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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.