Remembering the Novitiate
The Alexian Brothers Novitiate compound, located in a secluded area east of Gresham, stirs up a variety of emotions for many long-time residents.
The estate on the edge of the Red River stepped into the annals of history when the Menominee Warrior Society invaded the property 15 minutes into the new year in 1975, took several hostages and demanded the Alexian Brothers give the the property, originally owned by American Indians, to the Menominee.
The month-long standoff ended when the Catholic society sold the deed to the Menominee. The warriors evacuated the monastery and were arrested. The tribe relinquished ownership of the estate within a few months, however, due to a lack of funds, and in October 1975 fire gutted the former three-story mansion.
Author J. Patrick Rick of Texas writes about the standoff in his new book, "The Abbey and Me: Renegades, Rednecks, Real Estate and Religion," but it is just one part of the property's rich history that he shares.
Rick's love for the Novitiate extends back to 1966, when he was fresh out of high school and considering a life of serving God.
Rick spent six months at the Novitiate as a postulate, a probationary beginner in the tenets of the Catholic faith. At the end of the six months, postulates must decide whether to remain at the monastery for further training in running health facilities, a primary mission of the Alexian Brothers.
"Even though this was secluded, and even though we were out wearing black, there were some people who were not Catholic who would drive by, and this would be a mysterious place, in their minds," Rick said.