Franciscan Sisters visit San Antonio, TX


On the road to St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, TX

The sun comes up as we head out on our journey .

We arrived safely and were warmly welcomed by the Marianist Fathers and Brothers.

While in San Antonio, a visit to the Minor Basilica of St. Therese was first in our plan.

Established in 1926, the main altar of the Basilica is beautiful and has a banner of St. Therese’s parents who have both been declared Blessed, hanging on either side.

Main altar in the Basilica.

The windows are of Carmelite Saints with an exceptional rose window in the dome.

A replica of the body of St. Therese and many other art pieces dedicated to her adorn the worship space.

We’d like to introduce you to Brother Joe, a delightful Brother who is 91 years old, 70 years a Marianist. He was Vocation Director for several years and helped many young men who were discerning their call as well as their families. He understands young people. Once he came to live at the Marianist home on St. Mary’s Campus he became involved at Casa Maria and attended youth activities each night for many years. Now these young people still come to visit him. Though he is unable to get around too much due to poor eyesight he is still very active in ministry. The Marianist Community has entrusted Brother Joe with the”Ministry of Gratitude”.   He calls people who have purchased mass cards. He is a great conversationalist and is using God’s gifts to touch people in their situations. He meets both the elderly and the young where they are. He begins by thanking people for purchasing the cards and goes from there. At the end of every phone conversation he gives praise to Mary. His most common phrase is; “Mother Mary we are your kids, take care of us won’t you”.

He told us that once he was given a big TV for his bedroom, but he caught himself watching it too much so he gave it to his Director (Superior). That tells you something about Br. Joe.

One morning while we were there the priest at mass had asked the question, “What does it mean to love the Lord your God with your whole heart?” Brother Joe’s answer was this, “It means, to make the Father proud!”

Brother also quoted to us Fulton J. Sheen who said, “The Catholic Church stands on the shoulders of our Sisters.” Brother Joe shared many stories and jokes with us that he tells in his phone conversations, but mostly it was his warm smile and appreciative spirit that we took home with us. You just know he is very close to God. God bless you, Br. Joe!

Next came a visit to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary chapel at St. Mary’s University. Here again, in a prayerful setting are beautiful stained glassed windows.


The front of the University has a statue of Our Lady on a obelisk with a water fountain flowing. The University’s beginnings go back to 1852 when it was opened as an all male school. Today it is an outstanding co-ed liberal arts institution.

Another chapel on campus is Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel. Here we find a dark skinned Mary and child. As it is the month of November, there was a “Day of the Dead” altar set up. We also found here a picture of Bl. William Joseph Chaminade, the founder of the Marianist Order.

 One final stop in San Antonio was at the Lourdes Grotto which includes images honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego at Tepeyac. Here we were able to visit and pray for our community, our families and friends in the adoration chapel behind the Grotto. This grotto area is maintained by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. A relic of their founder, St. Eugene is reserved in this Adoration Chapel.

On our way out of TX we drive through Houston. There are many signs that it is the fifth largest city in the USA!

As we pass on through Louisiana we stop at the Catholic Student Center at Ruston Tech University. We were welcomed by a group of very friendly Catholic students there. After an enjoyable meal and visit with them we were given a tour of the space they call, “home away from home”. It was a pleasant pause on the way home.


Now it was time to pass on through Arkansas and once more greet the Bayous and the mighty Mississippi River.

The days were full as you may notice, but the Lord blessed us with many wonderful people and things along the way and the gift of safe travel and return home.