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Celebration at Carney Hospital

“There’s promise in the fresh spring winds
That sweep across the country hills,
And nature gives a gently nudge
To wake the sleeping daffodils.”
By Alice Peterson Weatherly

Mother Nature certainly woke up the daffodil bulbs outside the Murphy School. As Hubby and I walked over to the Pope’s Hill meeting last Wednesday evening, the daffodils were dancing in the strong winds outside the school. The Murphy gets full sun most of the day so that helps the bulbs flower. Our bulbs are not so far along as the Murphy’s because we don’t get as much full sun. Inside our home, the red amaryllis, sitting on a table in the front hall, has finished flowering, much to our dismay. Hubby took a few photos of the amaryllis in full bloom so that we can remember it.

Thanks to a kind invitation from Nancy Lafoe, Director of Community Partnerships and Mission, Hubby and I were invited to attend the Irish Heritage Celebration for the employees of Carney Hospital on Mar. 18. We arrived fairly early, about 11:45 a.m., and sat near the door because I had to leave for a doctor’s appointment at 1 p.m. Nancy herself welcomed us to the celebration. Workers had already placed a good-sized piece of Irish bread at each plate. We had a chance to chat with Sr. Margaret McSweeney DC (Daughters of Charity), who volunteers several days a week at the hospital. I asked if Sr. Paula Tinlin would join us at the celebration but was told she was out of town. The workers then came around with dishes of lamb stew and asked if we wanted some. We declined because it was a Friday of Lent. Then they came around with dishes of macaroni and cheese. Sr. Margaret sat with us as we ate the meatless dish.

Then Nancy Lafoe returned to the microphone and welcomed the ever-increasing number of people to Cushing Auditorium. She introduced those who would entertain us for the hour. Bill Walczak, the new president of Carney Hospital, was one of the three musicians. He was joined by Joel Abrams and Rob Atterbury, both from the Dorchester House. Joining them also was Mairin “Maureen” Keady, whom we had heard singing at the St. Patrick’s Day Mass at St. Brendan’s the previous day. Maureen told the crowd that March was Irish Heritage Month. She said that she was originally from County Galway and that she was now from the Adams Village area. She proudly mentioned that 12,000 people had attended the Irish Festival at Adams Village on the Sunday of the Columbus Day weekend last fall.

Then Bill, Joel, and Rob began playing their guitars while Maureen sang (one performer even played the harmonica). Maureen mentioned the legendary Grace O’Malley, an Irish pirate and seafarer during the 1500s. (Grace was born in County Mayo; “God help her!”) They sang and played for most of the hour. I particularly liked Danny Boy and Finnegan’s Wake. Bill made all of us laugh when he said that the only performer at the microphones who had Irish roots was Maureen herself. Sr. Margaret, during the Irish music, pointed out to me that Mary Richardson, formerly of WCVB-TV, Channel 5, was standing at the side of the auditorium. (Last March, Mary left Ch. 5 after 30 years, 25 of them on the “Chronicle” program.) Mary is now a community liaison for the Steward Healthcare System, which recently purchased Carney Hospital and the other Caritas hospitals. Unfortunately, Hubby and I were sorry that we had to leave Carney’s Irish Heritage celebration a little early because of my doctor’s visit. By the way, it was good seeing my cousin Diane Horgan at the celebration.

Did you know that 20 of our U.S. presidents have Irish roots: George Washington, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, James Polk, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. Bush, William Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Six presidents had family from Antrim; one, from County Clare; one from Cork; one from Derry; one from Donegal, three from Down; one from Fermanagh; one from Monaghan; two from Tipperary; two from Tyrone; three from County Wexford and one from Offaly.

On Saturday afternoon, Mar. 19, Hubby and I were on our way to Attleboro to attend the 80th-birthday celebration for Hubby’s sister Peg. The party, complete with dinner, was at the home of Peg’s daughter, our niece Terri. When we arrived, Terri welcomed us. Our daughter Sue was already there because she had arrived on Friday to help Terri with the preparations. Terri, who enjoys cooking, had the corned beef dinner well underway when we arrived.

