"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main." John Donne
The purpose of these pages is to share with you my thoughts, feelings, beliefs, my ideas, my life. This is only a small part of who I am because you know yourself through other persons, the people you live with, dialogue with, re-create with; God, parents, spouse, children, parents, brothers, sisters, family, , strangers. The people that I am interconnected with, play a major role in my life. The person that I am becoming is who will transcend to the next life.
You have heard the saying: "No man is an island". Thomas Merton speaks of prayer in this way, we are all joined together, you can't save yourself by yourself, you need a community. Jesus says: "Where two or more are gathered, I am with you". Jesus formed His community of disciples and gave us His spirit and challenged us to: "Love one another as He loves us".
We are all on this journey together, we need to be interdependent with one another. We live in a global village. We need community to see where we are and where we are going, together to co-create with God a place to live in peace and harmony and build a better world in the millennium, of peace and justice for all people.
I believe this can only happen one person at a time but with purpose and belief. The "road less traveled" is a narrow road, "follow your bliss" as Joseph Campbell was so fond of saying, these are a few good concepts to live by, The Dalai Lama who is a witness of compassion as were Gandhi and Mother Theresa. These people one at a time made a difference. So many were liberated by their acts of love. In listening to our inner voice and to one another, we realize that we are all called to be wherever we are, young and old, whatever situation we find ourselves in, we can find the courage to be caring, to act with love and compassion, first to ourselves and than by reaching out to one another.
Let us dialogue together as we continue on life's journey. " I am a small voice in a loud world".
Jackie (Richer) St. Hilaire
Christ is Counting on You
Written in 2005
by Jackie St. Hilaire
Jacqueline Marie Richer Born May 23, 1942
Mother Rita Marineau
Born May 29, 1920-Deceased June 19, 2001
Father Alfred Richer
Born January 12, 1920-Deceased Dec. 21, 1944
Step-Father Marcel J. Lesmerises
Born July 8, 1920-Deceased Oct. 22, 1973
Brother Edward Alfred born Jan. 5, 1945
Brother Gerald born Jan. 10, 1947-Deceased Nov.4, 2003
Brother Donald born July 2, 1948
Sister Suzanne born July 29, 1950
Sister Constance born June 21, 1956
Sister Judith born November 24, 1957
Brother Robert born April 19, 1961
Married August 12, 1961 to Richard St.Hilaire
Born Nov. 6, 1940-Deceased Sept. 27, 2012
Daughter- Donna Marie born June 9, 1963
Married June 1, 1991 to David DesRuisseaux
Granddaughter Rachel born Sept. 25, 1995
Grandson Ryan born March 24, 1997
Grandson Eric born October 22, 2002
Daughter- Joanne born Oct. 28, 1964
Married August 8, 1987 to Michael Towle
Grandson Jacob born March 5, 1997
Granddaughter Mikayla born Sept. 29, 2000
Grandson Caleb born March 5, 2003
Daughter- Lisa born July 25, 1972
Married to Dennis Weiners-October 11, 2003
Grandson Alec born November 3, 2005
Granddaughter Cassandra (Cassie) born August 8, 2008
August 2009 50th Wedding Anniversary August 2011 Christmas 2012
My mother Rita and father Alfred married in 1941 on Labor Day. They were both 21 years old from French-Canadian descent, genealogy search to the 1600's. My mother's father Alfred was a farmer and carpenter, her mother Marie(Beland) a homemaker. They had 4 children. My father's father Edouard worked in shoe shops and his mother Evangeline(Boisvert) was a homemaker. By the time my grandmother Evangeline was 30 years old she had born 8 children.
Both families were devote Catholics. In combining both immediate families there were 3 religious and 1 priest. My father Alfred, also went to a seminary in Canada and proceeded to Boneventure College to study philosophy. He was sponsored by his uncle Wilfrid Richer also a priest. Realizing that this was not his vocation he left his studies, came back to NH, found a trade that was profitable and worked as a meat cutter.
Both my parents were raised in a very caring environment with good work ethics and many siblings to share their time. They were both educated in Catholic schools and high school graduates. Family life was the #1 priority as was religion, work, school. Bicycles were the main transportation, not many had cars, walking was the way to get to places and sometimes buses. No TV's, radio, playing games and sports with friends everyday was the norm. Lots of swimming in the summer, ice skating and sledding in the winter.
My mother and father married after a few years of courting and I was a honeymoon baby. In 1941 war was declared and my father tried to enlist in the Army but was declined twice. As the war accelerated more people were drafted and my father got his papers in Nov. 1943. After basic training and before he was shipped overseas, he spent a few days with my mother in NY in April of 1944. He came home on furlow in June and that was to be the last time anyone saw him alive.
He fought many battles, received several awards but died at the Battle of the Bulge on Dec. 21, 1944, he was 23 years old, I was 2 1/2 and my mother was ready to give birth to my brother, Edward. (See the last letter he wrote to his mother and father in my Peace & Justice page).
The dreadful telegram came the night my mother left for the hospital to deliver their second child but the telegram was intercepted by her father. Our family lived on the 3rd floor apartment that my grandparents Alfred and Marie owned. All papers and radios were removed from her sight and visitors were cautioned not to speak about the incident until her doctor gave permission. She received the news from Uncle Wilfrid, a few days after giving birth. When my mother was well enough they had a memorial service for my father but the body was buried in Henri-Chapelle in Belgium.
Around that same time a young marine (Marcel Lesmerises) was fighting in the Pacific and had heard the news about my father. Marcel and my mother had previously dated and he told his comrades " When I go back to the states, I'm going to marry a widow with 2 children". True to his word he married my mother on April 22, 1946. I was 4 years old but really don't remember any of these events.
Marcel and Rita had a son. Gerald on Jan. 10, 1947 and when she was pregnant with my brother Donald (born July 2, 1948), my parents received the news that my father's parents were having their son Alfred's' body shipped back to the US. What must have gone through my parents mind, this had to be devastating news to go through all this again and pregnant with another's man's child.
My father's body was the first one to come back to NH and it made the headlines in the newspaper. A 3 day wake and a full military funeral once again but this time with his parents in the front rows. Our family was placed in back of the parents and siblings. It had to be hard on all sides of the family for the parents to make this decision. My grandmother Evangeline was a very wise woman and I'm sure she weighed all the possibilities but her heart won over and my father Alfred was buried in the family plot where he now rests with his parents, his grandparents, his brother Maurice and his Uncle Wilfrid. "May they all rest in the peace of the Risen Christ".
In 1950 my parents built a home, a nice 4 bedroom cape and we were living a very comfortable lifestyle. By 1957 I had 5 more siblings, a total of 7 children, in this close knit family. These were the best of times, I had lots of friends, nice home, nice car, a part time job after school, I had good grades in high school, a boyfriend, went to dances, parties, I was on top of the world. My mom, was a stay at home mom, my dad a fireman and he also did some construction work on the side.
In the summer of 1958 we went on a family vacation . My parents had gone the winter before. When we came back it was decided that we were moving to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I was devastated, leaving my boyfriend (Dick), all my friends, my school and our nice home and neighborhood. We arrived in October and I started my Junior year at Central Catholic High School (now St. Thomas Aquinas High School) graduated in the Class of 1960. We wore uniforms, so you wouldn't be able to distinguish the rich from the not so well off. Well, it just didn't work, many were from very well to do families, and nobody from a family of nine people. I really did not feel very comfortable at this school. I did have a few people who reached out to me, thank God and they were nice enough but I still was not comfortable with this new group. It just was not my lifestyle. We were a down to earth kind of family and somehow we ended up living in this beautiful community park that was a little beyond our living standards. My folks had gotten a real good deal on the house, because the people were anxious to get back north. The house had 2 bathrooms all ceramic tile, 3 bedrooms, a large living room, Florida room with jalousie windows and beautiful pink kitchen with matching appliances and a mud room and carport. It was luxurious but my parents couldn't really afford to buy all the furniture that this house needed and to this day I don't think this was the best place for our family.
