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Inside this issue: 6 | The Pittsburgh Creche:

12 | Downsizing:

14th year for this larger-than-life Nativity display.

After 45 years of marriage and accumulating possessions.

8 | Dedicated knit and crochet artists:

14 | Kneeling suggestions:

St. Ferdinand’s artists provide items for premature babies and nursing homes.

How to deal with bad knees at Mass.

10 | Things to do:

Sisters of the Holy Spirit celebrate their years in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

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20 | St. Kateri:

Catholic 23 MAGAZINE


The path to canonization and her spiritual significance for today’s Catholics.

22 | Book review:

135 First Ave. • Suite 200 Pittsburgh, PA 15222 1-800-392-4670

Vol. 4, No. 9

Publisher | Bishop David A. Zubik General Manager | Robert P. Lockwood Editor | William Cone Operations Manager | Carmella Weismantle

“St. Kateri,” by Matthew and Margaret Bunson, just released by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing.

23 | St. Therese of Lisieux Book Club: Founded on a challenge.

Tips for dealing with snow and Ice: 24 | Safe walking.

Senior Life Project Editor | William Hill Associate Editors Phil Taylor (Special Projects) Chuck Moody (News) Staff Writer | John W. Franko Graphic Designers David Pagesh | Karen Hanlin Director of Advertising | John Connolly Account Executives Michael A. Check | Paul Crowe Brandon McCusker | Michael Wire Circulation Mgr./Parish News Coord. Peggy Zezza

26 | Safe shoveling.

Administrative Assistant | Amanda Wahlen

28 | A jazz icon:

Office Assistant | Karen Hanlin

Musician Dave Brubeck’s Catholic connection.

On the cover... The Pittsburgh Creche, erected every Christmas season at the US Steel Plaza on Grant Street in Downtown Pittsburgh, is the world’s only authorized replica of the Vatican’s creche in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. More than 20 figures, many by famed Italian artist Pietro Simonelli and others by Pittsburgh artists from JE Scenic Technologies, are clothed by the Sisters of the Holy Spirit. Viewing through Jan. 7, 2013. Cover design by Debbie Skatell-Wehner

Pittsburgh Catholic Senior Life Magazine is a complimentary publication available at all 204 Catholic parishes in the Diocese of Pittsburgh from the Pittsburgh Catholic Publishing Associates Inc. Paid first-class delivered subscriptions are available. Advertising: Editorial:

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Senior Life 2012

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Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 5

The Pittsburgh Creche Revered tradition preserves the true meaning of Christmas The Pittsburgh Creche is a larger-thanlife Nativity scene and the world’s only authorized replica of the Vatican’s Christmas creche on display in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. The current creche first opened for public viewing in 1999, so this is the 14th year for this display. It will remain on display through Jan. 7, 2013. During this period, more than a quarter-million visitors are expected to enjoy the Nativity scene. A number of local musical groups and choruses as well as national singers have performed annually at the creche. One year, an Italian bagpiper and flute player, in the tradition of ancient shepherds, came from the village of Scapoli in Italy’s Molise region to perform. The word “creche” comes from the French meaning “manger” or “crib,” and commonly refers to the scene of Christ’s birth. The Christmas creche, with its traditional depiction of the birth of Jesus with angels, three kings, shepherds and animals, is more popular than ever. The first definition of a creche written in 1619 said it is “to bring to life the events of the birth of Christ so that all who view the scene may personally share the wonder of those who originally saw it.” The site of the display, US Steel Plaza at

6 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine

600 Grant St. in Downtown Pittsburgh, is privately owned and has been donated to support the project. In past years there had been controversy about where to place a creche in Pittsburgh, given the 1989 Supreme Court ruling to ban the display from the Allegheny County Courthouse. Former Pittsburgh Bishop Donald Wuerl asked USX Chairman Thomas Usher, with whom he had a long-standing friendship, for help. After consulting with the US Steel Tower building manager and its major tenants, Usher intervened so the plaza outside his corporate headquarters could be used. The stable, constructed from the plans of Vatican architect Umberto Mezzana, is 64 feet wide, 42 feet high, 36 feet deep, and weighs approximately 66,000 pounds. Louis Astorino, chairman of the Pittsburgh architectural firm L.D. Astorino Companies, has been a driving force behind the Nativity project from the beginning. It was during a business trip to Rome that Astorino first saw the Vatican creche. Moved by its beauty, he envisioned a similar display in his hometown of Pittsburgh. After receiving approval from Vatican officials, Astorino secured the actual plans for the creche, and commissioned its sculptor to re-create the figures for Pittsburgh. The creche was constructed at the Civic Light Opera Construction Center, and is reassembled in sections at the US Steel Plaza location.

A crane is used to erect the panels, which weigh 800 to 1,000 pounds each. The plywood and steel structure is brought to life by JE Scenic Technologies, creators of stage sets for Civic Light Opera, Broadway and other regional productions. Most of the figures are the work of Roman artist and sculptor Pietro Simonelli. The figures are of wood-frame construction, with hands, feet and faces modeled from clay, covered with papier-mache and weatherproofed. Simonelli is a noted sculptor, making masks for many Italian and European lyrical opera houses, articles and animals for science and variety programs on Italian television, and sculpture and portraits for private clients in papier-mache, bronze, resin and terra cotta. The creche scene contains the figures of the infant Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the three kings, three shepherds, a woman and child and assorted animals. In 2000, unique to Pittsburgh, a life-size angel made by Simonelli was suspended over the crib, and more animals were added, including a full-size camel. Two more angels were added in 2007, bringing the total figures to 20. In 2001, a woman and child, with the woman holding a basket of fruit, were added. In 2002, artists from JE Scenic Technologies created a kneeling shepherd for the creche. The new figure from JE Scenic Technologies in 2003 was a full-size reclining cow. Two more shepherds were added later. Clothing for the figures is designed, sewn

Senior Life 2012

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with introduction by then-Bishop Donald Wuerl, $10. Videos of the erection of the creche this year can be found on the diocesan website, For further information on the creche project, contact Father Ron Lengwin at 412-456-3131.


