SHARING THE WISDOM OF TIME

BY POPE FRANCIS AND FRIENDS

“To walk toward the future, the past is needed.” –Pope Francis

STORIES

See more stories about ... LOVE  | HOPE  | STRUGGLE  | DEATH  | WORK  | ALL

Klaartje Merrigan


LoveI had been without a partner for three years and saw many of my peers getting married, having children, and settling down. I was scared and felt like I was running out of time. I confided my fears to my grandmother on one of the many Sunday afternoons I spent with her. When I told her that it felt as if it was too late for me to settle down, she laughed out loud, joyfully, kindly. ‘You have all the time in the world, my dear. You are so young. What do you want in a partner? Look for that, and don’t settle for less. You have all the time in the world.’

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Father Ángel García Rodríguez


LoveI know he will have problems like all young people. But I know he has a father who has learned that, when you have a son, the least important thing is that he finishes college. The most important thing is that, when he has a fever, you are there to take him to the doctor; when he suffers from a broken heart, you are there to give him your support. And when you are not there anymore, you have left him an inheritance—an education—that will give him opportunities. I think being a parent is the most dangerous and, at the same time, the most wonderful thing.

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Bernarda de Jesus Zapata de Pardo & Ramón Antonio Pardo García


LoveWe have been married for 60 years. Love hasn’t changed throughout the years. Our love is the same. We respect each other. Never fight. We don’t call each other names. We pray the rosary together. We love each other like we are told at church: until God sets us apart. We have been poor, but we have had enough.

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Cedric Prakash, SJ


LoveThe other day I was writing a document. Somebody was standing by my side and spilled his whole cup of coffee on it. I had done a lot of work. I had made all my markings. And it was all blotched. At first, I did not know how to react. But now he will never forget the way I decided to react. I just asked him, ‘Shall I make you another cup of coffee?’

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Cassuis Paxton


LoveIn 1981, Cassuis Paxton moved with his family to the San Gabriel Valley. In this video he describes some simple actions we can all take to begin to overcome bias.

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Greg Boyle, SJ


HopeWith the help of parishioners and the local business community in Los Angeles, Greg Boyle has worked to build Homeboy Industries into one of the largest, most comprehensive, and most successful gang intervention, rehabilitation, and reentry programs in the United States. In this audio clip, he discusses God’s loving mercy. [Greg Boyle, SJ] I think this place reminds you that we need a better God than the one we have, you know? Sometimes we settle for this lesser God, this partial God, this puny God, this more realistic God, than the God we actually have. But these folks remind you of the God who we actually have.

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Maria Soerinah Hoetomo


HopeI protested to God. I was angry with him. I felt he was unfair to my family. I did not want to go to church, and I did not pray anymore. I did not want to communicate with the ‘evil’ God. Then one day I found an image of a cross torn in two on the floor in our home. I picked up the pieces and taped it back together. I did not know who tore it up and left it scattered there. However, the event that day changed everything. I cried, staring at the scarred image of the broken cross. I remembered the suffering of Jesus. It was like I was seeing his sorrow and pain right in front of me.

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Margaret O’Reilly


HopeAs a young child, Margaret O’Reilly learned a hard lesson about the importance of always telling the truth and sticking to it. In this video she shares the most important thing she’d like young people to know. [Margaret O’Reilly] And the thing that I would pass on to the children now is don’t ever tell a lie because you have to keep on lying to undo the bad you’ve done. If you tell the truth and stick to it, people will eventually believe you.

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Maria Gabriella Perin


HopeI often recall the sacrifices and trials I endured to raise my son. Would I say I have regret? I really cannot because this is how it happened.

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Earl Frost


HopeEarl Frost discovered his talent for music thanks to the support that others showed in him. In this audio clip, he shares what he has learned about faith.

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Earl Frost


HopeI think my faith grew the most when I left home and came to Boston. I knew nobody. I wasn’t going to church at the time. If somebody wanted to hire me to play the piano at a church, I’d go, but I was looking for money. Don’t play with my money! But they told me I had a gift, and a gift comes from God. People would say, ‘Earl, come on up and play this song!’ I’d look around, and people who had all sorts of degrees would be there. I’d say to myself, Why are they asking me to play?

