Archive for Testimonial
[Update: check out the verses in the comments.]
This time of year, Ave Maria smells heavenly.
Thick waves of perfume waft along sidewalks and onto front porches.
This beautiful breeze flows from the acres of orange groves in blossom – row upon row of snowy flowering trees that surround Ave Maria.
The scent is so overwhelming that you might even wonder if Mother Mary is nearby. And then you might pray – better yet, contemplate.
This folk song captures the mood. A song to teach our children.
Here is one version:
This version explains that the second verse is different all over the state Florida:
There’s no Ave Maria version. Yet.
Who remembers the sky-blue pink crayon in the big green and yellow Crayola box (with the sharpener on the back)?
Road trip to the Mother House in Ann Arbor. Our daughter met the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist back there when she was one of their students from 2000 to 2003. She was reacquainted with the Sisters in 2007 at their mission convent in Ave Maria where five Sisters live in our neighborhood (3 of them teach at the amazing Catholic K-12 school in town). In 2012 she became a postulant and she is now a Novice.
p.s. One morning it was -13 degrees (before accounting for wind chill). The following day we returned home to 80-degree weather.
p.p.s. I have discovered gifs.
My neighbors and I are wonderfully created fallen people hoping in the promises of Christ our Redeemer, Who came to dwell in our midst after the angel said “Hail Mary, full of grace!”
Sometimes we look a lot like the cast of characters in this leaf from an ancient book of hours. Yet we carry on, trusting in God’s grace – the same grace that filled Mary and that she wants us to know.
That’s who lives here in Ave Maria – and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
When I first saw the rendering of Ave Maria town and the Oratory I thought that this is a place we would like to live. The town to be was just in the talking stages along with a new Catholic University. With each meeting that was held and with every new rendering, for both the university and town, I just knew that we had to live there someday. I was familiar with the farmlands east of Naples because we’ve lived in Naples since 1979. I had always said “who would want to live so far from Naples?” Back in 1979, certainly it wasn’t us.
I came out for the Ave Maria University groundbreaking in February 2006. Again seeing the renderings and model of the Oratory it was hard to imagine this place would someday look like that. When Ave Maria had the first models ready for the public to view, we were out there again. It was exactly as we had expected from seeing the renderings. It was beautiful. The fact I would have to commute back to Naples everyday to work was a stumbling block. So with a very heavy heart we realistically said this new town would have to wait for our retirement years.
We attending many of the events at Ave for the next couple of year. We were there for the March 25th unveiling of the sculpture on the Oratory and said, we wished we were already living at Ave. Now Ave Maria had a Publix, the 2 lane roads were being widened which would make the commute easier to Naples/Ft.Myers. This waiting to move there was getting harder with each trip we made to Ave.
While on the internet I went to the Ave Maria website and saw that they had a newspaper, the Ave Herald. I was curious so I went to that link and was delighted to see all the “inside” information about the town. I checked out the classifieds for homes for sale and that is when “it” happened.
I found the home of our dreams. We had wanted a DiVosta Oakmont with a pool that faced East ever since we saw a model back in 1999 in Naples at the Village Walk. The Ave ad was a for sale by owner and I immediately emailed the owner to ask if it was still on the market. It was! Okay, now the obstacles that would have to be overcome would take a miracle. I prayed if we were meant to have this house we would need help getting it.
A dear friend sent me a book in the mail the next day. Funny that it would come then since she’d never done that before. I understood when I saw the cover that my friend, Sandy Tobin was the author. It’s title “Our Lady’s Guide to Holiness” A simple plan for living the messages of Medjugorje. I never went to Medjugorje but had the opportunity to meet Vicka one of the visionaries through this friend who sent me the book. I opened the book to a page about St. Bridget. Not remembering anything about her I started to read the page. After the first page I them remembered she was the saint responsible for the 15 Promises. What I didn’t remember was WHY?
I read that St. Bridget asked Jesus how many times he was struck during the Passion. It was like I was hit by a lightning bolt. I started to sob. Jesus said he was struck 5480 times. I knew at that moment that the Blessed Mother was sending me a sign that we should buy the house at Ave Maria, because 5480 was the address of the house that was for sale. If you have goose bumps you aren’t alone. I’ve repeated this to everyone I know and they all say the same thing. It was divine intervention that touched me that day.
We are meant to live the rest of our lives here in this beautiful town, with the wonderful students from the new University, the loving families who are also pioneers in this new beautiful place surrounded by 17,000 acres of conservation land. All the wildlife are enjoying their land with all of the 2 legged friends who share this gorgeous space with them. We love Ave Maria for the unbelievable sunrises and sunsets; the close knit community families, couples and singles who share the same Christian values that we do. You’ll never meet a stranger here, but you will find many new friends. We are still growing at Ave and I feel that even when we are all built out, Ave will always have that small town charm. Ave Maria is a slice of Paradise. It’s the next best thing to heaven.