Nevertheless, I finished high school, grades dropped from A's & B's to C's. I wasn't much interested in school, I missed my boyfriend (Dick) and all my other friends and relatives. I started business college but this wasn't that exciting and my parent's told me I could go back to NH if I wanted. I left Florida in October 1960, I was 18 years old and my mom was pregnant. I felt awful leaving everyone, especially mom but NH looked awfully good to me at this time. I had made plans to leave by train because I had a fear of flying. Dick was suppose to meet me in Boston but he never called me to confirm that he would be picking me up and I was a little annoyed and decided to call him. I was in for devastating news, Dick's mom had passed away unexpectedly and the funeral was to be the morning after I got to NH. My Uncle Ben asked one of his friends to pick me up in Boston. It was a very unpleasant trip, with switching trains in New York's Grand Central Station with my Hi-Fi record player in hand. I got to NH after the wake was over and Dick came to see me at Uncle Ben's where I was staying. This was a very intimate moment for us, we hadn't seen one another for a few months and his mother, dead at the age of 63.
After the funeral etc., I stayed with Dick's brother Armand and his family. Later I found a job as a dental assistant and a few months after moved on the 3rd floor apartment that my grandmother owned and sublet it from my great aunt Laura.
Dick and I were married August 12, 1961. This day is the same day that the Berlin Wall was built. On our ride home from our honeymoon, we found out that Dick was going to be activated in the Air National Guards. This meant he would not be able to hold down his meat cutting job. I got pregnant right away and on Easter 1962, being only 7 months pregnant I gave birth to Linda who was stillborn. It was a grueling experience, not knowing what was going on, I was only 19 and things happened so fast, I didn't really take much time to mourn. In a way it was a blessing because she was born deformed and also a few months later I had to have an emergency appendectomy. I did get pregnant soon afterwards and delivered a perfectly healthy beautiful baby girl named Donna on June 9, 1963.
A few months later on Dec. 8th, I miscarried and almost hemorrhaged to death, we called my sister Susie and poor her she was a bit scared with all the commotion and the trail of blood that I left behind. To this day I truly believe that Mary on the feast of The Immaculate Conception interceded for me and my family and brought me back to full recovery.
On March 10, 1964, my beloved grandmother Marineau died after much suffering. She had diabetes and already had one leg amputated and had had surgery on her remaining leg but died of a heart attack. Memere Marineau was a very docile woman with a nature of warmth and long suffering. She was easy going and not much bothered her, she was at peace with herself and accepted her illness in a very redemptive manner. At that time I was having some female complications and a few days after the funeral I went into the hospital for a D&C. When I woke up, I was told that I was 3 months pregnant and needed to take hormone shots and bed rest. I was in shock, complete bed rest and a toddler in the house. I did manage to take the doctors advice and thanks be to God, delivered a perfectly healthy baby girl on Oct. 28, 1964 and we named her Joanne.
I had 2 more miscarriages after this and lo and behold in 1972 I was pregnant again and delivered our beautiful, Lisa on July 25, 1972 with no complications. Well, almost, in the last 2 weeks my doctor put me on complete bed rest.
The 60's were very difficult years for me emotionally and physically. If I wasn't pregnant, I was dieting, my metabolism was and still is to this day a mess. I am still having a hard time with my weight and have been on so many diets that I have come to the conclusion that there is more to life than dieting. I have put dieting on the back burner and I'm trying to concentrate on my inner self because I firmly believe that is where the answer is to living a holistic life. Diets don't work unless you are forever working at it and then it becomes an obsession, that's all you think about and you are even afraid to eat, especially with others, except maybe your immediate family but even then you are thinking what are they thinking of your food choices etc. It's a tangled web. Our society is so weight conscious that we forget to look for the deeper meaning of our reality and to continue this vicious cycle will kill the spirit. I pray to do the best I can with each day and to concentrate on the goodness of my being. God doesn't make junk. Just junk food, just kidding....
In the 60's I was a stay at home mom and worked part-time at night and some weekends and Dick was and still is a meat cutter just like my father Alfred and dad Marcel. History does seem to repeat itself.
In October 1973 my dad Marcel died of cardiac arrest after years of abusing alcohol and prescribed drugs. He was 53. In 1972 he received a full medical disability from the government because his doctors gave proof that his mental disability was caused by post war trauma. This is certainly one of the major causes, no person can ever be the same after engaging in war and killing another human being. I was 30 years old and lost 2 fathers to this war. At the time of my dad's death, he was separated from my mom. His drinking and abuse caused her to ask him to leave. This was a very difficult time for the family especially for my mom and my teenage sisters, Connie & Judy and brother Bob who was 12. My dad and I were not speaking to each other because I had been the person my mom reached out to for help and we took her away so she could find the strength to go through these terrible times. So at the time of his death we were not in relationship. I can still remember at his wake thinking to myself "why wasn't his family enough for him to want to go on living" "why did he attempt suicide" why? why?
In 1974 Dick and I after much coaxing from my end experienced a Marriage Encounter Weekend. We had been married 13 years. This was an intense 44 hr. weekend with a team of 3 married couples and a priest. We heard talks, dialogue with each other in the privacy of our rooms and became reacquainted with our deeper selves, one another and our Church. It is hard to put into words what this weekend meant to us both, but it changed our reality and gave Dick and I a new direction. I have to admit that before this time, we were pretty much living a materialistic lifestyle and didn't really think much of other people's needs besides our children and immediate family. We did give much support to my side of the family, when my dad and mom were going through some terrible times. I guess we did the best we could with what we knew at the time. But this experience opened many horizons, many challenges, many needs in this global world we lived in, we wanted our family to be part of making a difference, to make this world a better place for us and for all humankind.
On the Friday following the Marriage Encounter weekend, Memorial Day Weekend, I put our 2 year Lisa down for a nap and still being tired from the week following our experience, I took a nap around 1:30 in the afternoon before going to work at 5:30 PM. Before falling asleep I asked myself why my step-dad Marcel (who died in October 1973) was so disillusioned with life and gave up on himself and the ones who loved him.? At precisely 2:55 PM, 5 minutes before Donna and Joanne were scheduled to get home from school, I had the following experience. The answer came from deep deep inside of me. My dad was hurting because no one chose to understand and listen to his feelings, his believes, his thoughts, no one really gave to him the understanding that he needed. Also within me the awareness that hurt is a very self-centered emotion and if you let go of hurt, love can grow again. Seconds after this knowledge came to me, I experienced a great love from my step-dad Marcel (died in 1973), followed by the same great love from my father Alfred (died in 1944) and than a tremendous overwhelming love from God, my Father. Arms enveloping me all three together as one being.
Having been terribly afraid of death and not believing that I was good enough to receive eternal life, this experience gave me the answer to the question of life after life. At that same moment I was lifted above the couch, saw my non-moving body on the couch, saw my funeral procession with my children, husband and tried to get up from the couch and could not until I truly believed that if I let go of my self-centeredness I would be free. I immediately remembered that Lisa was napping and told myself that I needed to come back to take care of her. I came to just enough to notice that it was 2:55 p. m. When Donna and Joanne came home I was overwhelmed, my uncle Fern, unexpectedly came to see me, and I explained what happened, he told me that he had had a similar experience. Hearing him tell his story helped a little but after he left I called Dick and told him I was dying and to come straight home.
It took many years and numerous other dream-vision experiences for me to settle in a routine again with my family. Crossing over to the other side is very overwhelming, I am not the same person, my values, beliefs were almost turned upside down. Much that was important to me before took a different place in my life, like keeping the house spic and span, I was a bit of a neat freak but that took a back seat. My relationships took more meaning, especially my husband, children, my mom. I didn't care as much about what would people say if my house wasn't up to par, or if I didn't have the latest fashions or car. Owning a house wasn't that important and keeping up with the neighbors etc.
Dick and I took more risks and in 1975 bought a religious bookstore and turned it into a pretty nice bookstore that grew leaps and bounds. Even after we second mortgaged our home it was a chance that we wanted to take to keep the bookstore open. Unfortunately, we closed the bookstore in 1989 after 14 years because we just didn't have the capital to keep on going.
The 14 years were filled with much work, challenges and many friendships. It brought our family close, we all worked together and shared many stories. We miss this the most but the stress of it all, the unknowing of what was to become of it all, our family, our jobs, the economy, it was just too much of an undertaking, the numerous debts that we incurred, we held on too tight and too long. We became disillusioned, hurt and somewhat withdrawn. We gave of our substance and it that was not enough. Since closing the doors of the book shop, we have been going through a healing process, we try to let go of the hurt, the failure but it comes back, not as strong but still there in the depths of our beings. We share our story with close friends and this is comforting, sometimes we take 2 steps forward, and sometimes 1 step backward but we try to stay on the journey and not give in to hopelessness. We are slowly coming back to the realization that we can still make a difference, even if it's just smiling, listening and being there when needed.
