March 18, 2019
St. Patrick’s Day has always been a favorite of mine, not because I have a drop of Irish blood, but because of a very special friend. Yesterday my husband and the Knights of Columbus served green pancakes and sausages at our church, and in the evening we had corned beef and cabbage with lots of other good veggies. So we celebrated well, but I want to continue the celebration with the story of my friend Roseanne.
Roseanne was Irish as “Paddy’s pig”, born and raised in Butte, Montana, with a large family of Irish miners. She loved all the songs and taught them to me, and she revered all things Irish, including taking her beloved grandfather to Ireland to see all of the relatives still there and to enjoy the “little people” and all the traditions and special places.
But most of all Roseanne treasured her faith with a strength that matched all of her amazing accomplishments. She loved Our Lady of the Rockies, a magnificent white statue which stands on the mountain overlooking Butte. She knew that the statue brought blessings to the city she loved so much, and to this day when I drive through Butte my eyes are drawn constantly to the statue.
Roseanne’s story is one of both joy and sorrow, and it fits very well with my consistent theme of following Jesus in both grief and joy. She was easily the best teacher I have ever been around. She loved junior high students, a group whom many teachers avoid, and she could reach all children and teach them to love English and reading and writing in many ways.
Her classroom was highly organized and disciplined, but it was also bustling and full of sounds of kids participating, laughing and exclaiming with amazement. Outside of school she had a Book Club, a Writing Club, a Photography Club, and a club which produced a yearbook for the school, and kids flocked to all of the clubs to the point that they often outnumbered the kids who were practicing sports.
Then came a vindictive administrator who cost her the job and cancer which took her life. The switch from joy to sorrow was horrible, but her faith carried her through all her trials. I loved her through all stages of her life, but I admired her the most for her resilience and her faith in the face of insurmountable odds.
May you be blessed with that kind of faith.