Soon the birthday gal Peg came in with her youngest son/our nephew David, his wife Mary, and their daughter Renee. Peg’s second son/our nephew Steve, his wife Judi, and their kids, Steve Jr. and Ashley, also joined us. Also joining us was one of Terri’s cats. The other cat stayed in Terri’s bedroom and wouldn’t come into the living room.

The table was already set with the good dishes and silverware. Soon a platter of corned beef was placed on the table. So were all the veggies: boiled potatoes, cabbage, carrots, and turnip. There were all types of soda and even decaf coffee. A couple of members of the family did not care to eat the boiled dinner, which is Peg’s favorite birthday meal, so they sent out for subs and sandwiches, We all ate heartily but we remembered that we had to save room for dessert.

Out came a big rum cake, beautifully decorated. I hadn’t seen a rum cake in 10 years; mostly likely it was at Peg’s 70th birthday party. I did have a small piece—“to make sure it was not poisoned.” It tasted great, just as though it had been made in one of the fabulous bakeries in the North End but I discovered it was from a bakery in Attleboro. Peg received some wonderful gifts in honor of her very special birthday. She particularly loved her new Pandora bracelet. She also received clothing and other jewelry. Before everyone left, Terri gave each family enough corned beef and vegetables to use for dinner on Sunday. It was a great day and a lovely 80th birthday celebration for Peg.

I was delighted to read, in St. Gregory’s Bulletin, that Sr. Mary Mulligan, SND, is being honored by the Notre Dame Education Center on Apr. 14, with the “Mary Shaughnessey Inspiration Award” for her 50-year legacy of service to the South Boston community. We know Sr. Mary because she used to come to the Pope’s Hill High School Information Day. Congratulations, Sr. Mary.

I was sorry to read that William “Billy” Feeney passed away on Mar. 17. Bill was the husband of the late Ann “Nancy” (Feeney) McDonough, Hubby’s and my classmate from State Teachers’ College at Boston. Bill was a member of the McKeon Post and a former member of the Board of Directors of Boston Edison’s Employees’ Credit Union. He was a veteran of World War II. I send my sympathy to Billy and Nancy’s children: William, Christopher, and Michael. They were also the parents of the late Maura Feeney.

I was sorry to read of the death of Ronald “Ron” Conway, a retired captain in the Boston Police Dept. We members of Pope’s Hill had a great relationship with Ron when he was stationed at District C-11. Ron accomplished quite a few things after he was at District C. He retired as Captain at Police Area A-1 Command. He was a former Deputy Superintendent. He spearheaded Community Policing efforts. He was a former professor at BU, Curry College, and Quincy College. He graduated from Don Bosco High School, Suffolk U., Curry College, Boston State College, and earned his doctoral degree in education from Boston University. He was a retired Marine (Vietnam era). Each time he renewed his subscription to the Reporter, he would call the paper and chat with me for a few minutes. I send my sympathy to his wife Pat and their children: Ronald Jr., Christopher, Kara Norton, and Gregory.

I was also saddened to read of the death of Mary “Fitzie” (Fitzgerald) Finneran on Mar. 19. Mary was the mother of William, Mary, Robert, former Speaker of the House Tommy, Lawrence, Paul, and Katherine Barkowski. A few years ago, when our daughter Sue received her master’s from Emmanuel, Mary and Tommy were at the graduation ceremony because she was a graduate of the college. I send my sympathy to all Mary’s children, especially to Tommy.

I was sorry to hear that WBZ Radio’s Steve LeVeille lost his mother Virginia “Ginny” on Mar. 11. He was off the air for about a week for the wake and funeral. Steve will now be off the air for a week and a one-half or so because he is having shoulder surgery. I think I heard him say that he has bursitis in both shoulders. Morgan White Jr. filled in for Steve when he was out for his mother’s death. He will probably fill in for some of the time that Steve is out following surgery. (I never call into Morgan’s games and trivia quizzes at 4 a.m. every time he is on WBZ. My brain is still half asleep.)
I laughed at this saying, from an unknown author: “Never iron a four-leaf-clover because you don’t want to press your luck.”