April 5-19: A Trip to Florida
January 26, 2011: Frank and Joe Perform at the Fort Worth Stock Show
Return to Index for 2011

February 16-18, 2011
A Trip to San Antonio


This week, we are going down to San Antonio to visit Prudence and Ron and also Guy Blair, who is taking a sabbatical course at the Oblate School of Theology there before he goes up to Chamberlain, SD, this summer.


Getting to Ruckman Haus

You've probably seen a map of the route from Dallas to San Antonio before. It is pretty simple, for once you get on the Tollway south from my house, and merge onto I-35 South, it is a straight shot for about 280 miles all the way to downtown San Antonio.

Once in downtown San Antonio, all you have to do is follow I-35 South until you come to the exit for San Pedro Avenue. Once off the expressway, you just take San Pedro Avenue north.

Finally, you just take San Pedro Avenue by San Pedro Park on your left, and, one block past the park, you turn left onto French Place. Prudence and Ron have their bed and breakfast at the end of the first block on your right.

Other than visit Guy and stay with Ron and Prudence, the only thing I had to do was to drop by Chicken Paradise to talk to Anne Barfield about some ideas for her website which I worked on this year.


Guy Blair and the Oblate School of Theology

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate came to Texas in 1849, at the urgent request of Texas’ first Roman Catholic Bishop, to preach Christ’s message and to serve the People of God, especially the poor and marginalized. Oblate School of Theology was founded in San Antonio in 1903 as the San Antonio Philosophical and Theological Seminary. The School’s initial goal and mission was to educate young men to serve as Oblate missionaries in Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Mexico and the Philippines.

Today, Oblate School of Theology prepares men for priesthood from many dioceses across the United States and a number of religious communities. Roman Catholic men and women and those from other Christian traditions are present on campus as the School also prepares men and women, religious as well as laity, from Catholic and other Christian traditions for a variety of ministries. The early spirit and motivation of the pioneering missionaries to be of service to the church in the cultural context where faith is lived and expressed is still a driving force for Oblate School of Theology. It understands preparation for mission and ministry as the actual integration of pastoral experience and theological study.

The school is located a few miles north of Ron and Prudence's Bed and Breakfast, and just a few blocks north of Chicken Paradise, the other Bed and Breakfast whose web site I have worked on. To get to either, one just drives north on San Pedro Avenue and either turns left on Jackson-Keller to Chicken Paradise or on Oblate Drive to the school.

Guy is here on a sabbatical. He was transferred from his church in Green Bay, Wisconsin, to a church in Chamberlain, SD, but the priest at the South Dakota church had his plans changed, with the result that Guy was without a church from late last year until this summer. So, his order, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, sent him here on sabbatical.

In 1981, Oblate School of Theology began the Ministry to Ministers program. The program is a four month intensive spiritual and theological sabbatical experience for priests and religious men and women who have been in ministry for a number of years. Holistic in its design, Ministry to Ministers Sabbatical Program is a four-month residential program. Its focus is on the renewal of personal and spiritual growth, addressing the needs of body, mind and spirit. A key objective of Ministry to Ministers is integration: the participants should be able to assimilate and apply their four-month experience to their everyday living, wherever their future ministry takes them.

The Ministry to Ministers Sabbatical Program seeks to serve men and women who have been engaged in pastoral ministry for a number of years. The courses and workshops are focused on theological updating and renewal as well as pertinent topics in integrative spirituality. The talented and skilled faculty of Oblate serves as a major resource along with lecturers, program presenters and spiritual directors who are drawn from the San Antonio region and around the nation. The Ministry to Ministers Sabbatical Program is conducted twice a year, the first time being from the middle of January to the middle of May.

Guy met us just inside the gate to the parking area for the building where his classes are held, and we stopped to take a few pictures. Have a look at them by clicking on the thumbnail images at right.

Guy wanted to give us a tour of the campus, so we began by walking through his classroom building and across the courtyard to the dorm building where Guy showed us the room he'd be occupying for the next four months. From there, we walked back through the courtyard, admiring a beautiful mosaic on the side of the building, and then around the side of the building and over towards the main building for the School of Theology. On the aerial view below, I've approximated our route around the campus:

The campus was really quite pretty; I imagine it is even nicer in the summer when all the trees are leafed out. There were quite a few interesting things to see, including a sheltered, secluded garden that was nestled between the wings of the main building on the east side.

Towards the back of the campus is Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto. To honor their patroness, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate of the Southern U.S. Province erected the Grotto, the most perfect replica in America of the original Shrine in Lourdes, France. It was dedicated on December 7, 1941. It has become the spiritual center of the Missionary Association of Mary Immaculate and Oblate Missions. Towering from ground level, the Grotto is made of reinforced concrete shaped to resemble the cave in which the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Bernadette. Within the grotto a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes looks down upon Bernadette who is kneeling in prayer. Located on five acres, the beautiful Grotto honors two revelations of Our Blessed Mother: as Our Lady of Lourdes in the Old World and as Our Lady of Guadalupe in the New World. Both the Grotto and the Hill of Tepeyac sites welcome pilgrims from around the world and serve as eternal signs of hope for all who visit.

While we were at the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, Fred took a good movie all around to show you how big it actually is.

Adjacent to the grotto is the “Tepeyac de San Antonio-” a tribute to the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego at Tepeyac Hill in Mexico City.

A place of prayer and devotion, the “Tepeyac de San Antonio” is located atop the Lourdes Grotto. Besides being a place of devotion to the Patroness of the Americas, the Tepeyac honors the work of Oblate missionaries among Latino communities in the U.S., Mexico, and beyond.

Between the Grotto and our starting point was a plaza a plaza that contained a huge bas-relief sculpture entitled "The Cavalry of Christ." This is the name that was given to the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate who preached the Gospel throughout South Texas beginning in 1849. The missionaries regularly rode on horseback. On the other side of the sculpture there was a map that showed the spread of the Oblate mission to the poor and abandoned throughout the world since their founding in France by Saint Eugene de Mazenod in 1816. The spiritual and educational ministries on this campus are an expression of the Oblate missionary spirit.

Guy gave us a really good tour of the campus, and Fred took a number of other interesting pictures as we walked around. You can have a look at them if you click on the thumbnail images below:

For the remainder of our visit in San Antonio, we spent time with Ron and Prudence and Guy, doing what we could to help them around the B&B and being the recipients, once again, of their hospitality. On Friday, we left to come back up to Dallas after another good visit. As we were coming into town from the south on I-35, and circling around the south part of the city, Fred took some really quite good photos of the city skyline, and you can have a look at them if you click on the thumbnails below:

You can use the links below to continue to the album page for different day.

April 5-19: A Trip to Florida
January 26, 2011: Frank and Joe Perform at the Fort Worth Stock Show
Return to Index for 2011