Since we arrived in St. Louis, Joye and Megan have worked hard to expose us to a multitude of Catholic communities in the area. Each Sunday we worship at a different church so Nicole and I have the chance to see the variation in services and get a feel for the congregations. The idea is that we will each select one parish which will become our community for the remainder of the year. First, we visited St. Francis Xavier (aka College Church), the Jesuit parish on the campus of Saint Louis University. The cantrix was phenomenal and we got to witness a baptism during the service. St. Pius V is the home parish of our Sinsinawa Dominican sister Mary Margaret--and of several Dominican Brothers from Aquinas Institute. The urban faith community is located in the heart of St. Louis. We also visited St. Vincent de Paul parish. Their diverse parishioners pride themselves on their active social ministry, which includes a daily lunch window for the homeless. They also serve the best church donuts I've ever had! This past Sunday we attended mass at the Washington University Catholic Student Center which had a surprisingly broad range of ages represented in the pews--from families with small children to the elderly to, of course, college students. The homily was my favorite so far. Soon, I will be going to Rock and the Cathedral Basilica to attend their services.
The CDN has also provided us with opportunities to get to know our Dominican Brothers here in St. Louis. Although we're only at Aquinas Institute on Tuesdays, we've already enjoyed a few events where we got to mingle with the faculty and student brothers. Last Saturday was a very big occasion for our Dominican family: we attended the Solemn Profession of 5 student brothers at St. Pius V. We met so many Dominican Religious at the ceremony and had the chance to get to know them a bit when we all celebrated at the Priory afterwards. Christin and Kelly (2014-15 CDN Novices) even drove in for the weekend so it felt like a bona fide Dominican Family Reunion! Then, on Labor Day, we joined the student brothers for a BBQ at the Priory.
We recently had our first ICN day (Inter Community Novitiate) where Nicole and I got to meet the extended group of discerning men and women religious. Alexian Brothers, Daughters of Charity, Oblates, Sisters of Charity, of Mercy, and of Providence and the Adorers of the Blood of Christ were all represented communities. With novices from all over the world: Texas to Sri Lanka to Australia, it was quite a diverse family of Catholics!
Finally, we enjoyed a "ladies' night" out last week to connect with more of our extended family: this time it was with our sisters in Giving Voice. This group may not have been as diverse as some of the others we've been rubbing elbows with of late, but it was wonderful for its easiness. These introductions quickly developed into familiarity as healthy doses of humor acted as the common theme. Thanks for organizing, Christin!
As you can tell, we're being fully immersed in a variety of Catholic circles here in St. Louis. My hope is that the relationships developing this year will last for years to come and will lay a solid foundation for future collaboration within the Church.