Thursday, September 24, 2015

Saints in Pawtucket

When I was growing up in Pawtucket I felt myself surrounded by  good people--in my  family, in my neighborhood and in my daily  routine. In watching the canonization of Father Serra  yesterday I  began to think about the fact that even  saints are flawed --all of us are flawed.  So  what makes a person a saint?  I don't know but  I am suddenly thinking  of  the  people from Pawtucket who seemed saintly to me.  What  was the nature of  their sanctity?  Of course, I think that my mother was a saint--I'm not going to go there--not today.
But I want to recall some of the cloud of witnesses that  were  a fact of my daily life. At another time I  will  try to tease out the particulars of these  extraordinary ordinary people. Today I want to just name a few.
Modesto Lunadelli who ran a grocery store for years  at the corner of Meadow Street and Brewster Street.

Jack White  who owned the 2-decker  that we lived in on the second floor at 130 Englewood Avenue.

Sister Mary Michaeleen who was my 8th Grade  teacher at St. Joseph's School on Walcott Street.

Al McAloon  who ran a Catholic bookstore and lending library, Saint Augustines  in downtown Pawtucket  that my mother took me to every Saturday.

Henry Shelton who tirelessly  fought  for help for the poor.

Jenarita Fox who  started at the Grove Street School  the first Special Education classes  that my two sisters with Down Syndrome could attend and learn to read.

There I have named six and I will stop here and   hopefully find the words so describe their sanctity as it came into my  life in future postings.
In the last years of his life my Uncle Joe Coleman, who had the religious name Brother Cyril, often spoke of seeing saints everywhere--on the bus and in the streets. They were all shining-- he would tell me. These are six that even  I could see glowing  before me in our small, important place--Pawtucket.

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