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Joseph Gicheru Chege


StruggleI remember seeing soldiers coming home after the war in 1945 when I was a young boy. We were scared. We were told that Hitler and the French and British would be coming to Nairobi to have some tea and that we should put out our lamps. The French ended up settling in Isiolo, the Germans in Kilimanjaro, and the British Empire took over our country. That was a big deal—it shocked us all. We used to eat our food in the dark because we were afraid of getting bombed.

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Robert Hamilton


StruggleTimes of struggle challenge us to be honest with ourselves. They help us recognize when we are trying to rationalize something we want or want to avoid instead of concentrating on what is the right or just thing to do. The hardest lesson can be overcoming fear—fear of failure, fear of personal loss, fear of embarrassment—because decisions informed by fear almost always lead to the worst results. Faith in what is right and true and just must be the guiding principle.

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Desmond O’Grady, SJ


StruggleDesmond O’Grady is a Jesuit priest who served in many prominent positions throughout Ireland. He was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He shares what living with the disease has taught him and how it has changed the way he lives life. In this audio clip, he discusses understanding and accepting his limitations. [Desmond O’Grady, SJ] Oh yeah, I mean the anxiety at the early stages was high. Not being able to remember, yeah, not being able to remember that either in detail, but I know that there was a time of considerable confusion when I’d be saying, ‘I know how to get places!’ Like finding directions. I’m a Dubliner, born and bred, lived here all my life. I love walking around the city. Now I can’t. Someone says to me, ‘How do I get to Mespil Road?’ and I say, ‘Oh Mespil Road, oh yeah.’ And I would find I couldn’t do it. I know I know, but I can’t articulate it. And that upsets me, and sometimes then I feel that I don’t want to admit it. So that upsets me even more. But I’m getting used to that.

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Tony and Grace Naudi


Struggle[Grace] You want to get on in the world, you want to be a success, and you think that’s really important. But in the end, that’s not what’s most important. The important thing is to find yourself, to know yourself, and to be grateful for what you have. You tend to exclude the frivolous things when you come face-to-face with hard facts. Then you know what is important.

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Razanamialy Simone


Struggle[W]ith the grace of God I changed. I continue to work as a laundrywoman and now have some savings. My community does not see me as a parasite anymore. I have a good relationship with my daughters. They give me pocket money that I use to buy yogurt. I even managed to improve my house; there had been holes in the roof for years. And I was blessed in another way: caring people took me to the doctor and helped me get better. My feet and knees feel better.

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Chan Jae Lee


DeathChan Jae Lee is the 76-year-old founder of Drawings for My Grandchildren, a popular Instagram account (@drawings_for_my_grandchildren) in which he and his wife create paintings and stories for their grandchildren in the U.S. Lee and his wife live in Korea.

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Angela Martínez Morales


DeathIn my 72 years, I’ve learned to live a life of tranquility and love. God has given me plenty of life. He has given me life to do something for others, to serve in all that I can, because God gives us all gifts that we discover through understanding and discernment. Yes, serving others is God’s reward.

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Guri Rygg


DeathI was 10 or 11, and I thought Grandma was ancient. (She was probably about 60 at the time!) I thought it was time to ask whether she was afraid of death, since she was so old. Grandma looked at me and laughed a little to herself. She sat and thought. Then she asked, ‘Have you been inside Nidaros Cathedral?’ Of course I had been there, I said.

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Leah Chase


DeathLeah Chase, the famed New Orleans chef and inspiration for a classic children’s animated movie, has fed musicians, Presidents, and countless visitors in her restaurant Dooky Chase’s. In this audio clip, she discusses the challenge and the need to keep living our lives after the death of a loved one.

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Tom McGrath


DeathClearly my father understood his situation: he was dying and there was more pain to come. And yet here he was saying, as if he was letting us in on a secret, ‘All in all, we’re in pretty good shape.’ Was this just the medicine talking? The truth is that I had heard those words from him so many times, a frequent refrain through the years. I looked at my daughter and was deeply grateful she was there to hear this message of faith and hope and blessing from her grandfather.

