Class of 1959

We, the Class of 1959, celebrated our 50th class reunion on April 24 and 25, 2009. This blog is about sharing memories of our class reunions and a long ago life at our Alma Mater's, S.F.X.A. and S.A.H.S. Good memories of days gone by but not forgotten! A gift to my classmates. ~Marian Love Phillips ~

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Survivor ~ Sister Mary Patricia, RSM

Sister Mary Patricia, a Religious Sister of Mercy, used to laughingly describe herself as a tourist attraction.

She was sacristan at St. Paul Cathedral for 36 years and at the Mercy Sister’s mother house on Barry Road. But many years before she came to Worcester she was involved in one of the great sea tragedies in history.

Her name was Ellen Mockler, before she became a nun, and her older sister lived in New York City. She said she decided to leave her native Galway in Ireland, and come to the United States “for the adventure of it,” she could not have imagined the adventure, and the tragedy, she was about to experience.

She and four of her friends, three boys and a girl, boarded the RMS Titanic in April 1912, for its maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. It was a smooth crossing until 11:40 p.m. April 14, 100 years ago tomorrow.

Then the Titanic, one of the biggest ships ever built, a ship that was called “unsinkable,” scraped an iceberg that ripped a hole in its starboard (right) side. It later was said that if the damage had been confined to four or even five so-called watertight compartments, the ship might have survived.
But six compartments were torn open, and the Titanic was doomed. About 2 1/2 hours after the collision, the huge ship broke in half and sank. Of the 2,224 passengers and ship’s crew on board, 1,513 drowned or died from exposure  in the frigid water. Only 711 survived.

Ellen Mockler was one of them. She and her friends were cabin-class passengers.

This is the story she told The Catholic Free Press in an interview in 1953.

When the collision occurred, “I heard a slight noise above and a slight jar. Then there was a great deal of talking and shouting.”

She and her friends, along with many others, went to a public room on the ship and sat for about an hour.

“Most people didn’t know what had happened or, if they did, how extensive the damage was,” she said.

“One of the boys scouted about and learned exactly what had happened and then took us to the first class deck where there was all sorts of confusion, and where they were trying to lower the lifeboats.

“This same boy then knelt down and started the rosary. Most of the people around joined in, then two priests who were aboard gave absolution.

(She did not identify the priests and perhaps there were several on board the Titanic. What is known is that there was a priest on board named Father John Montvilas. He was Lithuanian and was on his way from Rome to be pastor of a new  parish in Athol which was to be opened for Lithuanian Catholics. He  did not survive the sinking.  The opening of that parish was the next year, 1913, when Father Francis Meskauskas from Lithuania arrived in Athol be the founding pastor of that new parish, which was named St. Francis after his patron saint.)

“I remember that someone very excitedly announced that a boat was coming to our rescue, and that this friend from Galway said calmly ‘we’ll finish the rosary.’”

She said she didn’t know how it happened, but she was put into the last lifeboat to leave the ship.“They didn’t let it down slowly by the pulley ropes, but cut the rope and let the boat fall into the water because there was so little time. We were in the water only 15 or 20 minutes when the Titanic sank out of sight.”

Three of her four Galway friends, all  the boys, were lost with it. She told The Catholic Free Press that the 10 or 15 passengers in the canvas lifeboat with her were afraid that they would be sucked  under water and drowned when the Titanic sank. They rowed frantically to avoid that.

Then, after a while, their lifeboat began to leak. A woman on board stuffed her hat into the hole.“Why she was wearing a hat, I don’t know, but it probably saved our lives,” she said.

They were in the lifeboat from about 1:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. when they were rescued by the passenger liner Carpathia, which had  heard the Titanic’s wireless calls for help, had steamed about 60 miles to the scene and pulled survivors from lifeboats and the water.

The wireless, invented by Guillermo Marconi, was in its infancy then and ships that had them did not keep their wireless rooms operational for 24 hours a day, and ships closer to the Titanic than the Carpathia did not respond to her CQD distress calls. CQ was code for “anyone listening,” and the D was code for “distress.” It later was replaced by the universal distress call, three dots, three dashes and three dots – SOS.

The fact that the Carpathia’s wireless operator was on duty and heard the Titanic’s CQD distress call was responsible for many lives being saved.

“They were wonderful to us on that ship,” she said. “There wasn’t nearly enough food to go around, they had picked up so many. But they shared everything with us.”

The Carpathia arrived in New York four days later. She was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City and, two days later, was discharged. She said she never thought to let authorities know she survived the Titanic’s sinking, so her parents in Ireland and her sister in New York were grief-stricken when her name appeared on a list of the missing.

She said her sister refused to believe she was dead. She enlisted the help of her parish priest and they went to the hospital several times until they were able to locate her and her one friend from Galway who had survived. They sent cable messages back to her family and friends in Galway, assuring them that she was alive. But her name continued  to appear on lists of the missing for some time.

She worked for the National Biscuit Factory in New York for five years. Then a Jesuit from Worcester, Father Leo Butler, told her about the Sisters of Mercy in his hometown. She came to Worcester in 1917 and joined the Order. She died in 1984 at age 95 and is buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Leicester.

