Karma, Lady Luck and Aquinas Institute



Father Michael loved lot­tery tick­ets, raf­fles and slot machines. I told him once about how my hus­band had ‘won big’ at a pen­ny slot machine at the casi­no. I felt a lit­tle embar­rassed admit­ting we liked casi­nos and the lot­tery. I explained to Father M that it kind of ‘runs’ in my fam­i­ly. Well, Father Michael was just entranced; I needn’t have wor­ried. He was a ‘gam­bler’ from way back. I had told him the big win sto­ry on the phone and a few days lat­er he was still think­ing about it and sent me this email:

I am blown away by the casi­no sto­ry. I have dreamed of a big win but it has nev­er hap­pened. When my dear moth­er was alive I would go with her and we’d have a ball. She would say ‘Fr Michael  let’s go to mass and then to the casi­no and we will come home and have a drink’. It was just per­fect. And I always laughed. She was much more of a win­ner than I  was.

One day we should sneak away and win a bun­dle!!!!


Fr. Michael

Well, I was floored. Lat­er I found out that Father Michael also loved Instant Lot­tery tick­ets . He advised me too, that if he ever got a chance to buy any kind of raf­fle tick­ets, he always did. So that became a way that I gave small gifts to Father Michael-I’d buy him instant tick­ets! When there was a raf­fle tick­et avail­able, I got him one of those too. He was always so grate­ful -and sooooo excit­ed.

After Father’s can­cer diag­no­sis, I bought him some tick­ets every week. He would hold onto them for a few days before scratch­ing, savor­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ties as long as he could. At one point, Father M con­fid­ed to me that he real­ly want­ed to win a mil­lion dol­lars for Aquinas Insti­tute of The­ol­o­gy in St Louis. Father Michael had so enjoyed serv­ing on the AI Board of Trustees for sev­er­al years. Gosh, I prayed that he’d win that mil­lion. He did win small amounts reg­u­lar­ly. A few times, he actu­al­ly won $100! He enjoyed treat­ing his broth­ers to piz­za with those wins.  But the ‘big win’ was not to be. I can recall some very fun­ny ‘rav­ings’ of Father Michael about the ’ low return’ rate of these tick­ets. Father M kept say­ing he was going to call up the gov­er­nor( a man with Domini­can ties) and take him to task about it. Father Michael was so fun­ny; he could get so per­turbed by los­ing. Once I had bought him sev­er­al extra tick­ets and lat­er asked how he’d done. “They were ALL DUDS!!!” he exclaimed, look­ing just like a deject­ed lit­tle boy.

Oh, yes we did go to a casi­no once. That was a trip. We had a snack ear­ly and then quick­ly got into the slots. I had brought a nice bankroll to share. I real­ly want­ed Father Michael to win some­thing sub­stan­tial. He was always so hope­ful. Well, we lost and lost! At one point I grabbed what I thought was $20 from my purse to give to Father Michael. It turned out to be two holy cards ! I laughed and start­ed to put them back , but Father M said “no, let me have them”. He read the prayers on the back first and then  pro­ceed­ed to tuck each holy card into the sides of his machine’s screen. Then he start­ed to rub the screen up and down as he remarked “I see all the old ladies do this”. The per­son sit­ting on the oth­er side of Father was watch­ing him, get­ting quite a kick out of  all the rit­u­al. THEN Father Michael rais­es his right hand and BLESSES the machine!!! I real­ly lost it then; I almost fell off the chair , I was laugh­ing so much. But Father Michael, as seri­ous as could be, was the pic­ture of devo­tion and determination—and HOPE ! We still lost. Nev­er got through my bankroll; Father Michael was anx­ious to get back to St Pius for prayer.

Father Michael loved to hear about my casi­no vis­its, espe­cial­ly as he became more home­bound. He’d often tell me ” You have good Kar­ma, I knew you’d do well”. I’d say ” we’re Catholics- should we even be using the word Kar­ma?” Father M would just smile. I’d often take a pic­ture of good hits at the casi­no and send them to Father Michael. He would always respond imme­di­ate­ly with a “Well done!”, “How much were you bet­ting?” or my per­son­al favorite, “YEAH!!!!”

Again these are some of the lit­tle things-cer­tain­ly world­ly-but I know all of them helped Father Michael in his can­cer bat­tle. Per­haps they were just dis­trac­tions from the pain and the dif­fi­cul­ties on the jour­ney. But Father Michael rev­eled in their sim­ple delights. On my last vis­it to Father Michael,  he told me “I sure would like to go to the casi­no with you again”.

FYI-if any­one would like to donate to Aquinas Insti­tute, here is a link to their online giv­ing page:


the Fr. Michael G. Kyte, O.P., Excel­lence in Preach­ing Fund, Domini­cans, 1910 S. Ash­land Ave, Chica­go, IL 60608. — See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/chicagotribune/obituary.aspx?n=michael-kyte&pid=170399841&fhid=6266#sthash.7K2dHOrY.dpuf

Also there is a new spe­cial fund ded­i­cat­ed to prepar­ing our future preach­ers study­ing at AI: The Father Michael G. Kyte, O.P. Excel­lence in Preach­ing Fund, 1910 S Ash­land Av, Chica­go IL 60608


  1. I felt so lucky to have met Fr Michael. I only met him once, but I could sense his sin­cer­i­ty, kind­ness and con­cern. He had been pray­ing for my daugh­ter who was new­ly diag­nosed with MS. I could tell he was a spe­cial man by all the parish­ioners I observed wait­ng in line just to have a brief word with him.
    My daugh­ter receives month­ly IV treat­ments and the med­ical staff often­times has dif­fi­cul­ty start­ing her IVs, to the point where they need to have an anes­the­si­ol­o­gist or sur­gi­cal RN do the job. Dur­ing her first treat­ment after Fr Michael’s death, the nurse was able to access her vein on the first attempt. I can’t help but won­der if Fr Michael was there guid­ing her.
    Rest in peace and joy Fr Michael. You are loved. You are missed.

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