following organizations for their generous inkind donations for the 2012-2013 Pittsburgh Creche: All Crane Rental of PA, Astorino, Avalotis Corp., Brand Energy & Infrastructure Services Inc., Greater PA Regional Council of Carpenters, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 5, J.E. Scenic Technologies, Naccarati Contracting, Sargent Electric, Terrill Funk Productions and Winthrop Management Everyone interested in supporting the Pittsburgh Creche can purchase a variety of items on display in the Mission Office on the second floor of the Diocesan Pastoral Center, 111 Boulevard of the Allies, Downtown Pittsburgh. For information, e-mail sokeefe@, or phone 412-456-3065. Items include: • Boxed Christmas cards, $20 for 15 cards, designed by Susan Castriota. • Boxed Christmas cards, $20 for 24 cards, with photo image. • Gift-boxed Pittsburgh Creche Christmas tree ornament, $15. • Gift-boxed Pittsburgh Creche Christmas tree medallion, $15. • Christmas book (160 pages), published by Diocese of Pittsburgh for Jubilee 2000,


and maintained by the Sisters of the Holy Spirit, in keeping with the tradition of the Vatican. The Pittsburgh Creche is sponsored by Pittsburgh’s ecumenical Christian Leaders Fellowship. The goal is to preserve the true meaning of Christmas, and to inspire those who see it to reach out to people in need. The theme of the project is “Share the Love.� The Christian Leaders Fellowship represents bishops and denominational executives in the greater Pittsburgh area. The denominations over the years have included Roman and Byzantine Catholic, Presbyterian, Anglican, Episcopalian, Baptist, Lutheran, Greek Orthodox, United Methodist, The Salvation Army and United Church of Christ. In addition to the Christian Leaders Fellowship, more than 30 business, labor and religious organizations have contributed financial support and services to the project. The creche is truly a community effort. Carpenters and electrical union workers, crane operators, scaffold workers, scenery designers, architects and building management have been key figures in the construction each year. Thanks to the

Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 7

No idle hands here God’s Precious Preemies/Threads of Warmth helps those in need By Jan Shaffer God’s Precious Preemies/Threads of Warmth Ministry is made up of caring women who want to give their time to helping children and the needy. Four years ago I founded this ministry, and we are still growing strong. We meet two days a month at our church, St. Ferdinand in Cranberry Township, to swap patterns, solve sewing problems, knit and crochet, and just get to know one another. No job seems too hard for these women. We have made hundreds of booties, hats,

to the different hospitals. All items must be washed in hypoallergenic detergent and delivered in unscented bags. A lot of our yarn and materials are donated by church members and the ministry volunteers. Some of our members are homebound, so a family member delivers their items to me. One of these women is my mother, Angeline Brasco. She is 95 years young and has macular degeneration and glaucoma. She is legally blind. I knew she was getting bored with not being able to read and watch TV, so I approached

Judy Antico and Lorraine Gullo study a pattern book for planning their next project while other members work in the background.

blankets, intravenous covers, isolate covers and cards, burial outfits, cocoons and sweater sets for the preemies in five different hospitals in the Pittsburgh area. When the ladies bring in their finished products, I wash and dry them and put them in new plastic bags. They are then delivered

8 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine

her one day and said, “You know, Mom, when you crocheted years ago you would watch TV with us and never look at your crocheting. Why don’t you try that now?” She laughed at me and said, “You’re a dreamer.” But she tried, and for the last two years has been making lap quilts for the patients

Angeline Brasco still crocheting at 95 and legally blind.

in wheelchairs. It was rough getting started, but she nailed it and has made more than 60 blankets. The only complaints I get from her now is that she is running out of yarn. This ministry not only helps the babies and their parents, but it also helps our members who are shut-ins and have disabilities. It gives

Senior Life 2012

Lorraine Gullo busy crocheting a white yarn square.

God’s Precious Preeemies/Threads of Warmth ministry group display some of their finished products at a September 2012 meeting.



GUIDE to Jan Shaffer and Marv Caffall

them a purpose to get up in the morning to know they are again needed by someone. We have more than 50 members. Threads of Warmth became an extension of our God’s Precious Preemies Ministry a couple of years ago. The same women make scarves, hats, lap blankets, gloves and prayer shawls, as well as the preemie items. We send these items to nursing homes, people in or outside of our parish, to the homeless and anywhere else they are needed. I cannot say enough about my friend Marv Caffall and all the help and support she gives me. Marv also teaches us to knit. The delivery of items and work is done by all the women taking turns, which makes our work easier and enjoyable. If you would like to know more about us, call me at 724-538-9753 or e-mail me at God bless you all.

Senior Life 2012

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412.471.1253 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 9

Things to do, places to go, attractions to see in western Pennsylvania

favorites is the VisitPittsburgh website (www., which includes not only Pittsburgh but the surrounding countryside. It is easy to navigate, and the drop-down menus are loaded with interesting possibilities. For instance, the “things to do” includes a main menu of 12 different entries, and each of those has dozens more possibilities. Free things to do range from art and architecture, walking tours, music, and museums and attractions. Some museums have fees, but many are free and simply require checking out the details on individual websites. There are five free self-guided walking tours of Downtown Pittsburgh, with free maps available for download on the website. There’s even a Big Mac museum and restaurant in North Huntingdon, honoring Jim Delligatti’s creation of the McDonald’s Big Mac in 1967. He opened his first McDonald’s franchise in western Pennsylvania, and a

By William Hill For those who may search on the Internet for ideas of how to spend their time, there are thousands of websites. One of my




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Gingerbread Lane at Station Square.

short time later came up with the two-all-beefpatties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-picklesonions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun that was introduced in Uniontown and is now available in more than 120 countries. The things-to-do list goes on with headings for Family Fun, Outdoors, Taste of Our Town, Sports and Recreation, Architecture, Neighborhoods, History and Heritage, Visual Arts and Night Life. And these are the items on just the first drop-down menu. If you click on the Countryside list, Pittsburgh and eight western Pennsylvania counties pop up: Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Greene, Indiana, Mercer and Washington, each with its own itinerary. There are at least 18 wineries listed on the VisitPittsburgh site to tour in the region as well as covered bridges. While the first covered bridge built in the country in Philadelphia in 1805 no longer stands, there are 47 still in this area. A website like this Free horse-drawn carriage rides, sponsored by One Oxford Centre. offers a quick sample of what could be never-ending fun in our region. It’s no wonder that National Geographic Traveler ranked Pittsburgh in 2012 as one of the best places in the world to visit. And if you want to go for more outdoor activity, aside from the hiking, biking and boating in the immediate vicinity (did you know that Frick, Highland, Riverview and Schenley parks total 1,700 acres in Pittsburgh?), a website called Walls are Bad ( includes more than 300 outdoor activities and destinations in western Pennsylvania.

