Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Our Lady of the Lake University Fire

It is with a broken heart that I write a note in the blog today. The beautiful, one-of-a-kind university where I really grew up and went from being a child to an adult caught fire last night. Arson is suspected.

Here is a picture of the university in all its glory:

And here is a picture of it today:

It is inconceivable to me that someone would want to do anything to harm Our Lady of the Lake, any of its students or the beautiful traditions and rituals that are such an integral part of OLLU.

My sister called me last night to tell me OLLU was on fire and it was on television (in Houston). I was on my computer and hadn't watched the news. I was in shock. When I hung up the phone with my sister, I went online and surfed the Internet until I found the story. Tears immediately sprang to my eyes. Part of my past was on fire. My heart sank.

When Alex's heart defect was diagnosed, I called Father John at OLLU to see if he would baptize my baby. Alex hadn't been baptized yet and for us Catholics, baptism is very important, especially when the doctors tell you they're not sure the baby will make it through the night. It just so happened that Alex was admitted to University Hospital in San Antonio the very weekend OLLU was having its Alumni Reunion. It just happened to be my 10th Alumni Reunion, as a matter of fact.

To my surprise, Father John told me that he was too busy to come to the hospital to baptize Alex. He suggested I get our parish priest to do so. Our parish priest was 4 hours away in Gatesville, Texas. Father John wouldn't budge. At first I cried and was distraught. Then I took that as a sign from God that he wasn't ready for Alex yet. I believed that God wouldn't take Alex before I had a chance to baptize him.

Between Alex's first and second surgery, I took Joey and him to OLLU to visit one of my favorite professors, Sister Janet Griffin. When I saw her, I told her about what had happened. She got a look on her face that I remember from being in her class and she told me under no uncertain terms to get myself and my baby to the chapel and baptize him myself. So I did.

Alex is now 13 years old. I baptized both Alex and Joey with holy water from the OLLU chapel. It's hard to believe that was 13 years ago.

I hope all of you will say a prayer for the OLLU community. I'm sure OLLU has touched others like it has me and we will all need to be strong and pull together as a community in order to help it become the glorious university it once was. Burned or not, the heart of the university will live forever as long as alumni, such as myself, remember and cherish that very special and sacred place.



P.S. For more pictures about the fire, you can go to
To see OLLU itself, go to this webpage:

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