During the family business years Dick experience some physical setbacks. In 1981 at the age of 41 Dick had a devastating heart attack the week of Donna's high school graduation. We were very lucky that he survived and he had a good outlook on life and was determined to jump back into work. Just before Christmas he experienced another smaller attack and in Jan. 1982 he had a triple by-pass. This was a fairly new procedure and the team of 6 doctors at Dartmouth Medical were wonderful. He recovered quickly and came back to the bookstore part time. I stopped smoking in 1981, never to touch another cigarette again.
After going through this experience with Dick and taking seminars, smoking was first on the list of heart attacks.
In 1993 Dick had recurring angina and they did another bypass this time redoing the 3 plus 2 others. The doctors explained that after 11 1/2 years, Dick had been pretty lucky. This time he was 53, it took a little more time to recover, but he is a trooper and never got depressed and rose above it all once again. He certainly had much faith in the team of doctors and nurses to get him through and his positive attitude and family by his side was a big factor in promoting healing.
In 1995 I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. On a routine mammogram a small pea size lesion was seen and my doctor didn't think it would be malignant but 2 days after my 53rd birthday I found out that I would need a lumpectomy or mastectomy and probably radiation and chemo. I chose the lumpectomy and they also removed 19 lymph nodes and 2 were positive, so I had to have chemo and radiation. Breast cancer is not in my family history. Being the first one on both sides of the family has made everyone aware that this is a possibility. I joined a breast cancer support group and realized that this disease can hit young woman in their 20's and 30's. I have heard many many sad stories at these meetings. Some have lost their jobs, their husbands have left them. Some have to leave their children with family while they are going through therapy because they are so sick. Myself, I was able to keep on working through it all. Some fatigue and heartburn and nausea but I had just started a new job and didn't want to take too much time off. When I had used up all my sick time, my co-workers got together and gave me a total of 25 more sick days from their own time. I was very fortunate to have the support from my husband, children, family, friends and co-workers. I work as a support person in youth ministry office of the Diocese of Manchester, so I had more than my share of prayers, flowers and good wishes. I was told that my job would always be there no matter how much time off I had to take. This is very affirming and certainly helped my recovery. I am not out of the woods yet, I have had a total of 4 lumpectomies. All my mammograms are very hard to read and it is very stressful to have to wait all this out, the doctors are always concerned when they are reading my reports and are careful not to misinterpret. I am a 23 year breast cancer survivor but I think about it almost everyday that the next time could be malignant again and of course it could also metastasize in other areas, that is never far away from my thinking. People think that I am brave and that I have a lot of faith but I am a firm believer that grace is given to you at the moment that you need it if you are willing to let go and let it in. I know the Risen Christ will lead me through the shadow of death. He has gone before me to prepare a place. A new heaven, where I will be with the people I love.
2 COR 5:17 So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.
JN 14:2 In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
JN 14:3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.
On September 25, 1995, our daughter Donna delivered our first grandchild, and she was named Rachel. What a delight to have some good enter my life once again. I was still on chemo and I remember entering the hospital to visit our new granddaughter and women in my breast support group entered the elevator. I was so thrilled to tell them that tonight I was visiting my new granddaughter and not going to the support group. I would like to share some thoughts on the suppport group that I belonged to at that time. Most of the time, it was a bit overwhelming to hear all these stories,I sometimes felt uneasy and judged that my condition was not as serious as the others. They seemed to have gone through much more, losing their hair, not being able to work, having to leave their children with others, during recovery. Some were much younger, in their 20's-30's, husband's and boy friends left them, some employees were jealous of all the time they spent at appointments (and there are many appointments, oncologist, radiologist, primary doctor, surgeons and tests, tests, tests.) You really start losing your identity, it seems the medical profession takes over your life and you are not the captain of your own ship. I struggled with this and decided after six months of support group I had to get back to reality of living my life. Don't get me wrong, it was very well worth attending but after awhile it was depressing, especially listening to some women who had recurring breast cancer after 5, 10 years. Some of them their 3rd recurrences. I was not ready to hear this sort of sharing it was too soon to deal with these possibilities.
In March of 1997 Joanne and Donna delivered beautiful boys, Jacob and Ryan born 19 days apart. So, Dick and I finally had some boys to spend our energies on. They are such a delight. It's wonderful to see both of them playing and communicating with each other. I truly hope that they will stay close and grow together. It is so important to keep family ties, to keep them strong and to be there for one another. Dick and I do quite a bit of babysitting, it is wonderful and it really gives you a good perspective on life. To be given the chance to get involved in their lives is a wonderful gift that I cherish. One of my favorite quotes these days is: "Grandchildren are God's way of giving you a second chance".
At this same time in March of 1997, my mom, Rita was having some difficulties with her medicines and she spent 1 month in the hospital being evaluated. It was hard to see mom go through the tests, at times she was a bit reluctant about the whole process but she was a trouper and the doctor was able to adjust all her medications and she was sent home. Luckily she lives upstairs from my sister Judy, so she was able to go home with no problems. Judy saw to it that she took the proper medicines. My mom, who will turn 81 in May of 2001, is doing pretty good these days, except for her legs hurting, and not being as fast as before (who is?) she still gets around by using a cane to walk. She bought herself a computer in December of 1999 and she likes it. With a little bit of training she will be able to enjoy the full benefits of email, internet, games etc. I think it's great that she has found something to do with her time. I would love to have some of that time to do stuff on my computer. Mom died on June 19. 2001 after a major stroke. (It's now 2018 and I have time now. I'm 75 years old and living upstairs from Donna, Dave & Family. I do Hospice volunteer work, sing in a choir and help the dying write their life story. Go to the YMCA 3x a week for water aerobics and for the past 4 month Tai Chi.)
(2000 )My sister Judy and her family are in the process of adopting a baby from China. This is quite a venture and allot of "red tape". The Chinese government does not make it easy for anyone to adopt. It's double jeopardy the way these children are victimized. Not only are they abandoned by their mother, their government holds all the power. There are so many who want to adopt, why do they make it so complicated? Judy, Tom, Matthew and Katie, you have our prayers and support, God bless all of you as you await the news of your new sister/brother.
Adopted from China came to us on Christmas Day 2000.
Marie Jeannine Robert
Adopted from Vietnam came to us in August 2001.
" Be still and know that I AM"
In this noisy world we live in, where production seems to be foremost on people's mind, especially in our American culture, one must find time to be alone in solitude in order to save one's soul. Living from the center of your being gives you more energy to concentrate on the task(s) before us. One day at a time, one thought at a time, one moment at a time. That is all we have the present moment.
Meditation and centering oneself is the act of being present at all times, it is praying without ceasing. If I am diligent and pay close attention to my surroundings it is amazing how I can go about my daily work, answer the telephone, greet visitors, do physical work and still be able to stay centered. It is an art that at first seems fruitless but the more I practice and see the results the more I find peace of mind and soul. At times one needs to find a solitary place and leave all this behind. To go to the top of the mountain get renewed, refocused and come back down to take on my responsibilities.
MK 3:13 He went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him.
MK 9:2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them,
LK 6:12 In those days he departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God.
by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!
Spirit, Mind and Body
"To be or not to be"?
To me this is the most important reality of my being, not to forget that spirit, mind and body are equal to one another in living my life to its fullest.
I have been doing much work in establishing the right relationship with the three parts of myself. Integrating spirit, mind and body has been my life's journey especially since 1974 after I had a life changing experience. I will say more on this in the Dreams & Visions, and Life after Life pages.
Having been raised in a strict French-Catholic family, I was brought up to listen to my parents, the church and my teachers. I pretty much relied on them to show me the way to live my life, I respected there beliefs and went on my journey (their journey) not realizing that I was not becoming my own person. What was happening inside myself, was not being expressed on the outside.
My upbringing was middle class, I had nothing lacking and much more than most, even though I was the oldest of 8 children. The teachers didn't believe that I came from a large family. My dad was a fireman and worked a second job, my mom a homemaker. We had the first TV on the block, a new car, new house in a nice neighborhood, all this by the early 1950's. I had lots of girlfriends and my share of boyfriends, I went to lots of dances and parties.
In 1958, I came down off my ivory tower, when my parents announced we were moving to Florida. This was one of the worst times in my life, a junior in high school leaving a boyfriend, girlfriends a nice school and starting over. My world came crushing down. I had to start all over and I didn't want to, I became depressed and this is when I started to gain weight. In those days kids didn't express their feelings and you also didn't give your opinion, not at 16, you just followed your family.