Senior Life 2012

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Senior Life 2012

Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 11

By Sharron Schaefer


Like most newly married couples, we began wedded life with the most basic of items: a couch, dining table, bedroom suite and the gifts we received at our wedding. We moved into an apartment in the North Hills of Pittsburgh (St. Sebastian Parish), and were both working — I taught at Mars High School and my husband, Larry, flew for Allegheny Airlines. We bought some things. We decorated. We bought a few more things. The apartment began to void itself of empty space, and it looked great, and we were happy. Anticipating a family, we were soon on the prowl for a house. Larry’s dad was in the real estate business, and he found us a little ranch in the same area, still within the St. Sebastian Parish boundaries. It was the ideal home for a young couple, about 2,400 square feet, and we loved it. It had a great yard. We rattled around in it for

a while, thinking that we would never fill all three bedrooms, the enormous basement, the empty walls begging for artwork or pictures of family, and we honestly felt lost in what we considered the vastness of the space. So we bought some things. We decorated. We bought a few more things. The place was homey and welcoming, and we were happy there. Kids came. The bedrooms filled with furniture and dolls and games and tropical fish tanks, and the occasional frog mixed in with the laundry. I then needed a larger washer and dryer. There were pets. There were sports and

12 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine

45 years kids’ activities that required buying more things, finding more storage, renovating the basement, adding on a larger dining area to the back of the house. Of course, we needed stuff. We decorated more. I was teaching eighth-grade religion at St. Sebastian School at the time, and I wanted office space for planning. I began organ lessons at the church. Music began to pile up. Larry needed an office for his flight planning. During those years of raising young kids and having lots of friends over for dinners, we seemed to need more space. Then, with my husband’s encouragement, I went back to college to work on a master’s in music, and he surprised me with a grand piano. Uh oh. It took up most of that little living room. Our kids were preteens by then, and we were outgrowing the house. Using the excuse that we were moving closer to the airport (for a shorter commute for Larry), we moved into a 3,500-square-foot house in Bell Acres of Sewickley (St. James Parish). We rattled around in it for a while, thinking we would never fill the enormous rooms. I began subbing at any church willing to trust me with liturgical music and, lo and behold, Larry surprised me with a full-size electric organ to practice on at home. Then the kids hit their teens, and stuff began to fill the rooms. New friends filled it with dinner parties, kids’ parties, and old friends stayed overnight. We needed more stuff. So we bought some things. We decorated. We loved that

house, and it showed. It was the gathering space for the neighborhood kids and our friends. I started to collect china. We built china cabinets for the dining room. Larry put on an addition to make me a music conservatory for both my instruments. As you hope they eventually will, the kids left to pursue their own lives. There was college (yeah, more stuff), then there was work for them, marriage for one, moving West for the other. We had lots of stuff left. So we shifted it around, begged the kids to take what they could and redecorated the house. As the life cycle continued, our own parents began to come to life’s end, and our house began to fill with THEIR items as well. We became sentimental about saving the silliest of things — and suddenly, for the first time in our married life, the house began to look cluttered. Well, we had this huge attic that extends the length of the house, so we thought, let’s store the extra stuff up there. And we did — until the attic seemed like it would sag if we put one more family item up there. After my mother passed away in August 2011, we knew that emptying her house would be the final straw for us. We had to start getting rid of stuff, and perhaps even the house holding the stuff! It was becoming too much to keep clean, or neat, or enjoyable. Friends didn’t come as often for dinner parties because it was just too much work to cook, set the table and clean up afterward. Everyone’s in the same boat — let’s go out for dinner! That’s when Larry and I took a drive out to Liberty Hills in Economy Borough (Beaver County) and fell in love with the lifestyle of single-floor living and the seeming simplicity of it all. So we purchased a lot, chose a floor plan and built a house with a loft, planning the move for June 14, 2012. We figured that our Bell Acres attic was about the size of the first floor of what would be our 2,100 square feet of new home. Boy, did we need to get rid of stuff. Downsizing is not as simple as it sounds.

Senior Life 2012

It’s like we came full circle after these 45 years. The rooms are comfortably full, inviting and homey. We have what really mattered in the first place — each other. We have memories and photo albums, and I have a sunroom for my instruments (I still work!). We have a wonderful daughter and the blessing of a beautiful granddaughter. We enjoyed our son for 36 years before God took him for himself. We endured. We have a loving and caring church family and wonderful friends, and the blessing of new friends in Liberty Hills. We don’t anticipate buying more stuff unless it’s for someone else. We don’t need anything more. We’ve done it all, and it is still better than good. However, there are 10 boxes of vintage china in the loft of my new house just waiting for my brother to build me china cabinets on the first floor. Some stuff is just too hard to part with … just saying.


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Senior Life 2012



First of all, you labor over every decision of what to keep and what to “toss.” Young people today have different lifestyles, and we learned that no one wants your stuff, your treasures. Don’t people eat on china anymore? For some reason, you can’t get rid of stuff on Craigslist or eBay either, as everyone seems to want to know the history of every mundane item you want to sell, and they are picky, picky, picky, looking at items with disdain, as though they might do you the favor of taking it off your hands. Well, these are MY treasures, and they just won’t appreciate them, you think. You sometimes (sometimes??) cry, thinking of the enormity of the task ahead. I bought a case of Kleenex (more stuff). So we had the first of many garage sales. I wept inside as that crystal vase Nana always had on her mantle went home with someone who obviously did not know its history or would not have childhood memories of filling it with Queen Anne’s lace as a child. I wrung my hands in disbelief as someone talked me down to an obnoxious price for the treasured Schaefer Beer neon sign that still worked. All the old sheet music walked out the door for $30 for the whole box. Furniture that heard deep conversations, saw funfilled family gatherings — all out the door with people who looked it over like they were choosing it because they felt sorry for us. Stuff went. And what didn’t go at garage sales eventually went to the veterans. And we were left with what we thought would be fine for our new little home. And we did well, we think. It was traumatic in some ways, but now that we’re here, we feel like newlyweds again. You don’t need much when you’re first married, and we’ve learned you really don’t need much at this stage of life either.

