After seeing a video on Rhonda's blog at Chew Life with Your Mouth Closed of the Investiture of the Novice class, I was struck by the differences between their reception as Novices as opposed to ours. While at one time I was discerning a vocation with the friars of the St. Albert province, I look back and wonder how I would have ever made it as a Dominican. I am thoroughly not a theologian, I prefer to get my hands dirty than turn pages, and the commitment to poverty and community are two of the greatest reasons in choosing the Capuchins as a religious vocation.
This is not to say that I am trashing the Order of Preachers. My time spent with them was of great benefit; they're also a good group of guys. The visit to their "Come and See" Weekend a few years ago gave me a first-hand look at how community was lived. After that experience, I never considered a Diocesan life again. Yet while I was enamoured with their sense of fraternity, I recognized that strength and desires lead me more towards direct assistance and social assistance. While the Dominican friars are present to the needs of the poor and marginalized, I realized that a charism of fraternity spoke to me more than the Dominican charism of knowledge.
Great and small, there are many reasons why chose to be a Capuchin versus a Dominican (assuming they would've even accepted me!) But the connection to their community still remains. Being inspired to look at the website for the St. Albert province, I recognized one of their novices as being from Grand Rapids, a guy I remember meeting during my "flirtation period" with the O.P.'s. We rode in tandum to St. Louis to visit the post-novitiate friary, and kind of parted company after that. My hopes and prayers are with him and his classmates as they go through their Novitiate year.
I thank the Dominicans of the St. Albert province for their help in my discernment. However after seeing the intelligence and poise of their Order, and comparing it to the uniqueness of the Capuchins,I know I am in the right place.
2008-2009 Novitiate Class of the Order of Preachers, St. Albert's Province
2008-2009 Novitiate Class of Friars Minor Capuchin, North American & Pacific Capuchin Conference
w. Novice Director & Staff (Six novices not shown here)
If you happen to read this, Scott, I hope you've gotten better at waking up in the morning. Peace!