This would have been a good time in my life to start really listening to myself and what was going on inside me, instead of repressing it all. Many changes were going on inside of me and outside of me, it was all overwhelming. My grades went from As & B's to C's and I didn't care. If I had been more open about it all to my parents, boyfriend, friends, etc., I would have come out of the depression faster.
Even now in my 70's it still hurts.
After graduating from high school in 1960, I came back to NH, married my high school sweetheart, Dick and lived happily ...not quite. Reality set in quick. The Berlin Wall went up on Aug. 12, 1961 the day we were married. On our way home on our honeymoon, we heard on the radio that Dick was being activated in the Air National Guard. This meant no full time job and living off the government.
I had a job as a dental assistant but got pregnant right away, only to lose our baby girl when I was 7 months along, on Easter morning in 1962. Linda was stillborn. I was 19 years old.
In 1963 we had a daughter which we named Donna, 6 months later I almost hemorrhaged to death from a miscarriage. In 1964, I went to the hospital for a D & C and woke up with a nurse telling me that I was 3 months pregnant, I was put on hormones and bed rest for most of the pregnancy but delivered a perfectly healthy girl, whom we named Joanne.
In 1965 & 1969 two more miscarriages and in 1972 I delivered a beautiful baby girl and we named her Lisa.
Needless to say during all those years, my body and my emotions were in shock, if I wasn't pregnant I was dieting, my body never had a chance to recover. I have been on so many diets and am know a firm believer in the non-diet approach to living. During this time I never really took good care of myself and to this day have a hard time being for myself, I have a lot of caring to give myself.
I believe it is time to give to myself after all these years of giving to others. I have come to realize that you can't give what you don't have and that I have to love myself first to be able to love others. I try not to feel guilty and enjoy a day off with the grand kids or a Sunday doing nothing and taking a nap. I love to read and this keeps my mind growing.
The inner spiritual being that I have become still hasn't been realized on the outside as much as I would like to express myself. I try to live in a charitable way and not lose it but I am a bit of a prophet and rock the boat in conversation, especially challenging other peoples belief system. I try to do it in a gentle way but at times I have been known to be outspoken but somewhat prophetic.
I do consider myself a mystic-prophet and know that the Spirit of God has spoken many times through my words.
Matthew Fox gives this interpretation of a mystic-prophet: mystic i.e born full of wonder/ prophet: i.e mystic in action, called to interfere with what interrupts authentic life.
Dreams and Visions
"The young shall have dreams and the old shall have visions"
I have seriously been paying attention to my dreams since 1972. You can read a few of my most significant dreams in the Life after Life page.
I keep a journal of my life changing dreams. I will share with you some of my entries.
What usually happens is that if you don't get the message from your first dream, it will come back several times (usually 3 x) until you have dealt with it in your life experience.
Sometimes I am not as opened to hearing a message, at times in my life I am too busy with mundane things and totally neglect this wonderful gift of dreams and the unconscious. I have to remember that events come and go but my inner being will always be there with me and that I have to give it attention or my life will get chaotic and I will lose the peace in my soul. This is not a good way to live, it causes problems, I get negative, my expectations of others rises and it is not good all around. I get agitated, lose control and make demands of others, it is not pretty to watch myself go down this path. Thank God, I have a very understanding husband ( died in 2012) and after awhile when I get exhausted from acting out this way, we have a good laugh. At least, most of the time, I am aware of what I am doing, even if I am acting against my better nature. I realize that I will have to pay for the consequences of my actions.
Dreams are: The Other Side of Silence, a safe way to get to your unconscious. Most of the time a dream will only take you as far as you want to go with your inner life and will not push you beyond your limits. If you are a believer that God sends you the dreams to help you grow, than you can believe that God does not go where He is not invited. Also, He will give you the interpretation if you are prepared to accept it.
You do not have to have degrees and read tons of books on dreams to get the meaning. Why would God give you a dream without the interpretation, He really does not want to complicate my life with too many symbols, the unconscious will use symbols from my own past experiences.
The bible is full of stories on dreams and interpretation ACTS 2:17/MT 2:13 /MT 1:20 /DAN 5:12/ DAN 1:17/ISA 29:7/WISDOM 18:19/ ESTH A:11 /1KGS 3:15/NUM 12:6/ GEN 40: 5-16/ GEN 41:22-32/GEN 37:5 20
I was in a classroom, the only adult in a class, mostly young men, like a seminary. A priest was observing the class. The teacher was a woman. When I arrived, she cautiously looked me over. I was anxious to begin the class, I had sort of read the book that we would be discussing. It was written by Pope John Paul II. I was most interested in seeing her views on this book and also expressing mine. Before we began, I looked around and noticed the class was dressed conservatively, I thought to myself that's too bad, this class might reaffirm their already conservative viewpoint. All at once the teacher, in front of everyone, tells me that she did not want me in her class, she judged that I would interfere with her teachings, etc. I was asked to leave. I was a little annoyed and started to put all my things away, I could hear in the background, buzzing etc., the priest was appalled, he could not believe what was happening.
Collective interpretation: If I am not secure in my belief system, it will come out in many ways. The teacher, showed her students that she was afraid of controversy. Which only makes her look insecure. The students are already sizing up the situation and will be aware throughout this class, that there is more to this then meets the eye. The teacher by getting rid of the student actually is bringing on the conflict to a head start.
Personal interpretation: If I am afraid to express and dialogue about my convictions, it is because I am not grounded enough. Rooted in what truth has been given to me. I have to stand on faith that what was revealed to me is the truth. Jesus is my teacher. He is Truth.
Scene 1: Swimming in a large pool with Dick. Lisa was about 4 years old, she was doing okay at the edge of the pool. Letting go and floating on her back & staying on top of the water. All of a sudden she went under and I rushed to pull her on top, gave her some hard pats in the back and she was breathing again.
Scene 2: Dick & I were on vacation. All of a sudden there were all kinds of disasters surrounding us on all sides. Fire on both sides of us, a train above us also caught on fire. People were diving in the water, the water level was rising and did not look like it was going to stop. Dick wanted to get to a phone booth to call his brother Ralph, to tell him how bad things were, I taught that this was foolish because we were wasting precious time. He got off the phone, in the meantime I was trying to keep an eye on our little boy. Other people found him and put him up on a statue, he loved it, overlooking all the events. We took him down, and all started to swim for our lives. The boy had yellow trunks on and started to go under, while Dick was not watching. Dick went after him, as I watched, both of them went under, I started to search for them but knew it was almost impossible. All of a sudden a little girt bit my leg, she wanted some attention. I went under to get her and brought her to the surface. When I got up to the surface, there were a number of little girls around, to be rescued, I found some life boats, I put all of them on, the storm was over and we all proceeded to the shore.
Scene 3: I was on a couch, I was getting fatter. I started to sit down and noticed a little girl under me.
Personal interpretation: If I do not start coming to gripes with the child inside myself, and letting go and be more spontaneous, I will bury myself and die.
Scene 1: Aunt Madeleine, moms sister is at a kitchen table and very somber waiting for news about my moms approaching death. Mom appears jubilant and vibrant looking 30 years old, nice wavy black hair, slim and dressed in a pantsuit, she is standing on the table and dancing. Next to her is Mary and they both ascend above and disappear. The next day there are a few priest standing around an altar talking and they greet my mom and Mary very joyfully. Than they all ascend upwards.
Scene 2: I see my mom in a casket but her old body stays there but a newer, younger body hovers over the casket.
Personal interpretation: Mom has been somewhat depressed and is slowly aging, especially in the last year since her small strokes and broken hip and operation, she is not very happy. She is probably starting to let go of life and wants to leave us. She has always been somewhat of an introvert so its easier for her to let go of this life, but the next is a mystery to her and its always easier to live what you know than what you do not know. We, the family have to be prepared she is 75 years old. We had some good years together and its hard to see her down and immobile and not doing much or enjoying life.
(Mom died in 2001 of a major stroke.)
I am told by my sub-conscious to regress and go back to the time when my parents first found out about my forthcoming birth. I am about 2 1/2 years old and I am asking my father (Alfred) about how he felt about my birth. My father is young, short and thin
(I later found out through his military records 5 ft 5"-130 lbs) he is wearing a long sleeve white dress shirt with brown stripes and suspenders. My mom is sitting on a stool in the kitchen and she is her normal age of 76. My father explains that when he first found out my mother was pregnant, he was a little afraid that something (some illness) might hurt her and also he was concerned about the pain of giving birth.