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Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 13

Aging in body — renewed in spirit By Elizabeth Spohn A friend recently shared with me that one of the things she likes least about her looming knee surgery is that she won’t be able to kneel at Mass. What do you say to that? Since I’m not able to kneel due to a foot condition, I have had to figure out ways that would not draw attention to the fact. A lot of people opt for the “half-kneel” — you know, half sit on the edge of the pew and then not really let your knees touch the kneeler. Some of us don’t even have that option and have to make sure we position ourselves in front of an empty pew so as not to limit the piety of someone behind us. Any way you look at it, growing into parishioners who can’t continue habits that were instilled in us from childhood as the best way to show our devotion, faces us with the reality that we can’t do it that way anymore. Most often this is related to growing older. So, without putting ourselves on a guilt trip, how can we approach these changes with a more accepting attitude? The first reaction may be, “I don’t have enough time left to make new habits and be happy with them.” Other thoughts may center on the denial that we actually need to change; we’re not that bad yet. If we’re honest about it, we just don’t want to look bad to those around us. Where am I going with this? Actually, nothing has really changed in what we are called to do in our life. In fact, all of us spend each day getting one day closer to eternity, no matter how old we are. With this in mind, we could consider this phase of change in patterns as God’s way to prep us for that eternity. It can be the opportunity to “die to self” by letting go of our need to kneel to feel proper about our participation in community prayer. Maybe it is accepting the fact that, yes, it’s a lot harder to remember daily things: “Just what was it that I’m going into the living room to get?”

14 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine

Realizing we used to memorize license plates and had everyone’s phone numbers in our memory bank, but now remembering a person’s name makes it a good day. The good old days seem to be further and further in our past. It makes more sense when we focus on eternity. We know God uses it all for good. As we get older, we are forced a lot of times to slow down. This can happen in a variety of physical or mental manners. But as we slow down, we have a chance to be present to God in a way that we may have missed on the journey thus far. We can literally offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to join with Jesus’ love sacrifice on the cross. So I feel good kneeling to show my love and respect at Mass, but God, who sees our hearts, knows that and knows it is harder for us not to kneel. What a gift opportunity to give of ourselves in this way. Being patient about being patient can be applied while we’re waiting to recall just why we did walk into the other room. Know that God knows what we were heading in there to get. In terms of eternity, do you think it’s worth getting upset about? God isn’t upset with you about it. As for remembering names or wondering how time can be flying by so quickly, we’re talking about getting ready for an eternity where there isn’t any time. So maybe we can just count this as getting into practice for when time doesn’t exist. We are made of body and spirit. Realize that, as the body part wears out, the spirit part can get stronger. Let this spur us on to nourishing the growing spirit. We will have glorified bodies in eternity, but have the opportunity now to develop the spirit that will give us peace during these times on earth, and be tuned up and ready when our time comes to meet our Lord face to face. Spohn is a member of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Herman.

Senior Life 2012

Senior to Life 2012 Services 2012 Guide Senior

Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine Pittsburgh Catholic155

One Hundred Years of Blessings By Sister Marita Juras The Sisters of the Holy Spirit have traveled a long and interesting road for the past 100 years. This journey actually began more than a century ago in the person of Barbara Timofieff Finatowicz (Mother Josephine), a convert to Roman Catholicism. She was born Nov. 27, 1861, in Smolensk, Russia. Because of her conversion, she was disowned by her family, and she left for Rome, where she entered the Carmelites of St. Bridget. Later, with the help of Father Joseph Zyskar, she founded a religious community named the Congregation of Perpetual Adorers of the Most Blessed Sacrament for Union of Churches and Suffering Souls. When Father Zyskar went to Russia to solicit funds for the new community and was arrested for baptizing, Barbara, now Mother Josephine, assumed leadership of the 20 sisters. They made their way to St. Petersburg, where they ministered at St. Catherine Church. She changed their name to the Sisters of the Holy Ghost since devotion to the Holy Ghost was very strong in Russia at the time.

Life in the United States

Sister Mary Richard Mehelich

However, when he went to arrange for their passports, he couldn’t remember the name of one of the sisters.

In 1906, Mother Josephine sent two sisters to the Surmising United States to that every solicit funds for community must the community. have a Sister Discovering Benedict, he that sisters were used that name being sought in applying for to do domestic a passport. work at SS. Cyril Providentially, and Methodius it was Sister Seminary in Benedict who Michigan, held things they offered together when their services. difficulties arose The motherhouse in Pittsburgh. Realizing the need later on. for more help, the rector contacted Mother As young ladies began to enter the Josephine and requested the services of community in Michigan, some expressed two more sisters. a desire to serve as teachers, especially

16 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine

to the children of immigrants. A request was made by Father Ladislaus Odziemczewski inviting the sisters to teach in a school in Donora, Pa. Several sisters were sent from Michigan and were given a “little green cottage” (as it came to be known) in which to live. Some have called this the “cradle of the community.” It served until their first motherhouse was built in Donora, largely through the efforts of Father Odziemczewski. By that time in 1911, the move from Michigan by all the sisters had taken place. Throughout all of this, Mother Josephine had remained in Europe. Meanwhile in Donora, the need for sisters to be trained as teachers was recognized, and Sister Anthony, one of the first sisters sent to the United States, went back to Russia to consult with Mother Josephine. Left

Senior Life 2012

without a superior for a period of time, the sisters appealed to Bishop John Francis Regis Canevin of Pittsburgh. The bishop told them to sever all ties with the European foundation. He then organized the sisters into a new congregation and presented them with a new rule in 1913. Bishop Canevin had wanted to transfer the sisters to the Notre Dame sisters in Wisconsin. However, the Notre Dame superior agreed instead to send two of her sisters to form the group into a new community. The two Notre Dame sisters spent six years in Donora until 1918, when Sister M. Frances Kolacz was elected the first general superior of the Sisters of the Holy Ghost.

The move to Pittsburgh The community remained in Donora until 1922. Realizing that the sisters were outgrowing their motherhouse and that there was a great need for the sisters to minister in Pittsburgh, Bishop Canevin suggested that they relocate. The sisters purchased the Allen estate in West View, a Pittsburgh neighborhood, and moved into a 16-room brick building that had served as the summer home of the Allen family. The facility served as the sisters’ first motherhouse in Pittsburgh. Within a short time, however, ground was broken to build a larger motherhouse to accommodate the growing number of young ladies who continued to enter the community.

