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The Apostolic School That Wasn’t…: A Memoir of Immaculate Conception Apostolic School in Colfax, California

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The Apostolic School That Wasn’t… narrates a gripping account of how a rugged and picturesque 240 acre property in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada slowly transformed into an accredited minor seminary, junior high and high school for boys interested in the Catholic priesthood, then flourished, floundered, and finally shuttered. Situated between the action of God’s divine The Apostolic School That Wasn’t… narrates a gripping account of how a rugged and picturesque 240 acre property in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada slowly transformed into an accredited minor seminary, junior high and high school for boys interested in the Catholic priesthood, then flourished, floundered, and finally shuttered. Situated between the action of God’s divine providence and human realities, the narration seeks to give witness to the faith and effort of the many persons involved in the project, while exploring the possible reasons that led to the school’s ultimate demise. The narration takes place within the backdrop of the Vatican ordered purification and renewal of the Legionaries of Christ and hopes to offer insights into creating a more stable and flourishing environment for present and future apostolic institutions.


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The Apostolic School That Wasn’t… narrates a gripping account of how a rugged and picturesque 240 acre property in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada slowly transformed into an accredited minor seminary, junior high and high school for boys interested in the Catholic priesthood, then flourished, floundered, and finally shuttered. Situated between the action of God’s divine The Apostolic School That Wasn’t… narrates a gripping account of how a rugged and picturesque 240 acre property in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada slowly transformed into an accredited minor seminary, junior high and high school for boys interested in the Catholic priesthood, then flourished, floundered, and finally shuttered. Situated between the action of God’s divine providence and human realities, the narration seeks to give witness to the faith and effort of the many persons involved in the project, while exploring the possible reasons that led to the school’s ultimate demise. The narration takes place within the backdrop of the Vatican ordered purification and renewal of the Legionaries of Christ and hopes to offer insights into creating a more stable and flourishing environment for present and future apostolic institutions.

7 review for The Apostolic School That Wasn’t…: A Memoir of Immaculate Conception Apostolic School in Colfax, California

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hope Dae

    This book recounts the surprising story of a short-lived school designed to offer boys thinking about the Catholic priesthood a place to discern their possible vocations. Immaculate Conception Apostolic School ran from 2003 to 2011 in Colfax, CA. The author tells some outlandish tails of his experiences during the school’s founding and development in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. At one point the principal and students are forced to scare off a bear on their own as more professio This book recounts the surprising story of a short-lived school designed to offer boys thinking about the Catholic priesthood a place to discern their possible vocations. Immaculate Conception Apostolic School ran from 2003 to 2011 in Colfax, CA. The author tells some outlandish tails of his experiences during the school’s founding and development in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. At one point the principal and students are forced to scare off a bear on their own as more professional help was unavailable. Numerous challenges from inadequate classrooms and financing to lack of transportation and county and state permissions were slowly overcome. However, a crisis within the religious order that ran the school impacted its stability. The book includes numerous testimonials from former students and friends of this school. The author is surprising candid about his mistakes and offers suggestions on why the school eventually closed and what could have been done differently. Definitely a story worth reading!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Wren

    I always have a stack of books on my waiting list, so when “The Apostolic School That Wasn’t” fell into my hands, I must admit I was not too eager to dive in. Nevertheless, I began to read this book as a “labor of love,” more out of courtesy to my colleague the author than zeal to learn something new. I was, however, pleasantly surprised. The book is written in a pleasing and polished style, and I found myself picking it up before others that I had already opened. That being said, a few points I always have a stack of books on my waiting list, so when “The Apostolic School That Wasn’t” fell into my hands, I must admit I was not too eager to dive in. Nevertheless, I began to read this book as a “labor of love,” more out of courtesy to my colleague the author than zeal to learn something new. I was, however, pleasantly surprised. The book is written in a pleasing and polished style, and I found myself picking it up before others that I had already opened. That being said, a few points to note: 1. The book will be especially interesting for those, like me, who have been involved in minor seminary work. Of course, those who have worked with the Legionaries of Christ or the Regnum Christi Federation will also find this work interesting in more ways than one. Fr. Doyle speaks not only of the minor seminary in which he worked, but also of some of the Congregation’s weals and woes in those fatidic years of 2003-2011. 2. The book is spiced throughout with pathos and humor. I especially liked chapters 5 and 11, which went into details typical of an “Apostolic School” of those years. 3. The subtitle “A Memoir…” is appropriate. Perhaps the reader may be at times confused whether the book was meant to be a history, a biography, an apologia, or a recriminatory text. There are all of these elements, but a reader will profit most if he recognizes the work as an honest attempt to retell a specific history from the author’s perspective. 4. Though I would not agree with all Fr. Doyle says – especially some of his statements concerning the school’s and the Congregation’s norms at the time – I think it is an honest account of how he experienced them. Different people experience the same “rules” in different ways. I lived through the same time period in a similar school in France, and at least I don’t remember them being so artificial or strict. As someone once said: “Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing.” This is, of course, especially true for teenagers. 5. The book provides some valuable advice for the maintaining and running of a minor seminary, which is particularly relevant for our times with its dearth of priestly vocations. I highly recommend this book to all of those interested in the ideas I have placed above.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Marianne Doyle - Squeglia

    You are there with the author feeling his frustrations, struggles, and at times his successes. You can feel the authors sincerity to have this school succeed for God and the students. There are some humorous stories encountering wild life that miraculously turn out all right. There was a bear that wanted to join the school especially for meals! It was a fun read!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Fr. Doyle

  5. 4 out of 5

    Benjamín

  6. 4 out of 5

    Regina Doyle

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kerrie

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