November 2021 - Some News from the Summer
Rev. Fr. Rector gives a brief update on recent happenings at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary.
November 4, 2021.
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
Five years ago, on November 4, 2016, the feast of St. Charles Borromeo, patron saint of seminaries, our seminary in Virginia was inaugurated. Some thought the building was too large and would never be fully occupied. The work of our confrères in the apostolate, the vitality of the families in our parishes and missions, and the generosity of our young men are a formal denial of such low expectations. The seminary is running at full capacity and we were close to having to turn candidates away. We received 36 young men in the Humanities Year and we know that already around 20 more souls are working in the District priories before knocking at our door next year.
Our prayer of adoration and thanksgiving rises up to the throne of God: adoration for the miracle of these vocations which continue to grow in an increasingly dark and confused world, and thanksgiving to God for preserving these young souls and giving them the desire to respond to this interior call.
But our prayer is also in thanksgiving for your making possible the blossoming of these vocations through your spiritual and material offerings. Without your constant and generous help, without your prayers and sacrifices which support us, we could not work to transmit to these eager souls the milk of Catholic doctrine. Be assured that our daily prayer rises to heaven for you and for all those dear to you who are tossed around in this stormy world.
Trusting that you are as concerned and eager as we are that these young men receive a formation that will make them men of God and instruments of His grace, we would like to share with you our achievements, our joys and our concerns, along with some news about our house and the work we still have to do.
Having lived in this house for five years now, we are well aware that there is still much work to be done or finished. There are still a few years before the building of the church can begin. We must first reimburse our Superiors for the sums they have loaned us for building this seminary. We must say it clearly: God be praised that we have received this loan, since the construction of this house was necessary, as we see today with this influx of vocations. Thanks to this internal loan, our seminary does indeed belong to our Religious Society and not to anonymous bankers. Nevertheless, we must in all fairness repay our Superiors. We are working on it, with the spiritual support of your prayers and that of your tireless generosity. We are very grateful to you.
We must also, without delay, build a convent for our sisters. For five years now, our six sisters have lived in a small house which is hardly intended to be a convent and looks more like a barracks. They devote themselves to doing our laundry with a self-abnegation which commands our respect. Faithful to their semi-contemplative life, they are those discreet workers who never stop, never complain and always move forward with serenity, smiling in submission to the good pleasure of God. Their life of prayer is a blessing for our seminary; it guarantees the protection of many of our vocations. Pray for our valiant sisters, who bow under the workload that our young seminarians give them. They should be more numerous to fulfill the immense task given to them, but the smallness of the place where they are located does not allow their Superiors to send them this necessary reinforcement. We therefore appeal to you to help us provide a fitting home these religious women.
Their religious house will be built very close to the seminary to stop the current waste of time and energy necessitated by their constant (and somewhat distant) back and forth travel between seminary and convent. We already thank you for your help, which, knowing your generosity, we are sure will come.
Repayment of our internal debt, building our church in a distant future, the construction of the Sisters’ convent – these are the major works that await us next. To these we must add the creation of a crypt so that priests may celebrate the Holy Mysteries in a more suitable place than a classroom, and the building of a grotto in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes in order to thank Her for Her protection during the construction of our seminary and our relocation.
At present, a masonry company is working in our cloister to remove a good half of the bricks that threaten to collapse and later replace them. Our cloister is looking pitiful at the moment and our professors are dealing with the noise of hammer-drills on concrete walls during classes.
Summers are the times during which the years of Spirituality and Humanity work to repair, embellish, and consolidate our House. This year many projects have been started. Allow us to tell you a few: a new fountain has been installed in the center of the St. Joseph cloister; we have tried to save our fruit trees which have suffered in recent years; we have made repairs in the Sisters’ house; an audio system has been installed in our kitchen so that those who work there in the evening may follow the spiritual conference which is given before the Rosary. And all this besides the ordinary daily chores.
Also this summer, we were able to organize an intensive Latin session for about ten days. Rev. Fr. Franks, from St. Mary’s school, was kind enough to lead it expertly from start to finish.
We entrust our seminary to your prayers and kindness. We assure you of our prayers for you and all those who are dear to you and, of course, throughout the month of November we will remember your dear deceased at the altar. Let us live this month in union of souls: the communion of saints is not a vague notion but one of the most beautiful realities of divine life. Our deceased, who have gone before us and shown us the way, pray for us and expect our prayers in return for them to enter into the “joy of our Master” where they will intercede for us in an even more direct, effective and infallible way.
In Christo Sacerdote et Maria,
Fr. Yves le Roux