Education ministry expands Bishop Hugh Boyle dedicated the new motherhouse on Aug. 14, 1927. Another wing was added to the building in 1942. Bishop Canevin’s vision of the need for sisters to minister in Pittsburgh proved itself true. Schools for the children of immigrants flourished, and the Sisters of the Holy Ghost continued to assume responsibility for many schools. In addition to staffing Holy Ghost Academy and 27 parish schools, they began catechetical classes in parishes where children were unable to attend a Catholic school, but the pastor wanted to provide them with religious instruction. The Holy Ghost sisters also assisted the Franciscan sisters, Divine Providence sisters, Sisters of Mercy, Dominican sisters and the School Sisters of Notre Dame by teaching in some of their schools.

Senior Life 2012

Sisters in the 1950s at Kings Daughters Hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Busy in the Lord’s vineyard By 1931, the sisters had converted the Allen homestead convent into the Bishop Boyle Home for Aged Women. This was a beginning of health care ministry for the sisters. As requests for such care increased, the sisters purchased the Davidson estate in what is now Allison Park. The mansion was named Sisters of the Holy Ghost Guest Home. On weekends, several sisters who taught at Holy Ghost Sister Agnes Cecilia Tutsie poses with students before a Academy traveled to the guest home Christmas performance. to teach art and music to children and adults from the surrounding area. Marian Manor The sisters received an invitation in 1942 to minister at St. Joseph Protectory Construction on a new nursing home for Homeless Boys, which was located began in 1954. The new facility was in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. In a letter named Marian Manor Nursing Home since to Bishop Boyle, Father F.J. Huber, construction began in the Marian year. It superintendent of the protectory, wrote: continues to welcome men and women. “I feel that the presence of nuns and their Initially, Marian Manor had one building example will wield a tremendous influence in which to care for residents. The building over our boys and help us to continue also housed a beautiful chapel and the marvelous work done at the other administrative offices. As requests for institutions from whom we receive the admission increased, additional buildings majority of our boys.” were added to provide for long-term care, The sisters remained there for eight skilled nursing, day-care for children and years until the boys were transferred to the Pauline Auberle Foundation in McKeesport. See One Hundred Years, Page 18

Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 17


Their charism, or gift given by God to be shared with others, emphasizes, in whatever works the sisters do, the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, who seeks to make the love of God present in the world through renewing the hearts of all people. This is the sisters’ way of joining in the mission of Jesus.

Continued from Page 17

adults, an Alzheimer’s unit and an activities building, which, because of the expanded population, also serves as a chapel on weekends. In 2008, Marian Manor Nursing Home became part of the Vincentian Collaborative System. Just as the first Sisters of the Holy Ghost desired to minister to immigrants, in the 1970s Sisters of the Holy Spirit began their ministries to the new immigrants who came to our shores following the war in Vietnam: Cambodians, Hmong and Vietnamese. The Martina Spiritual Renewal Center, which once was home to Holy Ghost High School, was renovated and has served as a retreat center for more than 20 years. As many Catholic parish schools closed, the sisters continue to reach out as pastoral ministers in various parishes. Another ministry, initiated to care for the elderly and needy in a large area in Pittsburgh, is now in its third year. Sisters continue to serve in the teaching and health care ministries even as other needs arise and the sisters step forward to meet them. They know that their ministries need to be sustained by prayer; they are to be “contemplatives in action” as apostolic religious are defined. The sisters have

Remarkable longevity of service

Sister Mary John Cook, principal, and students at Walk-A-Thon for the school.

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18 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine

always maintained an active life of prayer. Eucharistic devotion and daily Mass are central to their spiritual life. Several times a day the sisters gather for prayer in common. They have a special love for the Blessed Mother, and the rosary is one of their devotional practices.

Legacy While many changes have occurred in the congregation throughout these past 100 years, some things have remained stable and a valuable legacy. Throughout the years, the sisters have remained faithful to the church. They have also been deeply devoted to the third person of the Trinity.

A number of sisters have observed their 50th anniversaries with the congregation, including Sister Grace Fabich, general superior, and several have served even longer. Among them are Sister M. DeChantal Serwinski, who celebrated her 60th anniversary in 2011 and collaborates with Sister Bridget Miller, former general superior, to design and sew clothing for the figures in the Pittsburgh Creche. She has a large trunk filled with additional costumes, foreseeing a time when she might no longer be sewing, and she has left instructions that the contents are to be given to Father Ron Lengwin when new costumes are needed for the creche. Sister Mary Richard Mehelich reached her 65th jubilee in 2009, and even in retirement continues to play the violin, organ and paints china. Sister Berchmans Siglow celebrated 75 years with the congregation in April 2012, and died in July, just two months short of her 95th birthday. In addition to a teaching career, she was one of the first sisters assigned to Kings Daughters Hospital in West Virginia as a medical technologist, and after additional education returned there as hospital administrator until it was sold. Sister M. Bernardine Golonka, another diamond jubilarian, also served at the West Virginia hospital as its first director of nursing. Like many other retired sisters in Marian Manor, she continues the mission of Jesus through her prayer ministry, as does Sister M. Cyrilla Czystuch, who celebrated 70 years as a sister in fall 2011. She earlier had been assistant general superior and general secretary of the congregation. Perhaps the most remarkable story is that of Sister M. Loretta Shelby, who has 81 years with the congregation, entering it in 1926, only 13 years after the community was formed. After a long career of teaching, she earned a Library of Science degree and served in a number of schools as librarian, finally retiring to Marian Manor, where she recently celebrated her 100th birthday, coinciding with the centennial

Senior Life 2012

celebration of the Sisters of the Holy Spirit. As the sisters begin this centennial celebration, they thank God for the many blessings they have received. They also ask your prayers for God to send more women who will willingly and generously carry on the mission of Jesus in fidelity to the charism of the Holy Spirit. Sister Grace Fabich, general superior, had the following to say about the centennial: “How do we count 100 years of blessings? We all know that hardships, sufferings, the downturns of life and mistakes are often, in retrospect, blessings in disguise. That is the story of our sisters, who every year for 100 years have learned and relearned, have etched into our hearts the lessons wisdom teaches us about the mystery of life. All of that together with those happier and more obvious times and occurrences we ordinarily call ‘blessings’ make up our history. “On Oct. 21, 2012, we Sisters of the Holy Spirit officially opened a year of celebrating a centenary of blessings as a Pittsburgh diocesan congregation of women religious. It was April 1913, when Most Rev. John Francis Regis Canevin, bishop of Pittsburgh, gave the Sisters of the Holy Spirit our first rule. It was the same day that we were canonically established as a diocesan community of the

