A public service hall of fame
Jesus explained that within His Father’s house are many mansions, mansions where “Glancing Backward” suggests could be found a large number of Livingston County souls who “did good” on earth. Suggested are an historic few of many who it would be worth meeting.
Humble in spirit, today’s column takes on a theme popularized by recent books, by those claiming to have visited the Pearly gates.
As an admirer of dedicated Cistercians living in monastic prayer and silence at York’s Our Lady of the Genesee Abbey, I doubt it would be difficult to find Father Gerard McGinley, the first Abbot Superior at York.
His halo would be bright. Before arriving from Kentucky, he and the founding monks were told they were chosen to establish a “new foundation in the Valley of Mary’s Smile.”
Abbot Gerard died of an apparent heart attack in France while visiting ancient abbeys, preparing for the Genesee project. With God’s help, Dom Gerard helped to establish a lasting spiritual contribution in our Valley.
She might be wearing a Red Cross headband in place of a shiny halo. Clara Barton would easily be recognized among Heaven’s blessed as an Angel of Mercy in the words of Irving Berlin.
Establishing Clara Barton American Red Cross Chapter No. I in 1881 Dansville, her dreams blossomed into a national movement, part of an International organization, one that has saved innumerable lives and provided disaster relief to millions. She worked to raise funds for over 30 years. Jesus too preached worldwide brotherhood.
Clara’s Red Cross continues to secure impartial aid for the needy, no matter their nationally or their separations in wars.
“If you do it for the least of these”- Clara would be worth meeting.
Mother Ann Lee emigrated to America in 1774 as head of the Shakers. (United Society of Believers) Even within the blessed gates, “Mother” would be spotted as she went about repairing cloaks and frayed Angel wings. After all her motto was “Hands to work and hearts to God.”
Though she did not live to visit the Groveland Sonyea Shaker Colony, Groveland prospered for nor than 50 years using her teachings. As a believer in woman’s equality and a defender of abused women and children, Mother’s words of wisdom would be worth hearing even in 2012.
And God loves a gentle soul.
With apologies to Mount Morris and Eddie Sawyer, manager of the Philadelphia Phillies Whiz Kids, I’d rather sit mountainside listening to Geneseo’s Vic Raschi relive his Yankee World Series tales. Nicknamed the Springfield Rifle (Springfield, Mass., his hometown) Vic was a right-handed pitching mainstay for the Yank’s world series teams from 1949-53.
Marrying and settling in Geneseo, as a Rotary member he regularly evaluated the outcomes of current world series. What revelations Vic could make about outpitching Sawyer’s Phillies as he removed his halo, replacing it with a “NY” baseball cap.
There is no doubt Horatio Jones of the Groveland/ Leicester/Geneseo areas found St. Peter opening wide the Heavenly gate at his 1836 arrival. Horatio, adopted by the Seneca Indians in 1781, regarding them as his lifelong family when most pioneers still thought of Indians as savages whose land should be taken.
Horatio defended them whenever and however possible while welcoming Chief Red Jacket and the father who adopted him to his Sweetbriar home. Horatio could offer insights about bullying when it came to Native-Americans.
From a secluded corner within the Pearly Gates could it be the unlikely sound of billiard balls clicking against each other? Yes, God rewards excellence. He also approves of enjoying leisure time. Even Jesus attended a wedding. So it is no surprise to spot Livonia’s Irving Crane with his billiard cue; Irving who became a billiard champion eight times over.
His billiard table is well-lighted as it’s said the lights never go out in Heaven. According to Dorothy Wilkins, he earned his wings when he gave many exhibitions for World War II servicemen. Crane’s favorite saying was, “never do anything unless you do it exceptionally well.” Perhaps God agreed.
A disappointment was not meeting Grand Canyon explorer John Wesley Powell from Mount Morris. Saint Peter explained John was on assignment. John was rappelling the endless walls checking for any cracks needing repair. There must be no sneaking in for a Heavenly reward.
Livingston’s angelic wings all were earned only on earth.