An Ecumenical, Spiritual, and Charitable Community
Mary Esperance Reed Jackson
August 13, 1912-February 23, 2004
Our very first donor...
"Mother Mary" to all of us...
She carried us in her heart and soul continuously,
as we shall always carry her.
Sr. Cindy Angela de Foligno
November 29, 1956-September 29, 2004
Lover of people...
Ebullient, passionate, stubborn, committed, hilarious child of God...
Treasurer, Board of Trustees...
With us, one and all, forever and ever... Amen.
Br. O'Neal Joseph
[H. O'Neal Turner]
September 2, 1954-June 20, 2005
Blessed as an O.C.W. monk on September 21, 2003,
at the Memorial Chapel,
Husband to Debbie
Father to O'Neal III and Ashley
A vital part of our work and ministry
Follower of the Christ
Tireless supporter of children of the poor
Intimate, devoted friend
Mentor to thousands
Counselor to all
Teacher, author, scholar
Passionate advocate for excellence
Ardent partisan for the poor
Notre Dame leprechaun
We continue to carry his counsel and his laughter
in our hearts....
Br. Michael Simon [Michael Dwinell] February 20, 1943-March 23, 2009
Blessed as an O.C.W. Monk at St. Dismas House in Tyler, Texas, on September 26, 1999
He who gave us the encouragement to persevere Spiritual madman/shaman/director Lover and animator of people Hilarious...with a wondrous laugh Brilliant Author of books and ideas Harvard lineman [even with asthma!] Acclaimed speaker and retreat leader and spiritual shepherd Intimate...and outrageous Husband, father, brother, grandfather Agitator of hopes and possibilities Pilot...of planes and lives Instigator of wonder A soul who will be missed...forever
For the past sixteen years, we have had the honor, the struggle, and the blessing of living with hundreds of folks who were--and are--infected with HIV/AIDS. We are, of course, deeply thankful for the newer drugs which have alleviated much of the ubiquitous death which surrounded us in the years 1993-1999... and yet we continue to carry our fallen brothers and sisters in our hearts and prayers of gratitude.
A few years ago, Fr. Tom wrote the following "poem" for a World AIDS Day memorial service, and he has added to it since then, as each memorial ribbon has been added to the St. Dismas Cross. These are only a few of the dear folks who have died amongst us...and we remember that The Christ always comes to us in the stranger's guise: Jerry J. was very serious, but when he laughed, he laughed till he cried; and Donnie went to his last Halloween party dressed in Fr. Tom's black shirt and white collar; and Vera held her grandchildren in her lap; and Mark loved being totally outrageous; and Richard would quietly listen to all of our life stories; and Francis didn't want us to know how painful it all was; and Terry C. was a computer whiz masquerading as a renegade; and George wanted to tell his life story on the Oprah Show; and Terry P. showed people how to sing beautifully; and Jerry R. went blind, only to see better; and Tim simply wanted to be touched by someone; and Bob would stand in a doorway of St. Dismas, with a warm cup of coffee and a warmer smile; and Kim simply adored her kids; and Mac was a kind and gentle man; and Tommy wanted so much to be a good mate; and Bruce didn't want to ever leave Michael; and Keith would ride the Six Flags roller-coaster 20 times in a row; and Howard fought against the plague like a warrior; and Danny played softball with us, dressed in a gorgeous white tennis outfit; and James said goodbye quietly; and Arlene was angry as hell, not wanting to leave her child; and Rusty became his wondrous self, before our very eyes; and Kenny wore lots of silver bracelets; and Carey was so excited about everything in life; and Ed just went about his business; and John seemed to take everyone he met straight to his heart; and Stewart offered no welcome to Mr. Death; and Ociel held his newborn namesake above him and cried with utter joy; and Gene simply wanted people to love him; and Susan wanted to be a real, live cowgirl; and Robert just tried to be Robert; and Saidrick said he was going to the store, returning days later, laughing in his red bandana; and Arthur sometimes slept at night on our picnic table; and Phyllis was determined to be the best mom she could possibly be; and Zane loved to raise birds and animals; and Michael brought us the magic of love and eloquence; and Ronnie cried when he was scared; and Isaac went away sadly; and Joel wondered why he was loved; and William R. was the brother you might have wished for; and Cowboy was really a cowboy; and Mark loved to shoot pool in our garage; and Joe decided to let us love him; and Jerry P. rushed about trying to make everyone okay; and Gail just kept trying to make some sense out of the nonsense; and David was the boy next door who tried to hide from love; and Marion wanted to lead everyone to the Promised Land; and Mike thought that we could all be brothers and sisters in this outrageous war... And there were so many more---brothers and sisters, all---who gave us gifts we didn't always deserve...and memories worth a lifetime. Amen.