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Friday, March 16, 2012

The Little Sisters of the Poor and my Mom

I love the Little Sisters of the Poor. Until six months before she died at age 83 (in 2002) my mom used to go over to their nursing home on Maiden Choice Ln. in Catonsville twice a week to volunteer. She visited the "elderly" many of whom were younger than she was. Sometimes she wrote letters for them or she mended their clothes or just came to smile and chat. Often she was the lector at the noon Mass on her visit days.

My mom was an amazing lady who cared very much for others including the little ones in utero waiting to be born. Every January she organized the parish bus for the March for Life and, except for the last January before she died, she was there with her walker making the treck up Capitol Hill. She sold red and white carnations on Mother's Day to support the local crisis pregnancy center and was herself a generous donor to the pro-life movement. She wrote frequent letters to the editor defending the babies, and sometimes defended the faith in her own parish from the errors of the resident dissidents. She wanted others to like her, but not enough to be silent when the truth was being tromped on.

She enjoyed her 37 grandchildren and 40 great grandchildren (many more since she died ten years ago) whenever she could. Fortunately she had some nearby. "Grandma" morphed into GG (for great grandma) in her later years. She loved it!

When one of my sisters asked a daughter what she thought it meant to dress modestly, she answered "To dress like Grandma." Mom almost always had on a skirt and on the lapels of her jacket she wore the little feet, a rose pin, and several other pro-life symbols. She was neat as a pin and had a cheerful disposition and a big smile. When she was dying she always shared that smile with the visiting nurses and aides. The closest she came to complaining was the forlorn question, "Why is it so hard to die?" Among her last words was "thank you" to the aide who came to give her a bed bath two days before she died. What a legacy and a challenge to those Mom left behind. When people comment on my cheerfulness, I always say it was a gift from my mom, and it's true. All my siblings are cheerful as well. What a great testimony to mom!

It was a blessing to me today to see the Catholic Key Blog about the Little Sisters of the Poor. It sent me on a walk with my mom down memory lane. I can't imagine a greater companion for that journey. Love you, Mom.


  1. Is that your mom in the picture? She was a beautiful bride.

  2. What an inspiring story about your mom. Thanks for sharing. I have a hunch that your children will be expressing similar sentiments about you some day (hopefully DISTANT future!). As to the Sisters of the Poor, I am in awe of the work they do and cannot imagine not having their mission continue. So very much to pray for with the list getting longer with each passing day!

  3. That is my mom and she was beautiful til the day she died. In the early days of having teen daughters people more than once asked if she was a sister.

  4. It seems as if your mother was lovely in spirit as well as in body. May she rest in peace. I would love to share just a portion of her "mantle". It is women such as she, who give the rest of us courage to go on to better things.