The House Chronicles from 1950 and 1970 were both strangely quiet for a couple of weeks.  Then just as strangely, both had substantial entries dated October 13th:

1950:  Guest Lecturer  We clerics were privileged to have Father Nerius speak to us on October 13th.  Since Father Nerius is so well versed in the art of giving catechetical instructions, Father Ambrose, our Homiletic Professor, invited him to give us clerics a few pointers in this field.  Father Nerius explained his method of catechizing and gave us some very good examples.  He constantly stressed the importance of clarity and the use of simple words.  Father spoke for about two hours and I think the clerics could have listened for another two hours.

Something new has been added to our recreational facilities.  It is the new shuffle board.  Because the board is so long, it had to be put in the shoe room in the basement.  This new game is a favorite now among the brothers, clerics and father alike.

1970:  October 13, while sawing wood with a chain saw, Fr. Marius got a mild heart attack.  Next day he went to Doc. Ware for a check-up. Doc. Ware ordered him to go to St. Mary i.e. now Wausau Hospital North, for an X-Ray and a cardiogram. He remained in the hospital as a patient Oct. 14-22.  Scads of X-Rays and tests.  All O.K. except 1-back trouble more pronounced; 2-too much cholesterol in the blood.  Doct. Ware prescribed an assortment of pills and wishes to see Fr. Marius again in two months.  During his stay in the hospital about 47 Dominican Nuns from the Adrian group had a several days long meeting at our place.  Liked it so much they want to come back next summer for a longer session.

Many things have changed over the years.  Despite the changes, there are a remarkable number of echoes from the past.  The entry about Fr. Marius took me back to May when Fr. Bob had a heart attack while helping clean up downed tree limbs in our Courtyard.  Sadly, Fr. Bob’s was not mild and instead of a trip to the hospital, his journey was to his eternal reward.  But Fr. Bob died as he lived, in service to others, and these past five years, St. Anthony’s was the beneficiary of much of his service.

Another echo is the chain saws and wood cutting.  We needed to cut down several trees here the past few weeks.  Fr. Marius was not here, but a couple of paid laborers and a few volunteers were able to take those trees down.  Gratefully, their efforts did not lead to any more heart attacks or other injuries.

This past weekend, we had the LaCrosse Deaconate Formation program here, an echo of St. Anthony’s days as a house of studies.  Like the seminarians of 1950, these men spend many hours in lectures, including catechesis and homiletics.  Unlike 1950, they have no time for shuffleboard or other games during their stay; it is all work when they are here for class.  The men in deaconate formation also echo the Dominican sisters of 1970 and so many other groups and individuals who continue to return to St. Anthony’s month after month, year after year.  They enjoy coming here.

Whether it is 1950, 1970 or 2020, St. Anthony’s continues to serve the needs of those who come here.  Sometimes that service is provided by those who live here, like the friars and Fr. Bob, sometimes by people like Fr. Nerius and our tree cutters who visit here once, and sometimes by our staff members who come week after week.  Their gifts of service and the gifts of so many others would not be needed if it were not for those who keep coming to St. Anthony’s, like the students of 1950, the Dominican sisters of 1970, or the men in formation in 2020.

For the echoes of the past, the gifts of the present, and the promises of the future, we say Deo Gratias!