Submitted by Sue Maturo
1) Orange blossoms in April. The scent fills Ave Town with a heavenly perfume that makes me want to go outside and just breathe.
2) When I tell people my address on Annunciation Circle in Ave Maria they ask me how I managed to get such a Catholic address. I tell them it’s no coincidence.
3) Daily Mass in Ave Maria is said at four times per day during the school year (daily for the K-12 students and 3 times for the college students and residents) and as the college students make their way across campus to daily Mass I’m often asked by tourists if the students are required to attend daily Mass since so many of them are seen headed that way at Mass time, and of course the answer is, “No. They go because they want to.”
4) Teenagers with babies. OK not like in the big city where I’m from. What I mean is the typical Ave family doesn’t have 2.2 children and a dog. There are a lot of big families and it’s not uncommon to see teenagers lovingly carting around their younger siblings while hanging out with other teenagers doing the same. Where else in the country does childbearing span two or more decades? And about those Ave Maria teenagers, I’m proud to know so many of them. They are the future Church and if it takes a village, Ave Maria is my pick.
5) Twice at night, my children, neighbors and I have seen the space shuttles launch from my front yard, looking to the Northeast. It begins as a a fiery red/orange burst of light and tapers off into a white light until fading in the night sky. With the space shuttle program gone there is still plenty to enjoy from my balcony. The simple night sky is clear every night with twinkling stars as vivid as a planetarium projection.
6) Summer. The town center with the beautiful oratory and fountains at dusk is so quiet and peaceful you could hear a pin drop anywhere on the circle.
7) I don’t need to go on vacation to get a tan. This is SW FL and I feel like I’ve been on vacation since I got here.
8) Neither the three foot statue of Blessed Mother in front of my house nor the Ave Maria sign posted at the entrance of town stop the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses from ringing my door bell every six months or so attempting to proselytize. At least one thing here is the same back home.
9) When I go to the Ave Maria Fitness Center and start the treadmill equipped with a personal television, the station is already set to EWTN.
10) Flip flops or sandals every day all year. Downside–must keep toenails nicely polished, upside–get to wear flip flops or sandals every day all year.
11) When tourists ask me if you have to be Catholic to live in Ave Maria, instead of telling them if at least one member of their family is then they can probably live here, otherwise, they can petition the design board for an exception, I tell them Ave Maria is open to every religion, every lifestyle and every dream.
12) In Ave Maria, It’s politically correct to say, “Merry Christmas!” to my customers or anyone I meet on the street and they always say, “Merry Christmas!” back.
Contributed by Chelsea Allan, one of the first home owners in Ave Maria and owner of By Way of the family (www.bywayofthefamily.com), a religious gift shop opened in Ave Maria in 2008. She is mother of ten children, the oldest of whom graduated from Ave Maria University, the first class since the university’s inception at their new Ave Maria campus. Her eight younger children attend schools in Ave Maria and her baby goes with her to work at her religious store each day where she is oohed and awed over by the many tourists who come to visit from all over the world.
What called us to Ave Maria may not be what keeps us here or it may be a combination thereof. We were attracted to the Catholic values and practices of the community. It is our desire as parents to give our children what we find to be the best that life can offer and that is the Truth of the Catholic Church. It is in our minds and hearts the surest way to live a loving and peaceful life for ourselves and for others. After living here two and a half years we realize of course that we did not move to Heaven, but we did become part of a community that strives to go in that direction, and it is a wonderful experience to do that together, that is as Church.
For an example, it is heartwarming to go to Mass on Sunday and see all the families and all the children in these families. It matters not who we are or what we do in the community. In the end, when day is done, what seems to matter most is that we love each other in our families first and then bring this love to the world outside of our families. It is living as a Domestic Church. It is living as the Jesus, Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth and believe in the outcome that God our Father has planned for all of us.
Contributed by Richard & Suzanne Dionne
Of course, the most essential thing is that it is a genuinely Catholic university… [break] …I can sing my Nunc Dimittis with confidence that the torch of vibrant faith is being passed on to the next generation.
Contributed by Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J.
There’s something very special about Ave Maria and the people who live here. It’s a community centred on Christ. How many other towns or neighbourhoods in the United States or, for that matter, anywhere else in the modern world, could claim to have Christ as the central focus? Ave Maria is, therefore, very different as well as very special. For some people, no doubt, the difference is the problem. Such people, wishing to conform to what Evelyn Waugh described so aptly as “our deplorable epoch”, will not want to visit Ave Maria, let alone live here. So be it…
Contributed by Joseph Pearce
We moved from a military post near Regensburg, Germany, to Ave Maria in 2007 confident that the environment would help us to be constantly mindful of what matters most in the human adventure… [break] …This consciousness and unity became very tangible during a watershed event in August of 2010. The eldest of our seven children, Alex, died in a car accident in town at the age of 19, about three weeks before he would begin classes at AMU. In the midst of this otherwise senseless tragedy the community united to live and witness and taste “the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God.”…
Contributed by Robb & Laurie Klucik