She willed herself to attend despite the pain in her bones and throughout her body. It would have been very easy for her to make an excuse to stay home. One month before our Lord called her to heaven, riddled with stage 4 cancer, Joan Mary donned her best smile along with a perfectly beautiful outfit and attended the Knight of Columbus officer induction ceremony of her beloved Joey.
Gazing with pride at the man she had loved for over 50 years, one can see her genuine feelings of deep affection for him in the photo below.
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati said “In God’s marvelous plan, Divine Providence often uses the tiniest twigs to do good works... What would life be without acts of charity?” Blessed Pier Giorgio is one of my favorite saints. Born to a wealthy family, Pier Giorgio used his wealth to help the poor and sick. Like Mom, he did good works naturally without even thinking about it. Like Mom, he didn’t call attention to himself, rather he just helped out as part of his normal life in Italy, in the early 1900’s. He also spent time with orphans and those in need – like Mom and Dad have done throughout their lives and recently with great organizations like Noah Homeless Shelter, St. Vincent de Paul Needy Fund and Knights of Columbus Toy Drive.
I find it astounding that the last act of earthly “charity” Mom performed, out of love for another human soul, was to will herself to attend Dad’s Knight of Columbus induction ceremony, despite her ill health. As Pier Giorgio shared “Divine Providence often used the tiniest twigs to do good works…” Mom was one of God’s twigs and she listened to His voice within her soul, enabling her to love and serve Him, by loving and serving others.
While bigger than Mom, Dad is also one of God’s twigs! The Knights of Columbus, which he founded at his parish Christ the King, raises money to serve the poor and needy in the community. Mom and Dad lived their whole lives serving their families and others in need. If there was a family member or stranger in need of a friend, you could count on my parents!
Following in Mom’s footsteps, Dad continues to do good works to serve those in need. In fact, he is currently planning the Christmas toy drive and has secured Grace’s help for the second year in a row. Grace is truly blessed to serve alongside her incredible grandfather who seeks nothing other than the smile of a happy child opening a favorite gift on Christmas morning.
Mom and Dad’s example inspires me to look out, not in. In my brother’s beautiful eulogy, he promised that our family would do good works in Mom’s name. We will. Her spirit of service and love for the other impels us forward. May we all look out, not in – for it is there where true happiness may be found.