Scene 2: My father is in the bathroom, I follow him, he starts to shave, he has not spoken to me for a little while and explains that he wants me to ponder the things he is going to say to me and than very quietly and softly spoken he utters the word "prophet". I touch the blade of the razor and it is full of cream.
Personal interpretation: This dream made me feel peaceful. I have never attempted to reach my father and this is the third time that "he" has broken into my dream world. The first in 1974, which was very traumatic. It is very good to know that there are many loved ones on the other side to make the transition from this world to the next more positive and peaceful. It certainly has made me much less afraid of death. I know that the "spirit" lives on, I know. Before I believed and now I know. Meister Eckhart defines prophet: " mystic in action called to interfere with what interrupts authentic life".
December 21, 2004
60th Anniversary of my father Alfred's death.
Woke up around 2:30 am and could not go back to sleep. Was thinking about many things, Christmas, Don and Jackie leaving NH, Gerry and Judy's passing, the family Christmas gathering at our home on Dec 19th, the kids playing in the new play room and the games that I had ready for them.
Very tired and need some renewal, asked the Lord for more strength and healing, always need more inner healing.
The following is a dream after I finally fell asleep around 5:15 am, after Dick left for work.
I was in a big hotel-casino type, like the one in Hollywood Florida, that we stayed in July 2004. I was alone and looking for a way out, I followed a crowd of people but the staff would not let us exit. I had to find another way out. I went into this room where there were sick people; I did not want to stay there. I just could not find a way out. I stumbled onto a grassy area with homes but was fenced in like barbed wire. The people there seemed to be mentally challenged and some very despondent, I started to find a way out but realized that once I was out, I would have to overcome one obstacle after another obstacle. I did not feel defeated but came to the realization that I would have to make the best of this situation and proceeded to help others who had gone through this same experience. I accepted my fate and had the courage to let go of my anxiety and turn my energy to others facing the same challenge.
Interpretation. Some parts of your life you can change and other parts you have to accept. Very much like the Serenity Prayer that mom always had close by. We are all pilgrims on a journey and things do not always go as we would like or as we had planned. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. We are all struggling and need healing and the best way to overcome being despondent is to literally turn the other cheek and look toward your neighbor who is struggling just as you are.
I can understand what Victor Frankl had to go through in the concentration camp during WWII, when his whole family had been killed and he was alive and found meaning in his own life that no one could take away from him, his spirit he would not relinquish and overcame the tragedy because of his understanding of the true meaning of his life and his family. No one can take this from you unless you give yourself to them. The choice is always ours. This is the true meaning of faith and hope and love.
Life after Life
"I have come so that you might have life eternal"
In July of 1972 I was 9 months pregnant and due anytime. The doctors were somewhat concerned because my blood pressure sky rocketed. I was put on bed rest and one evening I had a very potent dream. An angel appeared to me and said to me that all was going to be all right, that I would live.
At that time I interpreted this dream to mean that I would deliver the baby and that I would be all right. Lisa our third daughter was born very beautiful and full of good health.
But looking back several years later I realized the dream was telling me much more and that I would have eternal life, that I would survive even when I died. Being raised a Catholic, I believed in the Resurrection of Jesus but never really believed that I was good enough to resurrect with Jesus.
In 1974 after experiencing a very powerful Marriage Encounter weekend I had a dream-vision which changed my whole perspective on living. The 44-hour weekend was very enlightening, very moving, draining and most of all a significant moment in my life and my relationship with my husband, children, parents and the whole universe.
On the Friday following the Marriage Encounter weekend, Memorial Day Weekend, I put our 2 year Lisa down for a nap and still being tired from the week following our experience, I took a nap around 1:30 in the afternoon before going to work at 5:30 PM. Before falling asleep I asked myself why my step-dad Marcel (who died in October 1973) was so disillusioned with life and gave up on himself and the ones who loved him.?
At precisely 2:55 PM, 5 minutes before Donna and Joanne were scheduled to get home from school, I had the following experience. The answer came from deep deep inside of me. My dad was hurting because no one chose to understand and listen to his feelings, his believes, his thoughts, no one really gave to him the understanding that he needed. Also within me the awareness that hurt is a very self-centered emotion and if you let go of hurt, love can grow again. Seconds after this knowledge came to me, I experienced a great love from my step-dad Marcel (died in 1973), followed by the same great love from my father Alfred (died in 1944 in WWII, The Battle of the Bulge) and than a tremendous overwhelming love from God, my Father. Arms enveloping me all three together as one being.
Having been terribly afraid of death and not believing that I was good enough to receive eternal life, this experience gave me the answer to the question of life after life. At that same moment I was lifted above the couch, saw my non moving body on the couch, saw my funeral procession with my children, husband and tried to get up from the couch and could not until I truly believed that if I let go of my self-centeredness I would be free.
I immediately remembered that Lisa was napping and told myself that I needed to come back to take care of her. I came to just enough to notice that it was 2:55 p m. When Donna and Joanne came home I was overwhelmed.
My Uncle Fern, unexpectedly came to see me, and I explained what happened, he told me that he had had a similar experience. Hearing him tell his story helped a little but after he left I called Dick and told him I was dying and to come straight home.
It took many years and numerous other dream-vision experiences for me to settle in a routine again with my family. Crossing over to the other side is very overwhelming, I am not the same person, my values, beliefs were almost turned upside down. Much that was important to me before took a different place in my life, like keeping the house spic and span, I was a bit of a neat freak but that took a back seat. My relationships took more meaning, especially my husband, children, my mom. I didn't care as much about what would people say if my house was not up to par, or if I didn't have the latest fashions or car. Owning a house wasn't that important and keeping up with the neighbors etc.
I took more risks and took over a religious bookstore and turned it into a pretty nice bookstore that grew leaps and bounds. Even after we second mortgaged our home it was a chance that I wanted to take to keep the bookstore open. Unfortunately, we closed the bookstore after 14 years because we just didn't have the capital to keep on going.
After my near-death experience, I looked for answers and luckily I found some wonderful authors who had written on these experiences. One of the best from Carl Jung's own near-death experience. After the first experience, I had a few others but it was just too much, after awhile I was afraid to close my eyes and go to sleep, I asked God not to continue because I had to get back to life and start living again, people were counting on me, so the visions left.
A few years later they would come back but not has frequent and I could better assimilate the dream-visions into my life.
In 1981 Dick had two heart attacks and in 1982 by-pass surgery. It was a very stressful time in the life of our family. Donna just graduating from high school did not have her dad present and Joanne and especially Lisa were very afraid of their dad dying. Dick had a very determined mindset that he would beat this brush with death, and we were all given a second chance.
In 1993 Dick had angina and had to have the by-pass again, recovery was a little more difficult but he was a trooper and has a good outlook on life. Fortunately, for us he never went into depression but rose above it all, we are grateful for his faith and positive state of mind, it made it easier to go through these difficult times.
In May of 1995 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. People around were astonished at my rising above it all. Let me say that I was not afraid to die but still wanted to live, I had much to gain and everything to lose. Donna was pregnant with our first grandchild, Rachel who was born on Sept. 25, 1995, the apple of my eye. I had tremendous support at home, my children and my coworkers. I had started my new job in Jan. of 1995 and was determined not to take too much time off. I went through a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation. The chemo was the worst because of nausea and the breaking down of my immune system. I was not pleased with the chemo and opted for only 3 months instead of 6 months, overstepping all my doctors advice. This I did knowing the consequences but also believing that if you destroy the immune system and you need it to fight cancer, it was and still is a paradox.
Since 1983 our family has taken nutritional supplements and I believe that made all the difference going through these years of stress and physical duress. After numerous biopsies and close calls I am cancer free but the tension is there every time I have a mammogram. Being at peace is something I have to work at every day. My daily mantra is: Be still and know that I AM.
In July of 2012 Dick had his 3rd heart by pass surgery. It was a very difficult recovery. The medical staff couldn't believe that he pulled through. He came home Labor Day weekend and unexpectedly died on September 27, 2012. Our family lost a dear person and there is not one day that goes by without him being missed.
DEATH AS BIRTH
by Rev. Nelson Boucher
The most important moment of life is the moment of death.
For those alive with the life of God, death means birth to new life.
