My mother was the greatest gift of my lifetime; this not to belittle my dad. The older I get the more privileged I feel to have been born to this most beautiful woman. Memories of her still enlighten me to this day; her lessons still ring true, still guide me, still inspire me, still light my way. It was Magdalene Helen who first introduced me to the world of art. At the age of 5, she took me with her to a stone grotto, which was dedicated to Mother Mary. She had pulled me there in my Radio Flyer wagon, along with her painting supplies. I watched her then paint a watercolor of the grotto. I was in awe as she made the image appear on paper. I asked her two questions as she continued to paint. "What are you doing?” She replied, "I am painting a painting." Then, "Why are you painting that?" She replied, "Because I think it's beautiful." I still have that painting.

There were so many daily lessons I could never mention them all — each was another gift of her love for all her children. These gifts she gave us were to help guide us in our lives so we could thrive. There were five of us surviving children, yet each lesson felt like it was my own private lesson, spoken just for me. We all were told the story of our baby brother, Joseph Michel, who had died of a miscarriage, sometime between 1941 and 1945. She told us she wanted all of us to always remember him and that he existed and to pray for him. She told us how she still missed him and would always miss him. This single lesson, above all the hundreds of others, was the single most important lesson of my lifetime. This lesson, from the deepest part of who she was, went to the deepest part of my soul and stays there to this day. She loved each and every one of us with everything in her.


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