Diocese of Pittsburgh. of this. “Our story, though, “The high point of this goes back even further year of remembering through some dimmer will occur on April 14, years of searching and 2013, at the celebration suffering, covering of a special Mass of Russia and Eastern Thanksgiving at 6 p.m. Europe before touching at St. Paul Cathedral in the shores of the Oakland, to which all are United States in 1905. invited. Our sisters came to “You are part of this Pittsburgh in 1911, and celebration of who we within two years the are. You are part of the narrative of these 100 immense blessings Sister Teresa Baldi professes her final years began. Change, we have received over vows Aug. 11, 2012, and has since been blessings, hardships the years through our assigned as religious education coordinator and surprises, all part of church and our diocese, at St. Paul Parish, Butler. life’s journey, were and our schools, parishes, are part of the everyday our works, especially lives of the sisters. Over the past 100 years, with the elderly, and our friendships. May we Sisters of the Holy Spirit lived through all you have many blessings in return.”

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Sister DeChantal dresses one of the Three Kings at the Pittsburgh Creche.

Senior Life 2012

Pittsburgh Catholic 135 First Avenue • Suite 200 Pittsburgh, PA 15222 1-800-392-4670 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 19

St. Kateri Tekakwitha Powerful role model for grace amid hostility By Matthew E. Bunson

“I am no longer my own. I have given myself entirely to Jesus Christ.”

this changed, however, when Tekakwitha was 4 years old. In 1660, her village was stricken by the great plague of the Native Americans, smallpox. The epidemic claimed Tekakwitha’s parents and siblings, and as the sole survivor she was taken into the care of her uncle.

— St. Kateri Tekakwitha On Oct. 21, Pope Benedict XVI canonized seven new saints for the church. One of them was a Native American, a Mohawk maiden by the name of Kateri Tekakwitha. A convert to the Christian faith, St. Kateri is honored as the first Native American saint (joining St. Juan Diego as the first indigenous saints of North America), a patron saint of ecology, a mystic and a demonstration that holiness is not limited by time or culture. The future saint was born in Ossernenon, N.Y., near modern Auriesville and Albany, into the proud traditions of the Mohawk Indians, members of the famed Iroquois League that for several centuries dominated much of the northeastern regions of North America. It is believed that she was born in 1656. The date was significant because it was exactly 10 years after the martyrdoms of St. Isaac Jogues and others in that very village at the hands of her people. Her village, then, was literally a place marked by the blood of the martyrs. Her name was originally Tekakwitha, or Tegarouite (translated by some scholars as meaning “she who puts things in order”), or as Tegahkouita (translated as meaning “one who advances or cuts the way before her”). Her father was a Mohawk chief of some prominence, and her mother was probably an Algonquin woman, named Kahenta, who had been captured during a Mohawk raid, but who had been taken as a wife and given full rights in the Mohawk nation. Tekakwitha’s mother was also a Christian, having been baptized and catechized at the Catholic mission in Quebec, Canada. Kahenta gave her attentions to her children, and the family was a happy one during Tekakwitha’s first years. All of

20 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine

Banner showing St. Kateri Tekakwitha hangs from facade of St. Peter’s Basilica during canonization of seven new saints.

The village was soon moved to Auries’ Creek. The young girl was also left with damaged eyesight, and her face was severely pockmarked. Her poor eyesight made her reluctant to dance and unable to go out much into the direct sunlight. Still, as she grew older, she was also marked as very different for one other reason. Despite the best efforts and pressure from members of the village, including her own family, Tekakwitha refused to marry. In 1668, the Mohawks made peace with the French, and, for the first time in many years, missionaries were able to enter their lands and villages. The priests who arrived

were Jesuits, the famed Blackrobes. The Blackrobes made some converts, despite resistance by many of the Mohawks who saw the French missionaries as invaders. In 1675, a new head of the mission in the village was named, the famed Jesuit priest, Jacques de Lambertville. As he later recounted, one day he went through the village and encountered Tekakwitha in her cabin where she was nursing an injured foot. He talked with her about the Catholic faith, and to his shock she asked immediately to become a Christian. The next year, on April 5, Tekakwitha was baptized and given the name Kateri, after St. Catherine of Siena. The conversion of Kateri created considerable hostility toward her in the village, and she soon fell under severe persecution because of her great fervor and manifest love of the Catholic faith. Father de Lambertville grew concerned for her safety, and in October 1677 Kateri left her village and settled at St. Francis Xavier of Sault St. Louis, a haven for Native American Catholics near Montreal. On Christmas morning that same year, she made her first holy Communion. She was a powerful role model for prayer and contemplation of God and the Eucharist, spent every spare moment in prayer in the mission chapel and sanctified even the menial moments with prayer, offering them up to Christ. Always frail, by spring 1680 her health began to fail severely. She died, with a prayer on her lips, on April 17, 1680, at the age of 24. Her last words were “Jesus, I love you.” By the time of her death, Kateri was already known for her holiness, and word of her passing was expressed across Canada and New York with one simple sentence: “The saint is dead.” What was more, her reputation for saintliness continued to spread in the years after her passing, and miracles and healings were soon reported across New France. Accounts of Kateri’s life were written by several of the Jesuit priests who had served as her spiritual director, heard her confessions and taught her the faith.

Senior Life 2012

Their work certainly had its effect. She became known across eastern Canada and then in Europe, with stories about her reaching the royal court of France. The fall of New France to the armies of England in 1759 prevented the cause of Kateri — and other heroic figures in building the church of Canada — from being developed fully. The restoration of the ecclesiastical life in Canada in the 19th century helped bring to light the powerful legacy of Kateri. In 1884, during the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, the Jesuit fathers asked the bishops of the United States to petition Pope Leo XIII that the causes for canonization be introduced for two Jesuit martyrs, René Goupil and Isaac Jogues, and Kateri Tekakwitha. The “North American martyrs” were canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930, and in 1932 Kateri’s cause for canonization was officially approved by authorities in Rome. To the great joy of Native Americans in Canada and the United States, Kateri was beatified in Rome on June 22, 1980, by Blessed Pope John Paul II. Prayers long continued for her canonization, and on Dec. 19, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI approved a miracle achieved through her intercession. Remarkably, the miracle was of a young Native American boy in Washington state. At her canonization, Pope Benedict XVI said of her: “Kateri impresses us by the action of grace in her life in spite of the absence of external help and by the courage of her vocation, so unusual in her culture. In her, faith and culture enrich each other! May her example help us to live where we are, loving Jesus without denying who we are.”