"For those who believe life is changed, not ended", claims the preface.
By dying "we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven."
Death is the traumatic experience of birthing to a new life.
There is no new life without a form of dying;
Whether it be on the physical, mental or spiritual level.
Jesus teaches that the grain of wheat must die for the sake of new life.
Physical death is leaving the human way of measuring time and space;
And entering into God's immeasurable NOW.
We are conceived in time by the co-creating action of parents and God.
We are delivered into God's hands at our last human breath.
Our parents provide the genes, God provides a spiritual breath.
The life given by parents will know death as does that of all creatures.
The breath provided by God will live eternally.
When we shed our body-home, a glorified body-home awaits us.
Paul attests that if we die with Christ, we will live with him.
For Paul, "to live is Christ and to die is gain". Phil. 1:21).
Symbolically, we were buried with Christ in the waters of baptism.
Effectively, we follow Christ through death to a new risen life.
God's plan is as beautiful as it is simple. It expresses His love.
God's breath has a way of outgrowing homes on it's way back to Him;
First, a mother's womb encompassing new life like a tabernacle;
Then, the male or female body-home until we are called back to God.
While in a mother's womb, a child cannot be cajoled to hurry birth.
While in our body-home not even Jesus can convince us of life beyond.
We have a natural fear of barriers and the greatest of these is death.
Yet it is good for the baby to be born; it is good for the believer to die.
Why do people fear the word "death" and the experience of dying?
Why expressions like, "expired" or "passed away" instead of "died"?
It is good for the breath of God to retrace its origin to the Breather.
It is good of us to follow Jesus in death as we followed him in life.
Breath in breath out. YAW WEH
Jesus the Christ
"I did not come to suffer all this pain in vain; but to give you a new heart to beat as mine"
In August of 1974 on our family vacation at Hampton Beach, I was strolling our 2 year old daughter Lisa on the boardwalk, when I sensed some footsteps in back of me, there were Jesus footsteps, I felt the warmth of his presence, it was very consoling. At this time I had had numerous spiritual experiences, especially on life after life, the near-death experience and I was feeling very vulnerable and still unsure of God's love, this experience at the beach was very comforting and again showed the truly amazing love of God.
On a Sunday afternoon in August of 1976, feeling somewhat despondent, I took a nap. I was burnt out what with running a business, ( The Messenger Book Shop) caring for our 3 daughters, ages 4-13, keeping our home running smoothly and teaching religious education in our parish, being involved in Marriage Encounter, it was just too much to juggle. I definitely had what you some people call, The Messiah Complex. I was going to change the world.
During this nap, Jesus engraved in my heart the following words, "I did not come to suffer all this pain in vain; but to give you a new heart to beat as mine". I awoke feeling the burden lifted but also aware that I still had plenty of growing to do in this area.
I had to come to grips with the fact that the only way to change the world was to change one person, myself. So simple, yet so hard to do. I realized that I could not be in control of all these peoples lives, my husband, children, church, mother etc. I had to let go and bring peace to a somewhat chaotic lifestyle. I was a doer and this forced me to look at why I was doing all these things. Some of it was self-worth, doing it for recognition, to be liked and be accepted.
I have not conquered all this 100% but I am more aware of others feelings, lives and try not to put my two cents in. It is hard not to give advice, opinions and to listen with the heart and compassion. Jesus came and gave his life to show us how to love one another. Letting go and letting others live their own lives and find their own destiny is hard, especially when you have children and you don't want them to make your mistakes. But they will learn as I have learnt to live with the choices that they make. I learned to trust and give my children back to their Creator. A great burden was lifted. I truly believe that you must start letting go of your children the moment they are born. A child is a gift not a possession, ( Kahil Gibran in the Prophet) Donna, Joanne and Lisa have grown into wonderful adults and I have to admire them for their independence, growth and the beautiful beings that they are becoming. To watch them with their own children is a gift of wonderment. They have bloomed where they were planted. To be a part of co-creating with God in this endeavor is a blessing and a privilege.
In April of 1992, I took a 2 month sabbatical to review my life and where I was going.
I had another significant encounter with Jesus in a dream. There was a room with a long table and two benches on each side, at the center of the table were two wine glasses. Facing me on the bench was Jesus, he had a tender look, he held my hands and I explained to him how I was feeling about myself, the church, that all my life I tried to love others but fell short, that at times I didn't really know the true meaning of love and made many mistakes in my relationship with others, he said nothing but continued to gaze at me in a compassionate way and embraced me. No words, no judging, no advice, no comments just a deep loving gaze of acceptance. His Divine Mercy.
There are no words to share this encounter, it is love, Gods unconditional love. To love one another as I have loved you, this is what Jesus asks of his disciples, his friends.
ONE SOLITARY LIFE
He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village, where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty. Then for three years he was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never traveled more than two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things one usually associates with greatness.
He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against him. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave.
Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today he is a central figure of the human race and leader of mankind's progress.
All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the kings that ever reigned have not affected the life of man as much as that One Solitary Life -
Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Footprints in the Sand
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."
He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."
Peace and Justice
The following is an excerpt from a book dedicated to my grandmother Evangeline, written in 1948 by my father Alfred's younger brother Maurice.
Nunc lento sonitu dicunt, Morieris.
Now this bell tolling softly for another, says to me, Thou must die.
by John Donne
Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that. The church is catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me, for that child is thereby connected to that head which is my head too, and ingrafted into that body whereof I am a member. And when she buries a man, that action concerns me. All mankind is of one author and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language, and every chapter must be so translated. God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another. As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come, so this bell calls us all; but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness. There was a contention as far as a suit (in which piety and dignity, religion and estimation, were mingled) which of the religious orders should ring to prayers first in the morning; and it was determined that they should ring first that rose earliest. If we understand aright the dignity of this bell that tolls for our evening prayer, we would be glad to make it ours by rising early, in that application, that it might be ours as well as his whose indeed it is. The bell doth toll for him that thinks it doth; and though it intermit again, yet from that minute that that occasion wrought upon him, he is united to God. Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises? But who takes off his eye from a comet when that breaks out? Who bends not his ear to any bell which upon any occasion rings? But who can remove it from that bell which is passing a piece of himself out of this world? No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. . . .
To her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren
The Family Tree
Notes taken from Rita's Journal
RITA MARINEAU RICHER LESMERISES
A Brief Biography of Rita's Life Journey
Rita Marineau (1920-2001) and Alfred Richer (1920-1944) were married in 1941 on Labor Day. They were both 21 years old from French-Canadian descent, genealogy search to the 1600's.
Rita's father Alfred (1886-1956) was a farmer and carpenter, her mother Marie Girard (1890-1964) a homemaker. They had 4 children.
Alfred's father Edouard worked in shoe shops and his mother Evangeline (Boisvert) was a homemaker and seamstress. By the time Evangeline was 30 years old she had given birth to 8 children.
Both families were devote Catholics. In combining both immediate families there were 3 religious and 1 priest. Alfred also went to a seminary in Canada and proceeded to Boneventure College in NY to study philosophy. He was sponsored by his uncle Wilfrid Richer also a priest. Alfred, realizing that this was not his vocation, left his studies, came back to NH, found a trade that was profitable and worked as a meat cutter.
In 1945, a young marine Marcel Lesmerises (1920-1973) was fighting in the Pacific had heard the news about Alfred's death.
Marcel and Rita had previously dated and he told his comrades that when he returned to the states, he was going to marry a widow with 2 children.
True to his words he married Rita on April 22, 1946.
Marcel and Rita had a son. Gerald on Jan. 10, 1947 and when she was pregnant with Donald (born July 2, 1948), Rita received the news that Alfred's parents were having their son Alfred's' body shipped back to the U.S. What must have gone through Rita's mind? This had to be devastating news to go through all this again and expecting a second child with Marcel.
Alfred's body was the first one to come back to NH and it made the headlines in the newspaper. A 3-day wake and a full military funeral once again but this time with his parents in the front rows. Rita and her family were placed in back of the parents and siblings.
It had to be hard for Alfred's parents to make this decision. Alfred's mother Evangeline was a very wise woman and I'm sure she weighed all the possibilities but her heart won over and her son Alfred was buried in the family plot where he now rests with his parents, his grandparents, his brother Maurice and his Uncle Wilfrid. "May they all rest in the peace of the Risen Christ".
