Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ite ad Joseph

Today is our "community day," which means that we have Mass in our convent chapel, a community meeting, lunch together and a guided Hour of Adoration. Being the feast of St. Joseph, I suppose our lunch (largely consisting of leftovers donated after a conference over the weekend) was even an unofficial "St. Joseph table." And the Paulist priest who celebrated Mass for us told a wonderful story of a St. Joseph table put on at an Italian restaurant in Minneapolis. The matriarch of the place was simply known as "Mamma D" (di Giovanni). Mamma D and sons were parishioners Father Bob met some thirty years ago when assigned to the Twin Cities. Part of his ministry involved the nearby University, and that was part of Mamma's ministry too: feeding undernourished students, all year round. But when St. Joseph's Day came around, everything was free for all comers. Mamma D and a son or two simply came to church and carried the statue of St. Joseph off with them. He presided over the restaurant all day. Then a new priest came. No one thought to tell him about Mamma D and St. Joseph. When he saw the statue being carried down the street, he ran out and demanded, demanded! that they put him back where he belonged. Mamma simply harrumphed at that and continued on her mission. She knew where St. Joseph belonged on March 19. Father Bob learned this morning that Mamma D died just a few days ago. May she rest in peace!

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