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1946

Rev.  Pierre Hyacinth Conway, O.P., RIP

  2005

Immaculate Conception Chapter

Tributes and Stories

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For 15 years, Immaculate Conception Chapter was blessed to have Fr. Conway as our Spiritual Promoter.  He generously gave us his time, wise counsel, love, and most of all, prayers.  Using the Summa, which he seemed to know by heart, he taught us how to put First Things first: Love God above all else and love our neighbor as Jesus loved us. God is our greatest good. 

 

He taught us not only with his words but with his deeds and actions.   As the doorkeeper of the House of Studies, he did whatever he could to help all who knocked on the door and most of all those who were spiritually or physically hungry.   He assured that those who knocked on the door of the sons of the beggar preacher, St. Dominic, would not go unfed or unaided.  He encouraged us to love others for the love of Christ. He frequently reminded us to help the hungry and the poor. We established a door keeper's fund to help the poor, partly to be charitable and partly because we knew the joy that Father would have in being able to help the poor. Every so often we would find a guest of Fr. Conway's at our meetings. Sometimes it was someone who needed some friends in Christ; other times it was someone who needed a meal. 

 

Every time Fr. Conway preached a homily, we found ourselves on a tour de force of the Bible. He could cite and weave passages together with the ease of a young child reciting nursery rhymes. This was territory that he knew well.  Contemplata aliis tradere: could we expect less from this disciple of Aquinas and Dominic?

 

He encouraged us to be evangelizers. To use our body, mind, and soul to inform others of the Gospel of Truth, indeed, the Gospel of Life itself.  The Gospel that begins with the Incarnation and ends with the Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord, Jesus Christ -- all so that we might have life and have it abundantly.  God is Love and he calls us to Love. 

 

Perhaps it is no coincidence that Fr. Conway passed from this life on the last hour of the day set aside for the March for Life and the week that Pope Benedict XVIth, blessed the Church with Deus est Caritas.  

 

-- Therese Errigo, Webservant, Immaculate Conception Chapter of the Third Order of St. Dominic

 

 

 

 

The subject of Mary and Martha came up recently in a conversation with another Dominican. We were talking about Mary's quiet adoration of Christ, versus Martha's busy attentiveness to Christ's temporal needs. We decided that getting those two aspects of spiritual life in balance - the contemplative and the active - is one of the great challenges of Christian life.

 

Fr. Pierre Conway was one of those rare people in whom the active and contemplative seem to interpenetrate, seamlessly! He authored highly regarded books on Thomas Aquinas, and was widely recognized as an authority on this doctor of the Church. At the same time, his heart was unfailingly open to those who were hungry, sick, emotionally troubled, or in need of financial help.

 

One tertiary has spoken with profound gratitude of Fr. Pierre's support as he struggled with alcoholism. A poor, pregnant woman abandoned by her husband found solace in Fr. Pierre when she rang the doorbell of the Dominican House of Studies. Recently, I saw Fr. Pierre quietly slip a bill into the hand of a man who is looking for work.

 

These are just a few stories. There are probably hundreds, maybe thousands, more.

 

Of course, we should not be surprised that this erudite scholar of Aquinas was so consistently the good neighbor. Aquinas himself emphasized that the truth of our lives will be judged by the degree to which we fulfill in our lives that to which we are "ordained by the divine intellect." The intellect, according to Aquinas, is the way in which we perceive truth. But theological truth must more and more determine the way we think, act, and live. It must seep from the brain into our bone marrow! This is the task of a lifetime. That's why it is so important to have good examples to follow.
 

When I think of Fr. Pierre, I think of a person totally dedicated right down to his bone marrow, to the Truth - and to the Love that makes that truth so desirable.

--Christine T., TOP

 

     
 

Fr. Conway, was a holy, courageous, wise and generous priest who truly understood the evil of abortion. He said abortion is the greatest evil so saving babies from abortion is the most important work in the world. It is interesting to note that he died on the day of the pro-life march in Washington, D.C.

I would often call him about the persecution on the sidewalks outside abortion centers as we try to offer adoption as the loving answer to abortion. He always encouraged me to go forth and be not afraid that God is with us. He was fearless for the Lord. His faith was like a rock. When I would tell him of the aggressive behavior of some boyfriends who were taking their girl friends into the abortion center, he would tell me to continue and don't worry, God is leading you.

When we began our efforts to form Holy Family Adoption Agency to take on the sidewalks to save babies from abortion we had no money but he would remind me of the words of Jesus to focus on the kingdom of Heaven and everything else will be provided. We started this agency with no money and we still have little funds, but Father always encouraged us to keep going and trust in Jesus to provide. This agency can look to Father as it's true founder, for he instilled in us the courage and faith to establish it and to keep it running.

As a result of Father's courage, counsel and faith a number of babies have been saved from abortion and some have been placed in adoption in good Catholic homes. After a baby was saved I would call Father and tell him another baby was saved and you are so much a part of this miracle, Father. Father gave me the courage and strength to persevere with this most difficult work of sidewalk counseling on the sidewalks outside abortion centers. I pray now to Father and I ask your prayers that we will be able to continue without having Father to counsel and encourage us.

Mary L. Ball, TOP
Holy Family Adoption Agency
525 Thomas Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55103

 

 

This holy man was a guide, protector, defender and a comforting source of love in times of both need and celebration. He reminded me of my best and challenged me to transcend challenges. Although he reminded me numerous times that we will always be united in Christ I will miss his face to face counsel. If my mission of fostering Disabled Catholics in Action succeeds it will prosper because of this beloved man of God.
 

Mary Jane Owen, TOP, MSW
Disabled Catholics in Action
[email protected]