I have always loved my brother John. We are only a year and a few months apart in age. He was always there! In grade school we were even in the same classroom every other year. (St Casimer's was a small school in the Lithuanian Village with two grades in the same room with the same teacher.) We split for high school and then his time in the Marines and my time in formation as a Sister of the Blessed Sacrament. But from 1963 onward every place I lived John came to visit at least once - more often multiple times.
Today as we visited with two women of whom John spoke so highly - Sr. Mary Lou Dolan (Sister of Providence - St. Mary-of-the-Woods) and Sr. Karla Barker (Sister of St. Francis- Oldenburg) I saw into John's life more deeply. Sr. May Lou was not expecting us. When I mentioned John's name, her face lit up and she said, "How is John doing these days?" I told her of his death and she responded, "Heaven is a better place now that John is there." My heart melted. After lunch in the Sister's dining room we had a chance to visit Sister at the White Violet Center for Eco-Justice where she spends time "skirting" alpaca wool in the afternoon. She spoke of her delight in John's finding her when he stopped by each year - wherever she was on the campus John always tracked her down.
Sr. Karla spoke of John's bimonthly calls to her when she moved back to the Motherhouse from her long time stay as a staff member at Springbank Retreat Center in South Carolina and his visits to her place in Oldenburg, IN. John found it fascinating that she was living in a former bank building with the teller windows and huge vault still in place with different uses. We spoke of John's gentle spirit and his embracing kindness. I feel as if today I have been given a deeper insight into who John was - a good man - simple and steadfast in love and friendship. I am very grateful.
And oh, by the way, we were in five states today. How good is that!