Memories of a Shepherd's Visit
Some of the sisters visiting with now Cardinal Lajolo. Front, L-R: Judy McAdams (aspirant), Sr. Mary Rose Dominic, Sr. Judith Miryam, Sr. Mary Martin, Sr. Mary Catharine, Sr. Carol Marie (now in Africa), Sr. Denise Marie, Sr. Mary of the Immaculate Heart (RIP). Back, L-R: Sr. Virginia Mary, Sr. Mary Theresa (RIP), Sr. Mary Daniel, Sr. Mary Elizabeth, Sr. Mary Albert (RIP), Sr. Mary Ellen Timothy, Sr. Cynthia Mary (now in MA).
Today, Benedict XVI created 23 new cardinals, among them Giovanni Cardinal Lajolo who currently serves as President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State.
However, back in 1994 the then Bishop Lajolo was serving as Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See . One Sunday morning, June 12th, to be exact, we received a phone call from our archbishop, Archbishop McCarrick, asking if we would be free to have the Bishop and his secretary spend the morning with us. Of course we were thrilled. Unknown to us, Bishop Lajolo's secretary was Fr. Joseph Fox, OP of our province. They came with Archbishop McCarrick's secretary, Fr. Joseph Reilly who also was a friend our community.
We had a delightful visit, especially our Sr. Mary Teresa (RIP) who was originally from Pietramelara, Italy. She loved any chance to talk to someone in Italian. (In the photo she is on the far left, slightly hidden by Sr. Virginia Mary.)
L-R, Fr. Joseph Reilly, Fr. Joeph Fox, OP, Sr. Mary Teresa, OP, Bishop Lajolo.
During our visit we brought Bishop Lajolo out to our cloister where he got a group photo of us. Several weeks later a package arrived from him. He had thoughtfully made copies of the photo for each sister.
Most of all, we were impressed by his simplicity, his devotion to the Church and his prayerfulness. While we were out on the cloister the Angelus bell rang and he promptly stopped the conversation and led us in praying the Angelus. Later, before he left, he spent time in prayer in our choir before the Blessed Sacrament.
Several years after the bishop's visit, 2 of our sisters were in Washington, DC attending the Theological Formation Program for our newly professed nuns. Fr. Joseph Fox came by and when he saw the sisters immediately said, "You must write Archbishop Lajolo a note. He would love to hear from you. He has such fond memories of visiting your monastery!"
Today, as the Holy Father bestows this new honor on Cardinal Lajolo we remember him in our prayers and rejoice with the whole Church.