For those of us who are newer to Ave Maria, it is hard to imagine the town without Maple Ridge, Publix, or the Oratory, but the Dix family knows the town before those things quite well. When they moved to Ave in 2007, the Oratory was just a skeleton of what it is now and the vast majority of the current residential areas were inhabited by wildlife alone.
The patriarch of the Dix family, Daniel, was present for the groundbreaking procession as a couple hundred folks walked in prayer through the tomato fields and Ave Maria became a town. Daniel and Monica were also the first to sign a commitment to open a business in Ave Maria — that business was The Bean of Ave Maria.
Standing outside of Sunday Mass, Monica Dix, wife and mother of five, shares that their offertory envelope is number 27 — those envelopes were handed out to residents star ting with number one — another fact proving their status as one of the original families in Ave.
When they moved to Ave, they were a family of five, with the youngest two girls not having been born yet. Now, they are a family of seven with one dog, Bob Lee Swagger . The Dix girls are: Isabella Ray, “Bella,” 13; Gianna Carolina, “Gigi,” 10; Josephina Maria, “Josie,” 9; Gabriella Lucia, “Gabby,” 5; and Rosa Emiliana, 2. Daniel and Monica had very specific plans for their girls’ names. Firstly, all of their names have Italian roots, and most also honor a family member or patron saint. But secondly, Monica said, “we wanted to be sure their names could work if they wanted to be diplomats or rock stars.”
While unsure if the future has either of those two careers in store for any of the girls, their current interests are certainly varied, including track and field, martial arts, reading, sailing, fencing, book-writing, video game playing, and coding, to name a few.
While their schedules haven’t always been full with the multitude of activities they are now, Daniel and Monica are no strangers to long days and packed schedules. The two met while Monica was studying ceramics and sculpture at Carnegie Mellon University and Daniel was finishing up his degree in art history while working as an art conservator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, PA. They fell in love and Daniel proposed while on a seven-week bike trip together in Europe.
Monica, who was a cradle Catholic, although not practicing her faith at the time, wanted to get married in the Catholic Church. This was a bit of a problem for Daniel, who was a practicing Christian, but had no real allegiance to any particular denomination at the time. His problem came with the vow to raise his future children in the Catholic faith. Daniel took this vow very seriously. After discussing it with his own family and because it was something that Monica felt strongly about, the two were married in the Catholic Church.
Before they got married though,shortly after their engagement, Daniel left Pittsburgh to put his journalism degree to use by taking a job in management at a daily newspaper in his hometown of Wooster , OH. Monica wasn’t thrilled about the idea of moving to Wooster, so she stayed in Pennsylvania believing it might be easier to find work somewhere she was already comfortable.
It didn’t take her long to realize that she needed to be where Daniel was, “I was like, ‘what am I doing? I’m ruining this relationship I’m supposed to be in’ — Daniel proposed! This isn’t just dating anymore’ — I had made a commitment to Dan. And ultimately,
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The sculptor whose work is seen throughout Ave Maria in the Oratory and on the Ave Maria University campus, Timothy Schmalz, noted on social media that on the anniversary of 9/11 he will be working on a sculpture that tries to express the mysterious and merciful love Christ has even for a terrorist.
Schmalz’s “Homless Jesus”, which depicts Christ as a hooded homeless man bearing the stigmata, has garnered media attention in recent years as copies have been installed in cities throughout the world. A majority of Schmalz’s work is religious.
Schmalz sculpted the large bronze Crucifix in the Oratory and a series of about ten bronze religious sculptures that are dispersed throughout the AMU campus.
One way to mark the anniversary of 9/11 is to listen to music composed as a tribute to the victims by Stephen Edwards. His “Suite for the Americas” was paired with his “Ave Maria Mass”, which was commissioned by Ave Maria founder Tom Monaghan, on a CD a few years ago. A small number of copies is still available for purchase, though you can purchase the songs on iTunes, and you can listen to samples of all 21 songs at this link.
