PROVIDENCE — Four years after first becoming a “Friar,” one recent Providence College graduate is beginning his journey towards becoming an actual Friar — that is to say, a member of the black and white bedecked Order of Preachers that gives the college its mascot, its color scheme and its institutional charism. Trevor Wakefield, who received his B.A. in theology and Spanish in May, began his novitiate with the Dominican Order in July at St. Gertrude’s Parish in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Although Wakefield had considered becoming a priest since childhood, it wasn’t until coming to PC that he found a community that truly resonated with him.
“My home parish of St. Mary’s [in Hanover, Massachusetts] has always been very active, so I grew up considering the possibility of becoming a secular priest,” Wakefield told Rhode Island Catholic.
“Then I attended Boston College High School, where I served as a campus minister, so I became familiar with the Jesuit tradition as well. But it wasn’t until I came to Providence and got to know St. Dominic that I really felt I had found the right path for me.”
Wakefield credits the saint with guiding him towards his vocation.
“My spiritual director recommended a biography of Dominic to me, and I was instantly inspired by him,” Wakefield recalls. “His energy and compassion almost made him feel like a new, unexpected father figure for me.”
The shared “father figure” of St. Dominic is what gives the Dominicans their fraternal character; for the next year, Wakefield’s novitiate will give him an opportunity to familiarize himself with living in a spiritual community.
“The novitiate actually has very little formal study,” Wakefield explains. “We spend our time praying the Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary and generally getting used to monastic living. Our intellectual formation takes place after the novitiate, at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington.”
Wakefield said he is grateful for all the support he has received from his parents, friends and from the PC community.
“It’s really helped motivate me and keep me moving towards this,” he said.
Of all the support Wakefield has received, however, perhaps the most significant has been the encouragement of the Providence College Friars — the clergy, not the basketball team.
“Father Michael Weibley, O.P., the associate chaplain at PC, really helped me to understand the potential to do good that every friar has,” Wakefield says.
“That was what really convinced me to take the next step — seeing just how much each impact a single person can have when working alongside committed brothers in a community.”
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