I am spending my Lent this year re-familiarizing myself with The Tarheel Apostle, Father Thomas Frederick Price, the first native-borne North Carolinian to be ordained a Catholic priest, and co-founder of the first Catholic foreign missionary society, Maryknoll. God willing, he will one day be recognized as a saint. In any case, his story yields inspiration and edification with every reading.
This is the rough draft of the first of what I hope will be many illustrations of scenes from the life of Father Price. I’m making these to go with some reflections on the virtues of the Tarheel Apostle. This illustration is from a reported exchange between Bishop Leo Haid and Father Price. The reflection is on the reckless generosity of Father Price. He came to Raleigh to found a school for Catholic missionaries, but immediately found that Raleigh had many children living in the streets. He is said to have told a fellow priest “I will have an orphanage.” He repeated that refrain to every pragmatic objection raised by his fellow priest. Bishop Haid is said to have often asked Fr Price where he would find the funds for his various ambitious projects, and Father Price’s reply was always the same. He trusted that if it was the work of God it could not fail. From this aspect of his character, I am reminded that there are good things we are called to say yes to on impulse, with reckless generosity, because they are good, without overmuch concern for the practical means by which they will be carried out over time. I am pursuing this work because I have always wanted other NC Catholics to know more about Fr Price, and whether he is eventually canonized a Saint or not, his story is worth knowing and gaining from. The story of a good person, a heroic person, encourages those who read it to “go and do likewise.” #drawingexistedfirst #thetarheelapostle #fatherthomasfrederickprice #maryknoll