St. Francis of Assisi, My Mom, My Dad and Me
By Bernadette A. Moyer
The Lord works in mysterious ways! When I was in the sixth grade I received my Confirmation in my neighborhood church, St. Francis of Assisi in Allentown, Pennsylvania. I loved that church and all its stained glass and traditional glory. It was located just a few city blocks from our Liberty Street house. I remember walking to midnight Mass to celebrate Christmas and riding my banana seat bicycle to attend the church carnivals. And it was there that Bishop McShea confirmed me. It would be many decades later and at that same church where I would see my mother for the very last time before her death.
I know exactly where I was on the day that my father died in December of 2009; I was driving on the Baltimore beltway to the Franciscan Center of Baltimore to deliver donations of food and clothing. Who knew then that less than three years later I would become the Director of Development for this Center and where St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint.
For many years I have enjoyed a meaningful relationship with a Franciscan Nun, and when I was most in need of pastoral care after the passing of both my parents, it was that Franciscan Sister that I turned to for comfort, care and for guidance. I was broken-hearted at the sudden passing of my mother and distraught over our many years of estrangement. It was the wisdom of a good Christian woman that comforted me and prayed with me. She knew the importance of forgiveness and that God was always with me.
I was always fond of the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi and pray it often; I believe that even if you aren't Catholic there is such wisdom in these words;
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen”
I have peace with both my parents passing now; I can’t help but believe that they are in Heaven, and are happy and proud of my newest endeavor. I know that God has blessed me, and I know that I am exactly where He wants me to be, doing the work that He wants me to do.
My father often recited; “Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – St. Francis of Assisi
As I move forward and face the many challenges that I will no doubt face in fund development to support the most needy and to help feed, clothes and educate them at the Franciscan Center of Baltimore, I will keep another St. Francis of Assisi quote close to my heart; “Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”