Villa De Palma Ministry
“But to whom am I telling this story? Not to you my God; rather in your presence am relating these events to my own kin, the human race, however few of them may chance upon these writings of mine. And why? So that whoever reads them may reflect with me on the depths from which we must cry to you.” St. Augustine Bishop of Hippo
Lord, You know and are well accustomed to my mother’s fondness and her upbringing of your servant, Richard on the writings of your servant St. Augustine of Hippo. Yet, I have always wondered as to whom Bishop Augustine was actually confessing to. My answer has finally been answered. It is not a confession to You but about You that he writes.
I am, by chance alive now, during the last part of the twentieth and in the beginning of the twenty first century. I am likewise graced through Your privilege, Lord, to pick up now as a man, the writings of St. Augustine. Writings, I must say again, introduced to me as a child motivated by the tender love of a mother, which adopted me and raised me as her own. A mother, very much like St. Augustine’s own, I may imagine this after reading commentaries about and descriptions from St. Augustine’ himself regarding his own mother, St. Monica. As a monk himself, Bishop Augustine, reflected on his life. Tonight, I reflect in my residence as a Christian believer. I think about the many ways that I have been graced through guidance, direction and correction by Your hand, Blessed Trinity.
Resulting through your blessing I have now met Sarah, Margaret and Theresa.
To Sarah I am her little Bubele, her Boytchik, with affection, her adopted grandson. To Auntie Marge, you guessed it, il suo nipote piccolo, her little adopted nephew. For Theresa, I am her son petit frère, her little adopted brother. Sharing gleanings from their lives has changed me, Father. Only You know what life was like for Sarah growing up in Poland during the Nazi occupation. When she tells me episodes of neighbors, her family and her own personal holocaust stories, surviving and then raising her kids in Israel and now for her living here, what can I add. Call me Auntie Marge, the warmth and loving looks coming from those big brown eyes who could resist. Born outside of Chicago sharing her stories about life growing up in Napoli as she refers to Naples. And not to forget Theresa, pronounced in French, as she is from Normandy. Raised on the coast watching the Nazi occupation, the stories she has told. Wow!
Through sharing with them the past several weeks it amazes me how others have now joined our little group. There is Dory Ann whose dad went to Annapolis between WW 1 and WW 2 and she being raised in her words, a “Navy brat,” and the two other ladies, one whose son raises thoroughbred horses on a ranch in Colorado and the other having led adventures being a civilian Navy nurse and as a school teacher. I am amazed however how people live together and yet not know one another even here at a resident assistant care facility. Yet by just talking with Sarah, then two more and another three by just listening to them share their stories to myself and to one another, community has formed. As I leave, they are now acquainted resulting in community lasting.
“Great are you, O Lord and exceedingly worthy of praise” St Augustine, the Confessions.