Thanksgiving Day at St. Dominic Priory was marked by great food, fraternity, and a football game which has been called nothing short of epic!
Smells of feasts to come began permeating the halls of the priory on Wednesday evening as brothers began cooking and baking. While others wrote term papers, Br. James-Peter baked muffins and scones, Br. Thomas More baked pies, I made hummus, and Br. Nick directed a group of sous chefs in preparing three large egg stratas. A constant stream of brothers entered the kitchen throughout the evening, enticed away from their papers by their noses, hoping to become taste testers of our works-in-progress.
The Thanksgiving festivities began with Mass and a brunch with friends of the community. Professors from the Aquinas Institute, Dominican Laity, Dominican Sisters, and close friends from the St. Louis area joined us for a pre-feast breakfast spread. While the food was excellent, our eyes (and stomachs) were focused on the main event—the big Turkey dinner coming later that day! The conversation was as good as the food, though, carrying on into the early afternoon. Our guests then left to attend to their own Thanksgiving celebration preparations, and preparations for our own celebration began.
Inspired by the beautiful autumn weather, Br. Isaac rallied the troops to play a Turkey Bowl football game—a first in recent St. Dominic Priory History. While it was quite evident that most of us had not played football in a while (if ever), the game was an absolute blast! We can only hope that it won’t be the last St. Dominic Priory Turkey Bowl. I guess we’ll have to wait until next year to find out!
After Vespers, it was finally time for the big feast. After hors d’oeurves prepared by Br. James Dominic and I, and Br. Luke’s delectable butternut squash soup, we ate a wonderful Thanksgiving meal prepared by the Jesuit Hall kitchen staff. Normally, on a day-to-day basis, we eat downstairs in the dining hall of Jesuit Hall. However, we ate this meal together in the priory’s common room. This setting allows for a much more communal feel than the dining room—a key feature of the Dominican life. This year’s Thanksgiving will most likely be the final holiday celebrated by us in this location, as we plan to be in our new priory by Christmas!
With the end of the semester approaching quickly, Fr. Vincent’s fantastic leftover turkey soup has made the perfect meal for working on those impending term papers. The rest of the weekend was pretty quiet around the priory as most brothers attended to studies.
While we all may come from a variety of different backgrounds, each with his own traditions and family holiday customs, we are very much a family ourselves. The importance, impact, and grace of the communal life that we as Dominicans live is most evident during holidays. We are not bonded by the blood of family ties; we are instead bound by love which emanates from our vowed, common life—a bond which has tied communities of Dominican Friars together for nearly 800 years. Know that we give thanks and are praying for all of your during this holiday season. May the Lord Jesus come to reign within your heart this Advent.