Monday, May 3, 2010

St. Teresa of Jesus Jornet (Jan. 9, 1843 to Aug. 26, 1897)

Some of my happiest days as a child were spent with my grandparents. I had all four of them until I was seven years old when my parental grandmother died. My parental grandfather died when I was 12, maternal grandfather when I was 15, and maternal grandmother when I was 33.
I loved climbing the cherry tree in my grandmother Isabel's yard and sitting up there for hours eating the delicious fruit. Then, when it was time for dinner she'd send me to the garden to get vegetables. One day, my grandmother sent me out to get sweet peas and I ate the entire crop.
Sometimes we would take the bus down city to Providence to go shopping and have lunch. Other days, we'd go to Centredale to buy dolls.
When we would visit my grandparents at night, as soon as I got out of the car, I would run to the window by the back door and look into the basement window which was level with the ground. If my grandfather Anthony was sitting in front of the fireplace, I'd be able to see him. Then, I'd go inside the house and downstairs to be with him.
The only time I was afraid to be in the basement, was if we were upstairs and my grandfather would say I could have soda pop but I'd have to go to the refrigerator alone which was located in the kitchen at the back of the basement.
"I'm too old," grandpa would say. "But, I will wait at the top of the stairs for you and you can talk to me while you get the soda pop."
I always got lemon and lime, and it was from the Yacht Club bottlers which was just down the street from their house.
I loved my grandparents unconditionally and they loved me.
When I got older and went away to college and then got married, I had less time to be with them. If only I could go back in time and be with all of them again. If only I'd known how short life was back when I was small child.
One of the cutest things that I ever said, I've been told, was the time my grandfather Anthony showed me a photo of himself (pictured in a detail above) with his own grandparents when he was three or four-years-old.
"That's not you," I said. "You were not a little boy."
I recently asked my Aunt Betty why she and my parents didn't tell us that we would only have our grandparents for a short time. She said that they didn't want to scare us kids and that we should be happy for all the wonderful memories that we have.
Whenever I see senior citizens finding it hard to get around or by themselves, I often help them or say hello. I should do it more often.
My own dad will be 80 next March. And, I want to spend more time with him.
St. Teresa of Jesus Jornet (also called St. Teresa of Jesus Jornet y Ibars) was the founder of the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Aged or the Little Sisters of the Poor. She helped the elderly who lived in poverty or alone.
St. Teresa of Jesus Jornet was born in Catalonia, Spain on Jan. 9, 1843. She is a patron saint of senior citizens. She died on Aug. 26, 1897. Canonized: 1974. Her feast day is Aug. 26.

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