What a summer! For those of us who live in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States, summer has been punctuated by heat, humidity and rain almost every weekend. I can’t tell you how much I’ve been looking forward to the fall -- the cooler weather and almost anything that tastes like pumpkin spice.
Recently, my youngest son volunteered to help his grandmother clean up and “close down” her elementary school classroom for the summer. While there, he texted to let me know he had closed his eyes and pointed to a map of the world just for fun. When he opened his eyes, he discovered he was pointing to Newfoundland, Canada. Ironically, our family has long-planned to travel to this easternmost island in North America (excluding Greenland), and hope to do so next year.
While I typically don’t enjoy celebrating Mother’s Day, this year was quite the exception – a welcome change from my usual last minute scramble to book a restaurant big enough to hold my own family, as well as all my in-laws. After spending a quiet morning with my husband and two sons, my sister Cathy and I attended a special Mother’s Day Tea at Rosary Hill Home, a hospice run by the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne for those who have incurable cancer (my mom was diagnosed with Glioblastoma in October 2017).
The Sisters pulled out all the stops – there were a large variety of teas, coffee and an overabundance of desserts. Best of all, the Sisters came to the event wearing custom-made hats, each reflecting that Sister's unique personality. My mom’s primary caregiver, Sister Diana Marie, wore a lovely straw hat adorned with tulle and flowers that she later shared with my mom.
Father James Griffin was the pastor of St. Margaret of Cortona Parish in the Bronx, New York, during most of the eight years I attended the parish elementary school. He was young, enthusiastic, kindhearted and a real joy to be around. In fact, he was so beloved by his parishioners that upon his leaving for another assignment, they gave him a brand-new Oldsmobile! I’ll never forget when I heard the news – I couldn’t believe the parish had raised enough money to buy our pastor a new car!
While my grandfather inspired my love of “the Missions,” it was my mother who made me think that being a missionary Sister was “way cool.” Growing up, she always talked about wanting to become a Maryknoll missionary. That is, until she met my dad. She certainly wasn’t afraid of travel nor did she mind doing without modern conveniences, having spent a good deal of her childhood living in the jungles of Panama and later, on the island of Trinidad. She also loved telling the story of her Aunt Alphonsus, a Religious Sister who served as a missionary in China until she was forced to flee – smuggled out of the country by an ox cart in the middle of the night! Aunt Alphonsus was as close as you could get to a superhero as far as my mom was concerned.
Topics: Insider, Catholic Missions, Catholic China, Feeding Programs, Trinity Mission Hospital, Maryknoll, Leseru Hospital, Jane Ataku, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Bronx New York, Missions In China, Religious Sisters, Mission Hospital, Missionary Sisters, Missio, Our Lady of Mount Carmel