She would have been 100 today

+JMJ+ Today my mother would have been one hundred years old. She was born in 1922, a few years before the Great Depression, into what would today be considered a large family. Her parents were poor but generous and would let passing strangers do odd jobs for good home-cooked meals at the kitchen table.

One day a man came by looking to work for food and my little grandmother (she was even shorter than me and I stand only five feet) took him in and began to prepare some food, didn’t even ask him to work first. But he had other ideas. When she turned her back, he took her large iron skillet and hit her over the head with deadly force, then stole what was surely her tiny bit of household money. They didn’t have much. I don’t know what he was thinking, robbing such poor people and murdering to do it.

My mother was seven when her mother was taken from her with such violence. She had one younger sister and some older siblings. They all had to take on more adult roles from that horrible day onward. My mother had to stand on a stool and take her turn at the stove. I guess it was no wonder that she would resent housework later in her life, though I never really thought about that aspect of it until I wrote that just now. She didn’t have a childhood and the trauma of those young years left her with scars that we couldn’t see but we all felt them.

Her life wasn’t all dark. I know I may have made it sound that way, but it wasn’t. And we had a lot of joy in our house while I was growing up. She was an artist and though I didn’t get her talent for the visual arts, I did get her love of music. Well, Dad loved music, too, but he didn’t branch out as much as she did. (He was stuck on the Big Band stuff, which I like, too, but not only Big Bands. I mean, I like In the Mood as much as the next gal, but come on, I do like lots of other tunes and styles and even eras.)

All of this to say, I’m thinking of you tonight, Mom, I think of you often. And I pray for you, too, though I know there’s a good chance you didn’t have to spend much time in Purgatory, considering what all you went through while you were here on earth. I hope you know that I love you and I always will. I hope we’ll be together again one day, and that you’re together with all your sisters and your brother, and your father and your mother. Happy 100th birthday, Mom. I miss you.


Thanks for visiting the blog and reading. I pray that you and I will stay holy and virtuous, and may we become who the Lord intends us to be: SAINTS. Pray for me, and know that I pray for you. God bless you and may His Peace be with you now and always. +JMJ+ 

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Image: Rose and candle from Pixabay. (I was going to include a photo of Mom but I just realized that all the photos are in the guest bedroom which has all the stuff from the back bedroom in it now, a result of the—very humble—home studio project. Guess the next big project on an ever growing list is to clean out the guest room and finally begin scanning that drawerful of family photos.)

Copyright: All original material on Catholic Heart and Mind is Copyright © 2009-2022 Lee Lancaster. All rights reserved. Read more.

9 thoughts on “She would have been 100 today

  1. Heartbreaking.
    PS: My mother’s father, too, was killed upon leaving a bar (still have the newspaper articles from 1935). My dad’s sister was murdered by her brother-in-law with an ax (that news article is still online from 1943). My mentally-ill sister struck & killed a New Zealand diplomat’s wife & mother while walking in our town in 1998. My dad always said he wished he could apologize to every soldier he had to kill during WWII. A cousin recently told me my father’s father left 3 of his newborn handicapped infants in a cold room to die, bc they couldn’t afford their care in the early 1900’s–this is unverified, but who knows…) If true, he must have confessed this, because my dad always wondered why their parish priest spit at him when he was little, greeting him with, “Hello Father!” while swinging on his gate in front of their home. Lee, do you know of a prayer to address ancestral residue? It has apparently lingered in every generation I’m aware of in our family, and my life sure hasn’t been a bed of roses, either. So am deeply grateful for YOUR particular weekly Rosary, which is so dear & important to me… God Bless you & yours.

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    1. Didn’t see this until just now, Kar. I’ll look for a prayer or to point you in the right direction. I don’t know much at all about this generational or ancestral idea. But that sure is one long string of I don’t know what to call it. 😢🙏🏻

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      1. It’s okay… a very devotional religious Catholic friend (like you!) had recently told me that her priest said this issue is “scape goat” blaming Thinking back on my ancestors who were ALL much better Catholics than I am, including my mom…well, she always wondered about the hard luck that permeated her own brood…so concluded the family was “cursed” & blamed my father’s side bc they changed the spelling of their last name! But then, as mentioned, I wonder about the grandfather who, I was told, left 3 infants to die in a cold room…yet was a wonderful man…other than that! Not sure if my mom knew about THAT story, which I only recently learned of through my cousin. But if a priest said this issue was scape goating,,,,well maybe that’s WHY there are prayers hard to find regarding “ancestral residue”? That’s my own term, actually. I think the “Prayer of Command” we say at the end of our Friday rosary is VERY helpful. Thank you for being out there, Lee.

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    2. Kar, I found something just now that you may already know about, but just in case you haven’t already seen it, Fr. Ripperger did a 3-part video series about Generational Spirits. I haven’t watched it yet, literally just found it a moment ago. Hope something in there helps. :)

      Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OVhMBuhFo8
      Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1NZovyfad0
      Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nn9YFrEV_vI

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      1. Oh Wow!! So sorry — Just saw this!! Thx, Lee, will watch!!! My friend is coming over today & will tell her about this, too (she’s the one who relayed that her parish priest had called such a matter scape goating.) Can’t wait to let her know about Fr. Ripperger addressing this issue via video & can’t wait to watch! Many, MANY thanks!!

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  2. Chris Topher

    My grandmother was born in 1913 and orphaned (mother to Spanish Flu father to an industrial accident). She lived through the Great Depression and WWII. In 2014 I got to visit the Parish (since closed) where she was baptized and got to touch the Font. I think a lot of our parents and grandparents from that era carried a bit of sadness throughout their lives. There are pictures of her where even though she’s smiling it seems like her face is full of sadness, especially her eyes. But they taught us something, there’s something greater than ourselves, and our pain, and the evil in this world. It’s something that the Adversary wants us to forget when they tell us they are tired of our thoughts and prayers. They taught us to remain rooted in the One who opened his arms on the cross to carry our burdens and pain. He didn’t promise it would be easy, and these days I know it. He did promise us that if we persevered and finished the race that we would win no Earthly laurel. God Bless your Grandmother and Mother. Thanks for passing on a little reminder that our ancestors sacrificed not just to give us a better life, but so that we would know where and to Whom we should turn whether times are good or bad. I hope they’re all up there praying for us until the day we see them again. God Bless!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I just realized, while I was tweeting the link to this post, that my mom was born just 7 years before the Great Depression began, and her mother’s murder took place when my mom was 7, so it was the same year. I don’t recall ever realizing that before. Dang, how could I miss that all this time?

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