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.