Monday, January 07, 2013


A year ago today, my mother died.  Even though she had been in declining health, it was quite sudden. I had just spoke to her over the phone that morning and everything seemed fine.  At the Funeral Mass I gave the following eulogy for her:


Mom was ‘Jubilant’. Each Saturday Mom would quiz me on the word for the week. This last Saturday she asked me what was another word for “rejoice”. For Mom, I couldn’t give just any synonym—it had to be the one she had in mind. I was not sure which word she meant of the hundreds that would fit the bill.  So, I told her I didn’t know.  The word was Jubilant.  She followed the answer by “See, I taught you something!”

Mom loved to teach. Even from an early age Mom loved to play school and always, she was the teacher. She was the first of her family to go to college. At first she didn’t like it there.  She was away from all of her family—and she came from a BIG family. On a ride back home with her brother George she told him that she wanted to quit. He reminded her that she was lucky to get to go to college and that she could not quit. And I am very happy that she did not.  Teaching led Mom to Dad.

For Mom’s first teaching job out of college was here in town. And in that first class of senior students she taught (wait for it...) my father. Now growing up I did not know how my parents had met. But one day while checking a book out of the college library, the librarian asked, “are you Chuck and Suzie’s boy?” I said yes. The librarian turned to her coworker and told a romance story worthy of Danielle Steel.  In that tale my father had declared his undying love for her right at the night of graduation. Well, I ran home and came in the kitchen door to find them sitting there and said “We have to talk.”  I found out the graduation night story was not true.  They didn’t start to date until after my dad went to college and returned from the army.  But I did find out that one of the other teachers did ask Mom that year “Why is that Gennaula boy always hanging around?”

My mom loved being a mother. I always knew Mom loved Janice and that Mom loved me. She even gave up teaching for a while to have us. But eventually she did go back to teaching. And when it was our time, both Janice and I found out what my father already knew: Mom was a tough teacher! You had to earn your grade—no ifs, ands, or buts. In fact, years earlier she had given my dad a D. After they were married she found that old grade book and realized that she should have given him a ‘C’.  To which Dad replied “How about an A?” Mom and Dad taught by example—on how to learn and also how to have a marriage that lasts.

Mom loved being a grandmother. All those lessons that Mom taught us, we have brought to our own families. Mom became Grammy. She was so happy to be with her grandchildren and to hear about their activities. I would see her light up when she was with them.

Finally, Mom loved God. She passed on to the Lord right here in this church. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus speaks of the faith of children. Mom was lucky to retain a childlike faith and trust through out her whole life. So Mom when I think of you in Heaven I remember your final word to me:  Jubilant.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Book review: Mistress of the Vatican. Meh.

Mistress of the Vatican: The True Story of Olimpia Maidalchini: The Secret Female PopeMistress of the Vatican: The True Story of Olimpia Maidalchini: The Secret Female Pope by Eleanor Herman

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

How could I not be attracted to a book about a "Papessa" (lady pope)? The writing is a bit breathless and I question whether some of the conclusions are just extrapolitions. But this is basically "Pulp Fiction" of the 17th Century Vatican. Can't really recommend it much though.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Flock no more...

I fare thee well, Flock.  Thy startup time is doth too great!  I will sigh no more, sigh no more while I await a usable page.  I return to Firefox (loaded with a few choice add-ons.)

Flock Browser - The Social Web Browser

Friday, April 02, 2010

Good Friday

Eli Eli lama sabachthani? ("My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?", Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34).

This to me is one of the most powerful statements that Jesus ever said. We've all had times when we feel completely alone--times when the entire world seems to have fallen on top of us. As a believer it comforts me that God understands this--that Jesus experienced it first hand.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

All Saints Day

Last night I was speaking with Wendy about a family we met years ago at an Autism Parents' Group. Like us they had 2 sons with autism. During the course of our conversation the mother made a comment about our sons and their sons which have stayed with me for years: “The boys: they are a blessing to each other.”

This morning Wendy saw in the obituaries that one of their sons had died on Friday. Your heart just breaks for the family. We don’t know any of the circumstances. At one point one of our boys was in the same classroom as the boy who died, but it has been awhile. Our lives went in different directions.

We are praying for the family and living in the belief that the boy is enjoying the light of the face of God.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Abercrombie & Fitch fined in MOA discrimination case |

"The hefty penalty from the Minnesota Department of Human Rights pleased the Maxson family of Apple Valley, which was forced to push hard for satisfaction after the retailing giant refused to apologize for the incident and even questioned whether the girl was disabled."
Abercrombie & Fitch fined in MOA discrimination case |

What gets me the most is that the company questioned the girl's diagnosis--even though she was diagnosed when she was 2 years old. Abercrombie & Finch even "subject[ed] the girl to an interview with a forensic psychologist."

Wow--what wonderful customer service.
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Monday, September 07, 2009

Citizenship in a Republic - Wikisource

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." -- Theodore Roosevelt
Citizenship in a Republic - Wikisource
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