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

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?

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Joe Schneider


LoveI met her on a blind date. One blind date, and we just walked in for life! They talk about love at first sight. Well I’ll tell ya—that was it! She was the girl I didn’t even know I was looking for until I saw her. It was God’s gift. A lot of people say, ‘It was luck.’ But you know, God operates in different ways. I think God sent two people he wanted to keep together because he knew we’d have the glue to stay together. It was a very, very wonderful life.

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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.

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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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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!

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Basil Brave Heart


HopeHere’s another time my grandmother taught me about forgiveness. We used to go out and pick cherries and plums. Before we started picking the fruit, she would take a little bread and some dried meat, and we would go sit down on the canvas, and then she’d make a prayer: ‘These plums are our relatives, and we’re going to pick them in a very careful, kind, and sacred way. I don’t want anyone to break any branches. We’re going to take what we need and leave some for someone else.’ That’s an ecological, spiritual way of living. So, everything was spiritual.

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Leah Chase


HopeLeah 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 how she prays.

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Desmond O’Grady, SJ


HopeDesmond 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.

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Marijke Elsenburg


HopeYears later, Debby, the daughter of a good friend, came to visit. She had just discovered that she was unintentionally pregnant. I held back from saying much; I only listened. I was just there, for her and with her. There was trust. She felt welcome and safe. The picture of her daughter now hangs in my living room.

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Margaret Irwin West


HopeIrish artist Margaret Irwin West believes that hope is like the sun: even if you can’t see it, it’s always there. In this audio clip, she discusses what inspires her artwork.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Christine Nampande


StruggleAfter my husband died in 1989, his relatives attempted to evict me from our family house and land. I decided to rent land for cultivation. I had to travel four miles from home to that land every day with a child on my back. But I thank God that I reported the case and the judge was true and fair. Both properties were returned to me, and it’s where I am now.

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Greg Boyle, SJ


StruggleWith 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 the power of going to the margins. [Interviewer] Is there somebody that stood out over the years where you feel like—and I’m sure you have had thousands—where you really reached and were able to show them their goodness or you had an exchange where you saw that before their eyes?

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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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Ludovina Pacheco


DeathThe day before he died, my grandpa gave me a gift and asked me to pray for his soul because he was on the way to our Father’s house. We talked a lot that evening. Very lucid, he repeated once more: ‘My dear, pray for my soul.’ I went home, and at four in the morning we received the news that he had died. I remembered then what he had asked me. Before she died, eleven months later, my grandma asked me the same thing. I was 18 years old.

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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?’

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Desmond O’Grady, SJ


DeathDesmond 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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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 discusses the value of constructive criticism in helping us grow and improve.

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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.

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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.

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Leah Chase


WorkOne time, not too long ago, a food critic came through here. And boy, I was four beans—and four beans is a good rating for a restaurant in New Orleans. She took me down to one. I mean, she just tore me to pieces.

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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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