I was pleased and proud to be asked to make a contribution to
Saint Meinrad's new blog. One of my sons, Kenny, was asked to blog
a few months ago. I don't like to let the young folks get ahead of
I fit in two categories of Saint Meinrad bloggers. I'm an oblate
of Saint Meinrad Archabbey and a graduate of Saint Meinrad School
of Theology. I'm also a former Presbyterian, the wife of a former
Presbyterian pastor (not the former wife of a Presbyterian
pastor!), and the mother of six children.
I do have a day job - I'm a U.S.bankruptcy judge - and am
working on another degree or two. I sing in my parish choir, teach
adult faith formation and am principal bassoonist in the Germantown
(Tennessee) Symphony Orchestra. I'm thinking that one or more of
those things will give me something to talk about.
But since I started out with Kenny, I think that I'll talk about
him first. Kenny is my third son. He and his younger brother,
David, form the middle pair. They had two older brothers, Robert
and John, and two younger sisters, Evelyn and Judy.
Kenny takes a lot of ribbing from his siblings. Kenny, like all
of his brothers, graduated from Christian Brothers High School here
in Memphis. He liked being a Brothers Boy so much that he continued
with them for four more years at Christian Brothers University,
also here in Memphis.
While he was there, he invited me to go with him on a class trip
to Rome, where we stayed at the Christian Brothers Generalate.
There we were able to visit a museum that highlights the work of
the De La Salle Christian Brothers over more than 300 years of
The De La Salle Christian Brothers are a community of religious
men founded by St. John Baptist De La Salle. In 1679, De La Salle,
then a young priest, was asked to assist in opening a parish school
for poor boys in his hometown, Rheims, France. This led to the
gathering together of a group of laymen whom he formed to be
teachers for his school.
As De La Salle continued to follow the promptings of Divine
Providence, he eventually found himself the superior of a new
religious order of consecrated laymen who oversaw a network of free
schools for the poor throughout France. Today there are more about
5,000 Christian Brothers who, together with their 80,000 religious
and lay colleagues, serve some 900,000 students throughout the
world. (See www.lasalle.org.)
Kenny became so interested in the work of the Christian Brothers
that he became a LaSallian Volunteer ("LV") after his graduation
from the university. For the past two years, Kenny has lived in
community with the Brothers and other LVs of the Bedford Park
Community in The Bronx,New York. Each morning, he takes the subway
into Manhattan, where he and another LV staff the Academic Support
Center at La Salle Academy, a high school for boys.
Kenny is a tutor who has had the opportunity to work with a wide
range of young men of various abilities and backgrounds. He not
only helps them with their academic struggles, however. He has
taken them on overnight retreats and camping trips, and has fielded
occasional questions about their lives and loves.
One of the highlights of his years as an LV was a bicycle ride
across half of the country last summer. In Chicago, Kenny joined up
with a group of riders who had dipped their back tires in the
Pacific Ocean in Oregon and continued across the Allegheny
Mountains and on to the Atlantic Coast, where they dipped more than
their tires into the welcome ocean waters.
This was the "LVs Ride: A Coast to Coast Movement" to raise
awareness about poverty in the United States and the work of the
Lasallian Volunteers. Kenny became one of the "stars" of the
documentary that recorded the volunteers as they stopped at
schools, food banks and homeless shelters along the way to meet the
local people and share their lives and mission. (See www.lvsride.com.)
Yes, I'm a very proud mama. More than that, I am humbled at what
Kenny and his young friends are doing. These are not the typical
teens that you read about in newspapers or watch on TV "reality"
shows. These young people are very real and very determined to make
a difference in their world.
Unlike some of the Boomers of my generation, I have no fear
about tomorrow. I have seen the next generation, and I know that
the Lord is working marvelous work. On second thought, I'll have to
change my opening lines: I am very happy to let these young folks
get ahead of me!