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Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 21

Filling in the gaps on St. Kateri’s life Book Review

“Saint Kateri: Lily of the Mohawks,� by Matthew and Margaret Bunson. Our Sunday Visitor (800-348-2440), 2012. Paperback. 240 pages. $15.95. By william Hill

and then the growth and development into the 17th century culture of the Native American tribes. The arrival of the Black Robes, as they called the French Jesuit missionaries, as well as other European settlers and fur

This story of the first Native American woman to be named a saint is interesting on several levels. It presents a fascinating look at the arrival of the first Native Americans,


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22 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine


traders, brought about drastic changes to the lives of the Northeastern tribes, especially as the missionaries introduced Catholicism to the New World. The book recounts the conflicts among the numerous European entities â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the Dutch, English and French â&#x20AC;&#x201D; who battled for control of this new land, at times allying with Native Americans and pitting them against one another. Against this background, we find the story of Kateri Tekakwitha, daughter of a Mohawk chief and an Algonquin Christian mother, who lived for only 24 years from 1656-80, and for most of that time suffered from smallpox contracted around 1660, which left her half-blind and her skin heavily pockmarked. Her early exposure to Christianity, and her continued contact with the Jesuit missionaries, led her to a life wholly dedicated to the Catholic faith. She was baptized in 1676 and lived for only four more years, but her effect on the people who knew her, and those who later learned about her, persisted and grew over the centuries. Indeed, as the book recounts, we would know nothing about Kateri had it not been for the remarkable documentation by those French Jesuit missionaries, whose testimony about her devotion, chastity and holy character were a key element in her being canonized on Oct. 21. The struggles of the Jesuits, their being cast out of the church, their reinstatement, the missionaries who became the North American Martyrs, are also detailed in this wide-ranging historical account. Explaining the gap between the more than 300 years that passed since her death and her sainthood is another interesting aspect of this book from veteran Catholic authors Matthew Bunson and his mother, Margaret Bunson, who died earlier this year just as the book was being completed.

Senior Life 2012

Parish book club continues a challenge By Marie Corso Milligan

When St. Therese of Lisieux Parish in Munhall celebrated its 75th anniversary, the main speaker at the dinner challenged us (the parishioners) to read the autobiography of St. Therese. A small group of women took up the challenge, and thus was formed the St. Therese of Lisieux Book Club in 2001. After we read and discussed the autobiography, we enjoyed the experience so much that we decided to stay together as a book club. Initially we read spiritual and religious books, but as time progressed the group decided that we would read secular and spiritual books. The discussions have always been vigorous, and they often touch on much more than the book itself. After more than a decade, the core group of about 12 women still meets four or five times yearly to choose, read and discuss a book. In addition to the intellectual stimulus of discussing the books, we find equal pleasure in socializing and giving support in many life areas to each other. Over the years some of the books we have read are: • “The Secret Life of the Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd. • “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom. • “The Threshold of Hope” by Pope John Paul II. • “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” by Kim Edwards. • “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini. • “My Life With the Saints” by James Martin. • “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen. • “Joshua and the Children” by Joseph Girzone. • “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant. • “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls. • “Pierced by a Sword” by Bud McFarlane. Milligan is a retired primary-grade teacher at St. Therese of Lisieux School.

Senior Life 2012

St. Therese of Lisieux Book Club members gathered for their fall meeting.

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Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 23

Ten Tips for Safe Walking in Snow and Ice

By Martin B. Tirado Falls account for more than 1 million injuries in the U.S. annually. There are four types of walking accidents, with the most common being the slip and fall. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the type of fall that happens due to a surface not cleared of snow or ice. Every winter the hazards of driving in snow and icy conditions are noted, but rarely is walking on snow and ice addressed. Slipping and falling while walking accounts for a large number of winter-related injuries and can have an impact on the quality of life for the injured person. SIMA, the national nonprofit organization representing the snow removal industry, has some tips on safe winter walking. 1. Wear proper footwear. Proper footwear should place the entire foot on the surface of the ground and have visible treads. Avoid a smooth sole and opt for a heavy treaded shoe with a flat bottom. 2. Accessorize to see and be seen. Wear sunglasses so that you can see in the reflective light of the snow. Also, wear a bright coat or scarf so that drivers can easily see you. 3. Plan ahead. While walking on snow or ice on sidewalks or in parking lots, walk consciously. Instead of looking down, look up and see where your feet will move next to anticipate ice or an uneven

24 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine

surface. Occasionally scan from left to right to ensure you are not in the way of vehicles or other hazards. 4. Make sure you can hear. While seeing the environment is important, you also want to be sure you can hear approaching traffic and other noises. Avoid listening to music or engaging in conversation that may prevent you from hearing oncoming traffic or snow removal equipment. 5. Anticipate ice. Be wary of thin sheets of ice that may appear as wet

pavement (black ice). Often ice will appear in the morning, in shady spots or where the sun shines during the day and melted snow refreezes at night. 6. Walk steps slowly. When walking down steps, be sure to grip handrails firmly and plant your feet securely on each step. 7. Enter a building carefully. When you get to your destination, such as school, work, shopping center, etc., be sure to look at the floor as you enter the building. The floor may be wet with melted snow and ice. 8. Be careful when you shift your weight. When stepping off a curb or getting into a car, be careful since shifting your weight may cause an imbalance and result in a fall. 9. Avoid taking shortcuts. Shortcuts are a good idea if you are in a hurry, but may be a bad idea if there is snow and ice on the ground. A shortcut path may be treacherous because it is likely to be located where snow and ice removal is not possible. 10. Look up. Be careful about what you walk under. Injuries also can result from falling snow/ice as it blows, melts or breaks away from awnings, buildings, etc. Following these tips will help ensure that you survive the snow and ice season safely. For more snow and ice removal tips, visit Tirado is executive director of the Snow & Ice Management Association Inc.

Senior Life 2012

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Senior Life 2012

Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 25

Tips for Safe Snow Shoveling By Martin B. Tirado

Look for the next issue of Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine...

