Posts Tagged ‘generosity’

When I lived in Southern California I had the most wonderful dentist. Loved going each and every time. I wouldn’t be lying if I said it felt like I was visiting family. Everyone always asking about the kids. Even asking about Thumper the dog. The staff had been the same for years. Never any new faces. That’s very telling.

She was actually my neighbor -lived about five doors up from us. But I never saw her in the neighborhood so we caught up during my appointments.

Kind, funny, smart, beautiful on the inside and outside.

And she was a refugee.

When she was just five years old her parents, four siblings and a ton of other family members boarded a boat to escape Vietnam. No idea where they were going but the Dad knew they had to flee.

She told me she could remember being in a sack and thumping her head on the bottom of the boat.

They were rescued at sea, after floating for days amidst bombs, by a ship and soon found refuge in the United States. A Catholic Church in the Midwest sponsored them.

Sadly, her mom died from cancer some time after they arrived in the U.S.

Dad, a physician, ended up doing a fine job raising his children.

My dentist originally was pre-Med but once completed decided on dentistry. Her father had five children. All chose medicine or dentistry.  That’s a bunch of Drs. in just one family.

That is truly a success story. Against many odds.

Being a doctor might not necessarily be everyone’s idea of the pinnacle of success. We all know a profession is not the whole person. Doesn’t make you a better person or a person who is better than anyone else. But it is a wonderful accomplishment, an honorable profession and requires tremendous hard work. For anyone but especially for folks who start off fighting the odds without the usual support systems in place.

During the recent elections I read that a woman said her candidate would win if only the people whose four grandparents were born in the U.S. would vote.

I pondered that one. And I’d say she was probably right on the money.

But what she missed with that statement was that we all should be reminded that America has always been a nation of immigrants and refugees. Always. Even folks whose four grandparents (or great grandparents) were born in the U.S. have immigrant blood coursing through their veins.


My dentist arrived in a boat. Fleeing murder and mayhem. No papers. No nothing.

It was only through the goodness and generosity of the American people and a church community that allowed her family to not just survive the ordeal but to flourish. To serve the greater community. To become respectable, outstanding, tax paying citizens.

This story just reminds me of why I always loved my country. Her essence. The goodness, generosity and community of the people. Candidates and politicians come and go but I have every hope that the essence of America will and should remain the same.










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I attended a Catholic school when I was young and was fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful nuns who not only taught me how to read and write but also helped (with Mom and Dad) form a whole person. Not perfect by any means but one that recognizes that it’s not just all about me.

There were also plenty of priests in our parish through the years. And not one of them, in all my years there, had anything but a fine reputation. Sure, some were boring and some had better personalities than others. But all in all-good men. Preached the good word and from my viewpoint seemed to live a life of God.

We hear alot about the bad priests. And we should. But I think we should hear about the good ones also.

I am thankful that I grew up with so many of them. People that walked the talk. Devoted to God, the flock and good works.

During my last visit home my Auntie Bet (my Godmother and Mom’s best friend) and I were chatting about this and that. She has a great memory for names, places and events.

She told me about a priest at St. Mary’s Parish in Pawtucket where she and my mom were raised. His name was Msgr. Cornelius Holland. He paid the tuition for ANY kid that graduated from St. Mary’s and wanted to continue their studies at a Catholic high school. Out of his own pocket. Mom said she thought it was an inheritance or some family money.

I was talking to Mom yesterday and Monsignor’s name came up and I was once again reminded of his generosity to the parish. Mostly working class Irish folk with little education themselves. People who would be hard pressed to come up with four years of tuition.

So, for a change, I wanted to share a story about a good priest. One who did not abuse his role. One who did serve God. One who served children in the best possible way. By providing them with a fine education, love and the utmost generosity.

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