Friday, October 2, 2015

Remembering Father Benedict One Year Later

For Franciscans October 3rd is a day of death. Every year we gather on this anniversary to remember the passing of Saint Francis. That Father Benedict would pass on this day was surely a sign.

For me it is also the anniversary of my mom’s passing. As she lay dying of cancer at 47 years of age, she shared with me that she was offering her suffering for my vocation. I had only been a friar for two years at the time. That my mom would pass on this day was surely a sign.

Like a concerned grandfather, Fr. Benedict kindly reached out to me in my grief. I will never forget his tenderness and concern. He took me under his wing for a while as I was recruited to be his “driver.” So many others could tell a similar story. As I shared in the adventures of life with Father Benedict he shared in my sorrow and guided me towards hope.

When I had my own scare with cancer Father Benedict was there for me again. Although he possessed a towering intellect, he could speak directly from the heart. His presence and prayers were a huge consolation. He could always use humor to lighten the burden. My fear broke and I burst into laughter when he told me (in that famous Jersey City accent), “There’s nothing that helps you focus like a loaded gun pointed at your head! Pray for the rest of us who don’t realize we are dying.” It was exactly what I needed to hear.

Father Benedict we miss you, thank you and pray for us.

- Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
Yonkers, NY

Father Benedict serving at our South Bronx Homeless Shelter

At the March for Life

Father's food and gift give out during Thanksgiving
Father was a friend and adviser to Mother Teresa
Father touched millions through his popular EWTN shows

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