Marcel was the son of Camille and Marie Louise (Leclerc) Lesmerises. Camille was a foreman at one of the shoe manufacturers at the Manchester Mills, Marie was a homemaker and seamstress. They had 8 children.
In 1950 Rita and Marcel built a home at 311 Reed Street, a nice 4 bedroom cape and were living a very comfortable lifestyle. By 1957 there were 5 more siblings, a total of 7 children, in this close knit family. These were the best of times, nice home, nice car, good friends, good times. Rita and Marcel went out almost every Saturday evening, oftentimes to the Carousel Ballroom with their many friends.
Rita was a stay at home mom, Marcel a Fireman and he also did some construction work and meat cutting.
In 1958 the family went on vacation to Florida. Rita and Marcel had gone the winter before with Memere Marineau. It was decided that we were moving to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
We were a down to earth kind of family and somehow we ended up living in this beautiful community Melrose Park that was a little beyond our living standards. Rita and Marcel had gotten a good price on the house, because the people were anxious to get back north. The house had 2 bathrooms all ceramic tile, 3 bedrooms, a large living room, divider planter to the Florida room with jalousie windows and beautiful pink kitchen with matching appliances and a mud room and carport. It was very luxurious.
Bob the youngest was born in Ft. Lauderdale on April 19, 1961
3588 SW 1st Street
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Additional notes written by Rita in February 1992
My earliest recollection was living on Dubuque Street, (near West High School) when my infant sister died at birth and they carried her in a small white coffin.
My father was working at Villa Augustina in Goffstown. My mother said as a baby I did not like milk too much.
Also on Dubuque Street, I remember my mom packing a lunch for me to eat probably in the yard, but having seen my father leave in the morning with a lunch box to go to work. I believe at the time he was employed at Amoskeag Mill, so I decided to leave the yard and go see him. You can imagine a three year old little girl leaving by myself. I believe I crossed the bridge. Mother called police and they returned me safe and sound.
Moved to Rimmon Street new 3 tenement brown house. I'm sure my parents loved their new home. It had a nice lot next door to play in, it seemed like white sand.
(Note by Jackie: The house was then sold to the Gravel family and after Dick & I were married, we parked our car in that big lot) (Mariyln & Julio Aramini bought the house later on and they sold it to their son, the whole family lives in the 3 apartment building. Julio died a few years ago.)
My mother let stray cats come on the porch and fed them, of course Dad didn't care to have them in the house.
I fell off the kitchen counter and broke my left arm. Doctor Larochelle came to the house to check it. I remember laying in my parents bed. Just strapped it with musk tape. Could not use my arm at all. Remember my father and I walked to Drs office to have it removed when time was right. I was pretty young and Dad said if I didnt cry, Id get an ice cream cone.
On hot summer days Dad or Mom would hose me down. I remember it being cold.
I was about 5 years old. Dad got scared with the economy and sold the new house. Sure Mother must have been very disappointed. I also remember a lady coming to take care of me when either Madeleine or Ben were born.
Our apartment at Grandparents Girard house 1st floor at 353 Dubuque Street was not too pretty but I had many friends and played a lot. Stayed there till 8th grade. Ste Marie School. On Dubuque Street roller skated in street on 4th of July was great, could stay outside in the evening and bought firecrackers at corner store Mr. Pelletier.
Played baseball, girls & boys in lot which is now Ste Marie parking. Was sand there plus houses on Amory Street.
My father had a small truck which he parked at Rimmon Street Garage. Always a thrill to bring it with him, sometimes got a 5 cents ice cream cone at corner store. Guess he must have started to be in business.
I remember my grandparents had company and I was allowed to go visit. But I had to be good.
One night a week they played cards with Aunt Laura & Uncle Maurice Hamel. Also probably, Aunt Corinne & Uncle Omer Hamel. Aunt Carmelia & Uncle Anselm Provost. All my mother's sisters. They seem to have so much fun.
Parents had out of town company once in awhile. Can't recall when but that little cottage in back had a couple who would sell liquor, prohibition, always dangerous to be caught. But they left and nice tenants came in. We had a big old swing in back. Yard not too nice to play in. Black dirt but house was well kept up. No mess
Summer going in 8th grade. Big move to 31 Quirin Street. It was a beautiful house, I remember my father sending me over to water the grass, of course at that age looking around where the boys were. Plenty of them but I guess one never finds a love near home. Pichette made a skating rink. What happy hours, especially permission to skate at night until 8:00-8:30 or so.
Passed some summers at Rimmon Pool, every single day swimming, friend by name of Therrien. Also still went out once in awhile with Misty Morin from Dubuque street. Simonne Savoie a bit, Cecile Soucy & Constance LeBlanc being my best High School pal.
Swimming at Rock Rimmon Pool in summer, went every day possible. Grade School 8th grade. Had a lot of fun, not much of a swimmer, afraid of depths.
Winter the Pichette''s on Rimmon Street made a skating rink in their yard. Great but had to come in at 8:30. My mother used to put a park light on. Of course I made many more turns before seeing it.
(Note from Jackie, following is repetitious but a few new comments)
Born on Dubuque Street down the hill. ( next to West High School) Next my father built a 3 family on Rimmon Street. Then he got scared and sold it. Had to move in my grandfathers Girard block on Dubuque Street. Not so nice but kids really don't care.
Made many friends, roller skating in street was fun. Cars were not plentiful.
My father started to be a contractor, had a small black truck then, went in partnership with a Mr. Provencher, which after many years didn't work out. I remember going on jobs with him Saturdays or Summer. Liked it.
Broke my arm while living on Rimmon Street, probably around 3 years old or so, fell from climbing on sink. Doctors came to the house, can you imagine? No X-Rays. I remember laying in my parents bed. Just put a lot of tape to keep it from moving. Healed OK. Remember my father promising an ice cream cone if I was good when Dr. took if took it must have hurt..
Born May 29, 1920- Deceased June 19, 2001
Married Alfred Richer-September 1, 1941
Born January 12, 1920-Deceased Dec.21, 1944
Married Marcel Lesmerises-April 22, 1946
Born July 8, 1920-Deceased October 23, 1973
Rita has 8 children
34 great grandchildren.
1- Daughter Jacqueline Born May 23, 1942-Married Richard St. Hilaire August 12, 1961 Deceased Sept. 27, 2012
Grand Daughter Donna born June 9, 1963- Married David DesRuisseaux June 1, 1991
Great Grand Daughter Rachel born Sept. 25, 1995
Great Grand Son Ryan born March 24, 1997
Great Grand Son Eric born October 22, 2002
Grand Daughter Joanne born Oct. 28, 1964- Married Michael Towle August 8, 1987
Great Grand Son Jacob born March 5, 1997
Great Grand Daughter Mikayla born Sept. 29, 2000
Great Grand Son Caleb born March 21, 2003
Grand Daughter Lisa born July 25, 1972- Married to Dennis Weiners October 11, 2003
Great Grand Son Alec born November 3, 2005
Great Grand Daughter Cassandra born August 8,2008
2- Son Edward Born Jan. 5, 1945- Married to Susan Chouinard August 20, 1966
Grand Daughter Pamela born June 5, 1969-Married Robert Bohl April 9, 1994
Great Grand Daughter Emma born May 2, 2000
Great Grand Daughter Minna born May 23, 2003
Grand Daughter Tina born March 18, 1973-Married James Webster July 18, 2014
Great Grand Daughter Olivia born March 21, 1998
Grand Son Gerry Jr. born December 6, 1970-Married Christine Huppe October 2, 1992
Great Grandson Nicholas born February 15, 1997
Great Grand Daughter Samantha born April 26, 1999
Grand Son Jamie born January 13, 1975-Married Laurie Freeman August 21, 2004
Great Grand Daughter Nora born Dec. 24, 2007
Grand Son John born September 22, 1978-Married Aline Pfaft of Germany March 16, 2002
Great Grand Daughter Amy born July 1, 2003
Great Grand Daughter Hailey born May 20, 2006
Grand Daughter Holly born October 3, 1985-Married Christopher LaBranche Oct. 11, 2014
Great-Great Grand Son Raymond Allen McKay Jr. born November 19, 2017
Great Grand Daughter Nicole born March 30,1994
6-Daughter Constance Born June 21, 1956-Married Thomas Sanborn-Divorced
Grand Daughter Misty born August 8, 1977
Great Grand Daughter Madison Lamper born April 28, 2001
Great Grand Daughter Savanna Baillargeon born January 8, 2007
Great Grand Son Cyrus Nelson Baillargeon born March 22, 2008
Grand Daughter Nicole born September 4, 1980
7-Daughter Judith Born Nov. 24, 1957-Married Thomas Robert July 4, 1980
Grand Son Matthew born December 6, 1985-Married Ashley Christie Sept. 12, 2015
Great Grand Daughter Angel born Oct. 20, 2006
8- Son Robert Born April 19, 1961-Married Suzanne Beauchesnes Nov. 2001
Jackie & Dick
Eddie & Sue
Pam,Angela Jennifer, Tina
Gerry Jr, Jamie, Johnny
Holly Born in 1985
Dawn, Michael & Brent
Connie & Tom
Tom & Judy
Matthew, Katie, Marie & Camille
Written on February 16, 1992
I have tried my best to be a good mother, though I made many mistakes, none were intentional to hurt anyone. Whatever or whenever, I did the best I could at the time. Which now I look back and would love to undo any hurt I may have imposed on each and everyone.
