to re-establish the thought of the 13th century Saint Thomas Aquinas into the life of the Church. This thought is called Thomism. He was a professor of moral theology at the Aquinas Institute of Theology (St Louis, MO).
Ashley’s Barefoot Journeying ~ An Autobiography of a Begging Friar is available at New Priory Press.
A biographical essay may be read here.
Dominican Father Richard Peddicord edited a collection of essays in honor of Father Ashley, In Medio Ecclesiae (2007), on the occasion of Ashley’s 90th birthday.
May Father Benedict’s memory be eternal.
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Religious life 2012: Profession of vows, entrances and ordinations

Heilengkreutz monks.jpgThe promise of the hundredfold of the Lord is evident in the lives we lead; how we live our Baptism ought to be evident and with those who have responded to the Lord’s call to follow Him more closely in the Christian life in which we live more intensely by through the consecrated life.

As Pope Benedict said, 
It is no less challenging to follow Christ today, It means learning to keep our gaze fixed on Jesus, growing close to him, listening to his word and encountering him in the sacraments; it means learning to conform our will to his. This requires a genuine school of formation for all those who would prepare themselves for the ministerial priesthood or the consecrated life under the guidance of the competent ecclesial authorities. The Lord does not fail to call people at every stage of life to share in his mission and to serve the church in the ordained ministry and in the consecrated life (48th World Day of Vocations, 2011).

Calling of St Matthew detail  Caravaggio.jpg

The key words for us ought to be “to follow,” “to keep our gaze,” “listening,” “conforming,” and “encountering.” The crux is, to whom do we belong? Of course, I would hope that we could easily say that we belong to Christ and to His Church. But we know that while we may honestly believe this fact, it is not so every day. We say one thing but we don’t always follow and keep our gaze on the Lord. May this be our prayer and our work today!
This is the third year that I have surveyed, in representative manner, some of the US monastic communities and religious orders who have had members profess simple and/or solemn vows, new members who received the habit or have receive ordination to the Order of Deacon or Priest. While the numbers may be sobering, the point is not about numbers as much as to recognize the many testimonies of grace, the rich living of the offer God has made to our sisters and brothers to love and serve Him in religious life. Corrections welcome.

Monastic life
  • St Vincent’s Archabbey: 4 profess simple vows; 4 profess solemn vows; 2 ordained deacons, 2 ordained priests
  • St John’s Abbey: 2 monks make a profession of solemn vows; 3 professed simple vows
  • St Benedict’s Abbey (Atchinson, KS): 1 monk solemn vows, 3 received as postulants, 1 postulant in Brazil
  • Belmont Abbey (Charlotte, NC): 1 novice entered; 2 monks profess solemn vows
  • St Martin’s Abbey: 1 entered as a novice

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Nuns… pray for vocations

Sr Lauren Funk and Sr Mary Dominic Linden Monastery.tifI was reminded earlier today of a need to pray for vocations to the contemplative life. A former colleague of mine recently entered Dominican life as a cloistered nun at Saint Dominic’s Monastery in Linden, VA. It is a traditional monastery of nuns, a very young of women who make a sacrifice to pray for us and the needs of the world. The postulant, Sister Lauren (left) is seen with a veteran nun, Sister Mary Dominic.

Pray for vocations.
As an aside, the Huffington Post had this special article with pictures of those who “thought” they had a vocation. One actually did pursue a vocation as a Benedictine nun at Regina Laudis Abbey (Bethlehem, CT), Mother Dolores Hart.

The work of the Theologian to the Papal Household

The life of the Church is very interesting. Even such obscure things, seemingly that is, like that of the Papal Theologian, piques my wonder and awe at what is expected in our communal pursuit of Truth. And that’s what the Papal Theologian helps us to do: seek the face of God. Perhaps in your seeking Truth, Beauty and Goodness you are genuinely curious about how the Church works and the people behind the work being done?


The Papal Theologian emeritus of the Papal Household, Georges Cardinal Cottier, OP, gave an interview to Jose Antonio Varela Vidal at Zenit (11 July 2012) about Blessed Pope John Paul II, with whom he worked intimately: “…he was a man of hope. When he said: ‘Do not be afraid,’ he certainly said it for the countries occupied by Communism, but he also said it because he saw that there was a certain decadence in the West. I would say he awakened the Church everywhere. Then, his love of life, this was fantastic and he witnessed this love of life in a life profoundly marked by illness, and young people understood him.”

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Dominican Tertiaries professed, new members admitted

Fraternity of St Dominic New Haven April 29 April 2012.jpgMany of the religious orders have what is called a Third Order Laity, or some such name for the laity who are closely connected spiritually and morally to an Order and continue to live their lives according to the vocation they’ve been given: the single life, married life or secular priesthood.

As a point of comparison, the Benedictine monasteries have Oblates –I am one–, the Franciscans have the Secular Franciscan Order, the Jesuits have nothing (by design of Saint Ignatius) and the Dominicans have what’s called today, The Fraternity of Saint Dominic.
On Good Shepherd Sunday, April 29, the New Haven, CT Dominican laity at Saint Mary’s Church professed by vow several people and admitted 6 to the novitiate, a period of time of testing one’s vocation to the Fraternity and learning the Four Pillars of Dominican life (prayer, study, community and service).
May Saint Dominic richly bless these new sons and daughters.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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