Desmond 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.

[Interviewer] You have a great sense of, first of all, honesty. You tell the truth as it is. You then have, you’ve come, it would appear, to an acceptance of that through awareness. And then you take action. That’s a powerful way of dealing with anything in life, and particularly with something potentially as debilitating as Alzheimer’s.

[Desmond O’Grady, SJ] Um, yes, I think that’s true. My own way of thinking it more is the life I have, whatever it is, from the time I was an infant, up to now, is the life I have. And either you can bemoan its shortcomings, or you can delight in that you’ve settled in it. I’ve set to delight and get settled in it. Having, I think, started off as a kid feeling, ‘Oh my God! I wanna do this. I wanna do that. And I wanna do the other. And I don’t have a way around it.’ Miserable myself, annoying everyone else, and alienating them. So I says, ‘Well, this ain’t no life. What have you got?’ And I’ve found that I have an awful lot. I live a very happy life now, thanks be to God, and it hasn’t been diminished by Alzheimer’s. I think, in some ways, because Alzheimer’s has restricted my activities I have much more contemplative space. And that has done me a world of good.

MORE STORIES

Leah Chase’s passing

WorkWe are saddened to hear the news of Leah Chase’s passing. It was a pleasure meeting her at her iconic Dooky Chase Restaurant in New Orleans and an honor having her story of perseverance in “Sharing the Wisdom of Time.” We send our condolences to her family.

VIEW THIS STORY

Desmond O’Grady, SJ

LoveDesmond 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. [Interviewer] And that’s the great thing about being open about it. You know, once it’s out there and said, people can then say to you, “This is my name,” or, you know, put it into the conversation in some way so that you know. What is it like being you today in the sense of, do you remember yesterday? Or when you go now from me today, and say, by tonight, will you remember that you’ve done this interview?

VIEW THIS STORY

Ana Maria de Castro Santos

HopeOn one of these visits, we found a young woman with four children who had nothing to eat. The mother was crying and showing us the empty pots. I looked at Anna, and she looked at me. There was a lady nearby selling jackfruit, and we asked the lady for a piece. Anna shared the jackfruit with this family. The young woman was glad because the children ate, and she served the jackfruit with flour. It was a great feast!

VIEW THIS STORY

Eugenie Carmel Gazal

WorkEugenie Carmel Gazal is no stranger to work and struggle. In this brief video, she describes how her mother’s example inspired her to start a second career late in life.

VIEW THIS STORY

Martin Benton

WorkBefore I started making pottery, I had the idea that you had to make a perfect pot. Over time I have come to realize there is no such thing as a perfect pot. There is a relationship between the potter and the clay, and the clay has a mind of its own. You can shape it and bend it to a certain extent. But if you try to mold the clay in a way it doesn’t want to go, it will end up in your lap. [laughs] Pottery is a good teacher. It teaches you patience and how to get centered and not think about anything but doing pottery.

VIEW THIS STORY

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.

VIEW THIS STORY