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The Dix Family: Dixes Never Quit!

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.

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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.

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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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Guadalupe Gardens: A Love Story

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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A magical tour: Ave Maria Flyover

Where talented neighbors create awesome videos of the town they love: Ave Maria, Florida – the town with a Catholic heart.© This video was created by Justin Wurzburg.

Pics from Around Town

And what a beautiful town it is.

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Sorry we haven’t been able to post so much lately. We have been super busy showing homes and writing new contracts! Both new construction and some resales. It’s been beautiful weather(a little on the hot side) but I won’t complain too much. We have been having awesome sunsets! Hope you can come visit us! There is a home football game for both Donahue Catholic on Friday night and Ave Maria University on Saturday. Should be a great weekend of football!

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Icons of Christ: extolling the deep meaning of every mother’s suffering

Catherine Pakaluk is our neighbor, friend, and a professor at Ave Maria University. She is a mother, and this week that is the focus of her column:

…But I think we should talk more about the negatives. Not to be dour, of course, but to help people understand the fundamental meaning of the Christian vocation, a message that is central to Mulieris Dignitatem and the Second Vatican Council. You just can’t advance these majestic teachings on a cartoon image of the pregnant woman that sweeps away hardships. People do not want to escape from sufferings. They want to know that their sufferings have meaning…

This is my favorite line from the column: “And just like pregnancy—Christianity seems to make sense and be cool for a while at the beginning, right up to the point when you realize, and you always do, that running the race to the finish calls for laying down your life.”

This Madonna and Child shows them pausing during the flight into Egypt – see Caravaggio’s original painting for the full scene. This painting is by Cornelius Sullivan, a member of the Ave Maria community.

That’s what every mom MUST do while pregnant and usually does after the child is born. That is what is so compellingly beautiful about every mom. That is why motherhood is the best icon of Christ – and that is precisely why motherhood is rejected by so many. According to Catherine, maybe talking about it more will help more women understand the meaning of that suffering instead of simply dreading it.

Thank you to all the mothers in Ave Maria. Thank you for your witness – for being icons.

When you buy that priest his beer on Monday…

Once again, it’s “international buy a priest a beer day” on Monday.  Perhaps you will both enjoy the beer more if you show this blessing to him so he can bless it’s sweetness and mirth before you both imbibe (and toast to Our Lady’s birthday).

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Mission accomplished! I love my priests. Thank you, Father McTeigue, for giving all you have to His people. Father enjoyed a Pilsner Urquell after blessing it and my Angry Orchard cider in latin.

Philosophers on a Mountain Top

These two are among the men who call Ave Maria home. It will be interesting to hear more about their escapade over a bourbon or some wine. Let us pray they came back refreshed and ready to inspire their students and contribute to the Academy.

Michael Pakaluk

Mt Jefferson

Michael Waldstein, my colleague in theology, an experienced Alpinist from his youth in Salzburg, with me on the summit of Mt Jefferson, on the last day of a writing retreat in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

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