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Friday, January 14, 2011


This morning I was surfing the internet and came upon this story about Mt. Etna erupting.  I was thinking that there was a religious story attached to it but couldn't find anything.  What I did find however was the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and the story of Our Lady of Pompeii . All of this started me reminiscing about my childhood and my parents. 

You may  be surprised to note that my father was baptized at Our Lady of Pompeii Church in Milwaukee in 1909. (It was called the little "pink church" because it was obviously painted pink.  It was later torn down for the freeway to come through,  evidently much to the distress of the Italian community.)   He also received his First Holy Communion there. 

However, somewhere along the line, he lost his faith in his early teens and was never confirmed.  Later, he went on to meet my mother who married him anyway and went to Holy Mass for the first year of their marriage alone.  In her words, they had a very huge fight after that first year and she told him that she was leaving him if he didn't start attending Mass.  So that's where the title of this story comes from - I want you to think that his answer to that veiled threat determined my entire life.  Think for a moment if he would have said NO.  There would be no "me" and more importantly, there would be no Fr. Bonaventure.  

Just as a little side note to the above story, my father went to church faithfully every Sunday/Holyday from then on.  I remember in 1963 on a Sunday, we had a terrible blizzard and couldn't even get the car out of the garage.  My father WALKED to church (about 10 blocks) just so he could keep his promise to her. I'm not really sure what his disposition was but at least he took his promise seriously!

When he was about 50 years old, he was confirmed which just proves that we should never give up praying for anyone.  I'm sure my mother was pouring her heart out to the Blessed Mother for him and she answered her in a most magnificent way!  Really - a MOST magnificent way with many, many eternal rewards attached to it!


sister clare said...

I have that picture which I show to my family several times a year. I also pray to her with a prayer in the raccolta book. I do this at least twice a year and more if needed. Your family is truly blessed.

Michael W. Beatty said...

That is a wonderful story Sister Bridget. Thank you for sharing. I am amazed when I meditate on these things. Our decisions have a huge impact on who we are and where we are heading.

Sancta Cecelia said...

Wonderful, Bridget, wonderful encouragement to each of us. I certainly have any number of 'stray lambs' in my family for whom I pray continually. Already having received great and consoling answers to prayer for some of them, you know who they are, it stirs me to keep pressing on.

Thanks be to God for your Mother's inspiration and your Father's 'Yes,' of which we have all become beneficiaries.

God bless you.

Bridget said...

He had NO idea that by saying "yes" to my mother that he had sealed the fate of the Franciscans! It is really mind bending isn't it?
Every decision has consequences, good or bad.

Sancta Cecelia said...

It's very much like the beautiful painting Sister Mary Antonina rescued from her old convent years ago. Now no one wants it1

Bridget said...

Actually now that you bring that painting up, we put it on ebay and have had at least two hits on it. Its on auction so we still have about 6 or 7 days left. Ought to be interesting to see what the final offer is but it's definitely going somewhere!

Sancta Cecelia said...

Hmmm, hope it's to someone who really cares!