I love you my dear children. Please forgive.
As for raising a family, each and everyone is different, that is what makes it so challenging.
I never read much on how to raise children but did all I could and I am very proud of the results for you and each one of you are unique and loving.
I consider myself very fortunate.
Letter written to Aunt Madeleine 1981
Hi: Words sometimes are not to be found in expressing our thoughts and most of all concern for one whom we care for. That is how I am as I start this letter, but Id like to share a few thoughts. Fern, wants us to remember him lovingly, but the kind of person he was, would want that we all continue leading a normal and fruitful life the best we can at this particular time. I know it is hard for you to go on, almost seems impossible at times. What you are going through did not happen to me in the same way when Be (nickname for Alfred) and Marcel died. I faced these fears, etc. before death came. With Be from the day he left. I was so young, still on a honeymoon it seems but always in my mind was what will I do if he dies? Jackie needs her father, he loved her so, then being pregnant, fears, anxieties. This new child might never see his father, nor Be set his eyes on our newborn. We had prayed for a boy, how happy he would have been. I am not saying I went through what you are experiencing but so many thoughts and uncertainties, fears, loneliness I had before. And after Be died, even many years after, what kind of life we might have had, how he would have looked, our family, our position in life, our growing old together. So many, I cannot recall. When Eddy was born, never will he know his father. I agree its difficult but they were shattered dreams. I am not saying this for pity, but for you to understand that maybe, I can relate to your anguish and I know it is not easy. Of course with Marcel, you were there always. It wasn't after he died me it was before. I wanted to share a few thoughts with you, guess I got carried away but I'm hoping you'll receive them as well-meaning for your uplifting only and know that I care. Peace of Christ all my Love, Rita
P.S. As I was ready to seal my envelope Jackie was reading an article, and asked me to look it over, maybe you would like it. P.S. Madeleine don't give up. Fight it all the way. We all need you. Remember the Serenity Prayer.
God grant me the courage to change the things I can change, The serenity to accept those I cannot change
Letters to Aunt Florence
May 12, 1999
Another year, to thank God for all His goodness and asking Him to bless you for a healthier 12 months. Seems we're all in the same boat with our ills and pains but trying to keep our spirits up, sometimes it's easy sometimes not right! I had a very good Mother's Day. Cards galore all beautiful sayings from children and grandchildren. Went out for breakfast and later at Jackie & Dick, in between all phone calls with their wishes. Received hanging plants for my porch plus other gifts. I'm having a harder time to water them, for my walking is to be desired. I'll do my best. Talked to Madeleine on phone often, she tells me all her projects and outings, I'm glad she can keep herself busy, wakes and funerals, she goes, while she can that's good. Have seen Ben, he brings me communion on Sunday morning. I appreciate it very much. He is very helpful, but I don't ask him too much, because he really helps his children a lot. Rides, is good, everyone is so busy working. Bob told me he called you, may come next Saturday, so I can meet his new friend. Eddy still brings me grocery shopping on Thursday. It's good. Jackie took me all day one Saturday to buy a few clothes. I've gained so much, nothing fits. That's life, but we can't cry about it, it's tough, not enough exercise. Handwriting awful.
Dec. 29. 1998
Enclosed is a small donation for your sisters in Honduras.
Thank you for your letter it is a disaster, it will take long to get back on their feet. (Hurricane Mitch)
Hope you had a "Joyeux Noel". Here it was one of my best Christmas. To have most of my children here sharing & laughing with each other. I can still envision them all standing in kitchen.
Everyone brought food a dessert. Susie & Heather & family only one missing. She longs to be here, also John, Gerry's boy is in the service in Germany. Bobby slept overnight twice. Seems to be O.K. little lonesome at times I'm sure. But he is very involved in Bike racing, works 2 jobs Canon Mt making snow and bike shop repairs.
Have a very healthy and good year 1999.
P.S. Sorry about Penmanship.
All my Love
Interviews by Rita
Religious Experiences in America by French-Canadiens:
Assignment for Susie in 1978
Armand Lesmerises ( Marcel's brother)
Going out with children of other faiths was a real scandal for a family.
Example, my brother Laurent, married Helen Blasik who was of the Polish National Catholic Church. To do so, she have up her religion and promised to raise her children in the Catholic faith. Yvette & Woody were witnesses. I was there also. There were 8 people. Both sets of parents did not attend the wedding. After a short period of time, the Lesmerises' accepted the young couple. In fact, during the hurricane, the young couple was heading for the Lesmerises house when they were both killed when they were hit by a roof that had blown off a house. To this day her family every Memorial Day put flowers on her grave. Although this has been going on for 40 years, the Lesmerises family and the Blasik family never met.
In 1940, the Ste Marie High School accepted boys, before that time it was an all girls school. Before this the parishioners of Ste Marie, also other neighborhood parishes were told to send their children to that High School. They were told it was a mortal sin to send their children to public school. (This statement was confirmed by Annette DesRuisseaux Marineau who remembers a family being refused the sacraments because children were going to Public High School)
In my early years, a person who committed suicide was not allowed a funeral in church nor be buried inside the Catholic ground.
Then later on we would attend such an affair but not participate in the affair. For example receive communion.
My father Camille's family immigrated from Canada to the States in the early 1900's. The mills in Manchester were working full blast. There was nothing in Canada therefore they came to work in Manchester, NH.
Dick St. Hilaire
As a child I never felt I could ask any questions that were bothering me.
My first taste of Church was when I entered school. Had a good nun but was scared to death, fear of punishment, Catholic school.
Had bad experiences with priests when I was an altar boy, also had good experiences with one priest which helped me.
After being an altar boy for 6 years in the 8th grade one special priest forced me to go to confession and it was not a good experience. However, my beliefs were that priests were good people and were always right. So I never dared to question what he was doing was wrong and I feel that I was brain washed.
Till much later in High School (Ste Marie's) I realized this was not right. This all stemmed from the way my parents thought, that the word of the priest was to be believed and never questioned. The Church, my mother taught me, my father never said anything.
Even as a Senior in High School I accepted the Church's teachings, all teachings, as truth of truth, although at that time many unanswered questions in my mind.
After High School as I went out into the world, I started to see the Church as the institution differently. I saw that it was not perfect. I became aware that priests made mistakes and were not perfect but human beings.
I grew aware of hypocrisy in people that belonged to the Institutional Church and in the same way it parallels to the Catholic Church at that time. Also at that time I had been involved with 2 people who were giving of themselves and did not belong to any church. These people opened their home to our family anytime and they lived out of state. They had the gift of making people feel at home when any of us were in trouble or depressed.
One positive point in school was I was taught that even though I belong to the Catholic faith, all churches were good and people were saved.
I always attended church every Sunday not because I wanted too but it was part of my upbringing. This went on 10 to 12 years after High School.
When I started to question myself, why I was going to church? I didn't like the answer but didn't choose to do anything about it right away.
Finally after searching for about 5 years, I saw the Church in a different light. I saw it as stumbling and trying to grow more perfect.
As I see the Church now (1978) I do not like many of it's rules and regulations but I know that I can have a say in changing those rules. I see the Church as loosing more of it's authoritative figures and releasing herself more to the Spirit of the People. I know it will be a slow moving process but I have much faith that it will overcome these little obstacles.
There were numerous other interviews but when I posted them on the website, I must have forgotten to save and publish. Not sure if Susie has the original.
LINKS to some of my favorite websites
What's Jackie Reading? I frequently review books on Amazon.Com