I remember the day we moved back to St. Louis in the early winter of 1956. It was in the midst of a bad ice storm with the roads icy and the trees glittering. We were staying with my Aunt Genevieve while we waited for our furniture to arrive. A lot was going on. My mother had enrolled me in the 5thgrade at St. Luke’s school which was run by the sisters of St. Joseph. My brothers were attending Chaminade High School, my sister at St. Louis University. My mother was now working full time as a medical secretary. Everything was new, including living life without my father who had died suddenly a few months earlier.
I think everyone’s head was spinning, including mine. I just went with the flow…doing what I was told to do. There were a lot of changes… going from a nice home in the country to a 3rd floor apartment in the city, trying to figure out my new Catholic school with nuns in full habit, not knowing anyone, being behind in my school work, speaking with a “southern twang”. It was like moving to a foreign country or to Mars.
St. Luke’s church was beautiful… it was huge, compared to our small parish church in Dexter,Mo. School was very different after attending public school. We had mass every day. The nuns were nice but tough cookies and kept the boys in line …. with Fr. Freiberger waiting in the wings with a solemn look on his face. Fortunately the elderly Irish pastor Fr. MacMahon was very kind, a bit like Santa Claus. This difference was reflected in the short confession line for Fr. Freiberger and the long line for Fr. Mac …. wrapping around the church.
St. Louis was big into soccer (a big CYO center) which I had never played. I did become the pitcher on our baseball team with several one hitters; the ongoing issue was whether to use my current baseball glove when I joined the Cardinals in a few years …. hmmmmm. I was pretty happy, but a bit unsettled. Things at home were not always easy. Fortunately I did make friends easily …. Bob Raftery, Pat McGauley, Bob Giovani, Paul Kersens, Steve Corkery… a regular United Nations.
My relationship with the Lord did develop during this time, although with many starts and stops. I even considered going to seminary for high school. On one hand I enjoyed serving mass, but was plagued with a scrupulous conscience that made confession an agony… especially when Fr. Mac wasn’t available.
The above is just a brief glance at my life during this time of my life…. so many more stories I could tell. It’s over 65 years since those days at St. Luke’s and the memories have become pretty distant. Most of the people mentioned have passed away…. I do hope they are at home with God.
So, what is the point of this BLOG beyond providing a little history lesson. Well, I realize that the Lord had his eye on me during this time. I love the passage from Psalm 146:9, “The fatherless and the widow he sustains.” I was never lost in the shuffle or forgotten by the Lord. Despite some trauma and heartache, the Lord was always watching out for me. He had his eye on me.
So, when you find yourself in a foreign land or on Mars …. whether you’re 9 years old or 90, know that you can call on the Lord in your time of need and he will help you. Truly the fatherless and the widows and all the rest, he sustains. And that is very good news.