... coming in February 2013! 26 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine

A 2011 study published in Clinical Research in Cardiology revealed that shoveling snow actually does increase the risk of a having a heart attack. The study looked at 500 people and found that 7 percent started experiencing symptoms of heart problems while shoveling snow. The cardiologists conducting the Canadian study felt that while 7 percent is significant, there could be as many as double that number given the fact that the patients may not have connected their heart problems with snow shoveling. Today, at the start of the 2012-13 snow season, the Snow & Ice Management Association, the national nonprofit organization representing the snow removal industry, is suggesting seven tips for safe snow shoveling. While heart attacks may be the most serious consequence of shoveling snow, there are other even more common health risks, including dehydration, back injuries, pulled muscles, broken bones and frostbite. But the good news is there are ways to safely shovel snow. Here are SIMA’s safe snow shoveling tips:

1. Stay on top of the snow. No, we aren’t suggesting that you make snow angels, but when there’s a heavy snow the best advice is to stay ahead of the storm. SIMA recommends that to prevent snow and ice from adhering to the sidewalk or street, clear the snow every few inches instead of waiting for the snow to stop falling before you head outdoors. 2. Wear breathable layers. Layering is typical cold weather advice. We suggest wearing layers of loose clothing so you can peal a layer off if you get hot. Avoid wearing heavy wools, manmade materials or other materials that don’t allow perspiration to evaporate. Better choices are cotton and silk. 3. Watch your feet. No, you aren’t on “Dancing with the Stars,” but nonetheless you need to pay attention to what’s on your feet when heading outdoors to shovel snow. SIMA suggests wearing quality outdoor winter wear such as waterproof boots with good traction. Good traction is critical to ensuring that you don’t slip and fall. 4. Take a few minutes to stretch. Shoveling snow is a workout, so you need to stretch to warm up your muscles, particularly because you are shoveling snow

Senior Life 2012

in cold weather. Stretching before you start shoveling will help prevent injury and fatigue. 5. Push, don’t lift. Sounds like something a high school wrestling coach may say, but if you push the snow to the side rather than trying to lift the snow to remove it, you exert less energy, thereby placing less stress on your body. 6. Drink up! Water, that is. SIMA recommends taking frequent breaks and staying hydrated. You should drink water as if you were enduring a tough workout at the gym or running five miles. 7. Don’t play in traffic. Sometimes people get so focused on the task at hand they don’t pay attention to their surroundings. When shoveling snow near streets, pay attention to the traffic since vehicles may not have good traction in the snow and ice. 8. Call and text. We’re not suggesting that you make calls and text while shoveling snow, but it is important to have your cell phone on you so you can make a call in an emergency. Following these tips will help ensure that you survive and thrive through winter 2012-13. For more snow and ice removal tips, visit

Tirado is executive director of the Snow & Ice Management Association Inc.

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Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 27

Catholic jazz pianist Dave Brubeck had strong ties to church By MARK PATTISOn Catholic News Service

WASHINIGTON — Dave Brubeck, the influential and prolific pianist whose composition “Take Five” became a standard in the annals of jazz, died Dec. 5 at age 91, one day before his 92nd birthday. Brubeck played his “cool” brand of West Coast jazz before Blessed John Paul II and eight presidents. He became a Catholic in 1980 after completing a commission from Our Sunday Visitor — a Mass Jazz musician and composer Dave Brubeck at the piano titled “To Hope.” Brubeck in his home in Wilton, Conn. said in a PBS biographical profile, “I didn’t convert to Catholicism, because I wasn’t anything to convert from. I just joined the Catholic Church.” He received the Laetare Medal from the University of Notre Dame and the Christophers’ Life Achievement Award, both in 2006, and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996. He got an honorary degree in sacred theology from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland in 2004. Brubeck also received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2009 for his contributions to American culture and the arts. Call or stop in for a tour! Over a half-century, Brubeck and his band gave concerts in foreign lands during Specializing in: goodwill tours. He was honored by the State • Recuperation Department in 2008 for his efforts. He formed the Dave Brubeck Quartet • Rehabilitation in 1951 and kept the combo going, with • Residential Living different musicians, through 1967. It was during this period that he co-founded • Respite Fantasy Records, had his first huge hit with “Take Five” (credited to his saxophonist, Paul Desmond), and toured regularly despite recording up to four albums a year. 800 Elsie Street, Turtle Creek, PA 15145 Later versions of the group after it re412-825-9000 formed included his four sons and even his grandsons.

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28 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine

Brubeck originally turned down the commission for “To Hope” since he wasn’t a Catholic then, but Ed Murray, then the editor of Our Sunday Visitor, “just wouldn’t take no for an answer,” Brubeck said. “When I’d say I didn’t know anything about the Mass, he’d say, ‘Exactly what I want, it’s a fresh view. Somebody who will come in and just look at this with fresh eyes.’” Brubeck said. He eventually told Murray, “I’ll do it if you have some very knowledgeable Catholic people — I’ll write three parts of the Mass — and if they like it, then I’ll continue.” After they listened to what he had written, the word came: “Tell Dave to continue and don’t change a note.” As for “On This Rock,” which he composed for the 1987 visit of Blessed John Paul to San Francisco, he was also reluctant, Brubeck told CNS. “I wouldn’t accept that. They called me late in the evening and they needed an answer right away, the next day,” he recalled. “So I said no, and then I asked for the text. And the text was ‘Upon this rock I will build my church and the jaws of hell cannot prevail against it.’ So I’m thinking, ‘Now they want nine minutes on this one sentence. How am I going to do that?’ “I went to bed and in the middle of the night I thought the only way to do this is how Bach would have done it — with a chorale and fugue. We can use the words over and over. I was dreaming the subject of the fugue,” Brubeck continued. “And when I woke up I said, ‘Jeez, I’ve got it. This is the way I can do it, is with a chorale and fugue.’ I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written.” Among Brubeck’s favorite jazzmen were Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and a fellow pianist-bandleader, Art Tatum. Brubeck was chagrined when, in 1954, he became only the second jazz musician after Armstrong to grace the cover of Time magazine, believing such an honor more rightly belonged to someone like Ellington. Brubeck, a native of Concord, Calif., and a veteran of World War II, was active at his craft until his death. His last album release was a live recording, “The Last Time Out,” in 2011.

Senior Life 2012


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Senior Life 2012

Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 29

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30 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine

Senior Life 2012




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Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 31

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2012, December, Senior Life Magazine  

Pittsburgh Catholic Senior Life -

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