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Joe Schneider


DeathI was a bomber pilot in World War II. We were the bombers who were knocking out hundreds of bridges in Italy. We became known as the ‘Bridge Busters’. We had to fly straight and level, otherwise we would never hit a 100-foot bridge. It was very touch-and-go. And we lost an awful lot of people.

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Jesús Landáburu Sagüillo


WorkI’d had a very good season (1986–1987), and again, a new coach decided not to play me. In the preseason, I hardly played, and in the first match, I was not even on the roster. This time, however, I had matured. Instead of sulking and reacting like a child, I decided to make a greater effort. I showed my ability. I trained doubly hard. In the afternoons, I ran in the Retiro [a park in Madrid]. A few games later, I was playing again, first string, having demonstrated my worth.

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Martin Scorsese


WorkWhat can you learn from failure, which is finally just as fleeting? I think I’ve learned more from failure, rejection, and outright hostility than I have from success. Actually, what I learned from failure prepared me to learn from success.

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Leah Chase


WorkLeah Chase, the famed New Orleans chef and inspiration for a classic children’s animated movie, has fed musicians, Presidents, and countless visitors in her restaurant Dooky Chase’s. In this audio clip, she expounds on the importance of work and some of what it has taught her.

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Chan Jae Lee


DeathChan Jae Lee is the 76-year-old founder of Drawings for My Grandchildren, a popular Instagram account (@drawings_for_my_grandchildren) in which he and his wife create paintings and stories for their grandchildren in the U.S. Lee and his wife live in Korea.

VIEW THIS STORY

Greg Boyle, SJ


HopeWith the help of parishioners and the local business community in Los Angeles, Greg Boyle has worked to build Homeboy Industries into one of the largest, most comprehensive, and most successful gang intervention, rehabilitation, and reentry programs in the United States. In this audio clip, he discusses God’s loving mercy. [Greg Boyle, SJ] I think this place reminds you that we need a better God than the one we have, you know? Sometimes we settle for this lesser God, this partial God, this puny God, this more realistic God, than the God we actually have. But these folks remind you of the God who we actually have.

VIEW THIS STORY

Maria Soerinah Hoetomo


HopeI protested to God. I was angry with him. I felt he was unfair to my family. I did not want to go to church, and I did not pray anymore. I did not want to communicate with the ‘evil’ God. Then one day I found an image of a cross torn in two on the floor in our home. I picked up the pieces and taped it back together. I did not know who tore it up and left it scattered there. However, the event that day changed everything. I cried, staring at the scarred image of the broken cross. I remembered the suffering of Jesus. It was like I was seeing his sorrow and pain right in front of me.

VIEW THIS STORY

Joseph Gicheru Chege


StruggleI remember seeing soldiers coming home after the war in 1945 when I was a young boy. We were scared. We were told that Hitler and the French and British would be coming to Nairobi to have some tea and that we should put out our lamps. The French ended up settling in Isiolo, the Germans in Kilimanjaro, and the British Empire took over our country. That was a big deal—it shocked us all. We used to eat our food in the dark because we were afraid of getting bombed.

VIEW THIS STORY

Angela Martínez Morales


DeathIn my 72 years, I’ve learned to live a life of tranquility and love. God has given me plenty of life. He has given me life to do something for others, to serve in all that I can, because God gives us all gifts that we discover through understanding and discernment. Yes, serving others is God’s reward.

VIEW THIS STORY

Klaartje Merrigan


LoveI had been without a partner for three years and saw many of my peers getting married, having children, and settling down. I was scared and felt like I was running out of time. I confided my fears to my grandmother on one of the many Sunday afternoons I spent with her. When I told her that it felt as if it was too late for me to settle down, she laughed out loud, joyfully, kindly. ‘You have all the time in the world, my dear. You are so young. What do you want in a partner? Look for that, and don’t settle for less. You have all the time in the world.’

VIEW THIS STORY