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] 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?

[Desmond O’Grady, SJ] I don’t know. It’s very unpredictable. I remember some things, and I don’t remember others. I think the things that would have a high emotional charge stay. Things that are business, things that are items of information disappear very quickly. And names were never very strong an item with me. But I’d remember the face, and the face would come back, and then I’d I know who I was with today.”

[Interviewer] And would all the associations come with that, say, as well?

[Desmond O’Grady, SJ] Oh, how do I know? Certain associations come back anyway. And yes, I think at the effective level, in many ways, I think I’ll be much freer now than I would have been before because I would have been focused more on the knowledge before. Now I just see people and the whole sense of the relationship, not in terms of the acts or the deeds, but in terms of the affection, the ease, the enjoyment and so on with people, that’s there very, very clearly.


Alice Waua Mwololo

WorkMy passion is making baskets out of beads and jewelry. I also make rosaries. I work from my house. I cannot afford to rent a shop. My clients come to the house to buy what they want. However, during the day, I hawk my wares around the area I live in. People love beaded jewelry, so I am able to make a few coins.


María Dolores de Guevara Ribadas

StruggleMy parents would make everything stretch like a piece of gum. I remember my parents having only bread soup for dinner from the leftover ration bread. Even in this situation, my mother would share with an old lady who often came to beg. Despite what this might look like, there was always happiness at home. We sang and looked at life with optimism. Overcoming challenges was a constant in my parents’ life.


Carlos E. Obando

LoveI grew up without a dad. We went through a lot with my parents’ divorce. When I came to the United States, I was bleeding all over the place. But I didn’t want to recognize it. It was very easy for me to love somebody, but it was extremely difficult to be loved by somebody. Because I was so hurt, I was not able to pull down all the fences that were protecting my heart.


Andrea Mendoza Chiviliú

WorkI create traditional fabrics that I sell to tourists who visit the town I live in. My mother taught me how to work with fabrics. She used to tell me I should learn to work so that I could cover the family expenses when I got married. My work did help my husband and me cover our many needs.


Kerry Egan

DeathSix years ago, I met Jim. I was his hospice chaplain. At our first meeting, he told me he had a message to get out to thousands of people. ‘I know what it feels like when the Holy Spirit has a job for me,’ he said. ‘I’ve got to get a message out, but how can I do it when I can’t even get out of this recliner?’


Rev. Patrick Render, CSV

StruggleAfter 25 years in the priesthood, Fr. Patrick Render was given time for a sabbatical to discern the future direction for his life. He shares some of the wisdom he gained during that time.