The Suite for the Americas is sweeping music worthy of America’s epic saga – it will spark your imagination and evoke the American spirit. Listening to the Ave Maria Mass will make you wonder why the songs are never performed at the Ave Maria Oratory – the Kyrie and Gloria are particularly moving. This review is from Amazon.com:
Steve Edwards has composed a moving tribute to the victims of 9/11 in his Ave Maria Mass. He has an excellent appreciation for this genre of music, creating a reverent transcendence. For those who enjoy fluid, coherent lines of music, Mr. Edwards satisfies this longing. The Gloria moves well, the Sanctus and Benedictus are magnificent. The Agnus Dei hauntingly echoes the musical statement of the Kyrie. His Ave Maria is a wonderful work, that I found appealing. The Suite for the Americas is a set of short pieces for very enjoyable and often very inspirational listening. It begins with a musical flight into what seems an ethereal vista over one of America’s great wonders and plummets to what seems some profound journey. All of the music uses pleasing melodic structures with all dissonances resolved with a canvas of pleasant, beautiful, or magnificent phrasing that I appreciated greatly. It almost seems Steve takes you on a musical afternoon on his Tall Ships, and then steams you down the Grand Mississippi, with music that seems to let you see the danger of the shoals but the magnificence of the moving waters. In the mind’s eye, Steve helps one see the Flag waving in the breeze, the redwoods reaching to the skies. The Eternal Flame is haunting and the Elegy to our Fallen Heroes is the tribute is is meant to be, touching on their greatness and their loss.
This is a list of the tracks:
5. Agnus Dei
6. Ave Maria
7. Gratias Deo
8. The Eagle Soars
9. I Will Fear No Evil
10. Tall Ships
11. The Grand Mississippi
12. Cowboy’s Jig
13. Flag in the Breeze
14. Central Park Waltz
15. Mighty Redwoods
16. Building a Nation
17. Eternal Flame
18. Niagra Falls
19. Baseball Hero
20. Elegy to our Fallen Heroes
21. Patriotic Parade
Where truth, beauty, and goodness thrive: Ave Maria, Florida – the town with a Catholic heart.™© It is an honor for AveMariaLiving.com to feature this work of local artist Elisabeth Waldstein.
There is a little-known place on the outskirts of San Marcos, Nicaragua. It is rustic and simple; poorly funded, it remains largely unfinished. But, if you ever get the chance to see it for yourself, you will come to know of its wonderful beauty.
It is lovingly tended to and is an incredibly peaceful place that is conducive to prayerful meditation. It is clear that the grottos and stone work were done with a talented hand and inspired soul. You are sure to get the sense that the hands of the Divine are at work here. This place is Guadalupe Gardens — a missionary formation center of the new evangelization — and equally as beautiful as it are the man behind the mission and his new bride.
Paul Rush, an Ave Maria College [now known as Ave Maria University] graduate, has dedicated more than a decade of his life to this place. Paul’s story is a radical and inspiring one. It started 16 years ago with a conversion of hear t that compelled him to leave his home in Delaware, his family and everything he knew behind. He desired to give everything he had to Christ and follow His call. One day, he just started walking. All he had were a few personal belongings and his faith. He walked until he reached the state of Michigan — Ann Arbor, to be exact. Every time he tried to continue on his journey, he found a roadblock that kept him from leaving town. It was there that he discovered Ave Maria University. He began to understand God’s call to attend the university there, so he did.
During his time at Ave Maria University, he had the opportunity to study abroad at the Nicaragua campus. He enjoyed the people and the culture so much that he decided to stay for a second semester. After returning to the states and
Many people know they need a will, but have a hard time getting it done. Who wants to guess what documents the attorney will need, spend an hour in the car, and wait at his office? And who wants to trust one of those online legal services where you don’t even get to meet an attorney face to face?
That is why some attorneys make preparing a will and other documents easy by offering to bring some or all of the process to you at the location of your choice. And some attorneys will work to minimize or even eliminate any extra costs associated with a house call.
The attorney can visit the client to conduct an interview, start drafting documents, contact relatives or others whose input is desired, and plan the rest of the process. Then on a return visit there is a signing ceremony during which final documents are executed in the presence of a mobile notary.
This service is ideal for seniors and people with limited mobility, but it is also ideal for those who work and have difficulty making daytime appointments, or for others who simply want to be served in the comfort of their home.
Sometimes life events force people to think about the urgency of having a will — those who have purchased a new home and realize their out-of-state will is not valid in Florida, or whose marital status has changed, or who want to provide for grandchildren or pets, or who face a medical event or other transition.
Planning your estate doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. It can be quick. It can be informal and relaxing. And it can give you peace of mind so that you never have to think about it again.
Attorney Robb Klucik has been practicing estate planning law in Ave Maria, Florida, since 2009. Originally published in the inaugural issue of the print magazine Ave Maria Living, Issue #1, September 2016.