Mercy Sister Frances Carberry and Mercy Sister Mary Regis Reardon both knew Sister Mary Patricia. Both said she had a delightful sense of humor and was very popular in her community. They said she would talk about her Titanic experience but didn’t dwell on it.

An article in The Mercy Word, a newsletter that was published by the Sisters of Mercy at Barry Road in 1979, said that “still full of life and joy, even in retirement, Sister Mary Patricia delights in her cup of tea and her regular Saturday trips to McDonald’s. Little did she realize as she reluctantly climbed into that lifeboat in 1912 that an order of fries would bring her joy in her old age. We, her Sisters, thank God for this life – a true gift of the Lord to the Sisters of Mercy and to the total Church.”

By William T. Clew

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Happy Trails My Friends


The young guns may not understand the meaning of this, but you should!
The Roy Rogers Museum in Branson, MO has closed its doors forever. The contents of the museum were sold at a public auction. Roy Rogers told his son, if the museum ever operates at a loss, close it, and sell the contents.
He complied. Note the follow-on article is truly the end of an era.
Here is a partial listing of some of the items that were sold at auction.
Roy's 1964 Bonneville sold for $254,500. It was estimated to sell between 100 and 150 thousand dollars.
His script book from the January 14,1953 episode of This Is Your Life sold for $10,000 (EST. $800-$1,000).
A collection of signed baseballs (Pete Rose, Duke Snyder, and other greats) sold for $3,750.
A collection of signed bats (Yogi Berra,Enos Slaughter, Bob Feller, and others) sold for $2,750.
Trigger 's saddle and bridle sold for $386,500.
One of many of Roy's shirts sold for $16,250 and one of his many cowboy hats sold for $17,500.
One set of boot spurs sold for $10,625. (He never used a set of spurs on Trigger).
A life size shooting gallery sold for $27,500.
Various chandeliers sold from $6,875 to $20,000, very unique and artistic in their western style.
A signed photograph by Don Larsen taken during his perfect game in the world series against the Dodgers on Oct. 8, 1953, along with a signed baseball to Roy from Don, sold for $2,500.
Two fabulous limited edition BB guns in their original boxes with numerous photos of Roy, Dale, Gabby, and Pat sold for $3,750.
A collection of memorabilia from his shows entertaining the troops in Vietnam sold for $938. I never knew he was there.
His flight jacket sold for $7,500.
His set of dinnerware plates and silverware sold for $11,875.
The Bible they used at the dinner table every night sold for $8,750.
One of several of his guitars sold for $27,500.
Nellybelle sold for $116,500.
A fabulous painting of Roy, Dale, Pat, Buttermilk, Trigger, and Bullet sold for $10,625.
One of several sets of movie posters sold for $18,750.
A black and white photograph of Gene Autry with a touching inscription from Gene to Roy sold for $17,500.
A Republic Productions Poster bearing many autographs of the people that played in Roy's movies sold for $11,875.
Dale's horse, Buttermilk (whose history is very interesting) sold below the presale estimate for $25,000. (EST. 30-40 thousand).
Bullet sold for $35,000 (EST. 10-15 thousand). He was their real pet.
Dale's parade saddle, estimated to sell between 20-30 thousand, sold for $104,500.
One of many pairs of Roy's boots sold for $21,250.
Trigger sold for $266,500.
Do you remember the 1938 movie The Adventures of Robinhood, with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland?
Well, Olivia rode Trigger in that movie.
Trigger was bred on a farm co-owned by Bing Crosby. Roy bought  Trigger on a time payment plan for $2,500.
Roy and Trigger made 188 movies together.
Trigger even outdid Bob Hope by winning an Oscar in the movie Son of  Paleface in 1953.
It is extremely sad to see this era lost forever. Despite the fact that Gene and Roy's movies, as well as those  of other great characters, can be bought or rented for viewing,
today's kids would rather spend their time playing video games.
Today it takes a very special pair of parents to raise their kids with the right values and morals.
These were the great heroes of our childhood, and they did teach us right from wrong, and how to have and show respect for each other and the animals that share this earth.
You and I were born at the right time. We were able to grow up with these great people even if we never met them.
In their own way they taught us patriotism and honor. We learned that lying and cheating were bad, and that sex wasn't as important as love.
We learned how to suffer through disappointment and failure and work through it.
Our lives were drug free.
So it's good-bye to Roy and Dale, Gene and Hoppy, the Lone Ranger, and Tonto.
Farewell to Sky King and Superman and Sgt.Friday.
Thanks to Capt. Kangaroo, Mr. Rogers, and Capt. Noah and all those people whose lives touched ours, and made them better.
It was a great ride through childhood.
P.S. Don't share this with anyone under 50.....
they won't understand or care!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Prayers For Vera Ann Franco

Word was received from Vera Ann Franco's sister, Anna Marie, that on March 19, Vera Ann had a stroke on her left side and is in the hospital with high blood pressure, slurred speech and facial paralysis to a small degree.  No further updates since the 20th but will post Vera Ann's progress here and please keep her in your daily prayers and thoughts.   

Update on Vera in her own words.  Sent to me on April 2, 2017

I had a small stroke on March 19...but with 4 head injuries...not really surprising...the 12 tests were hell and no report on them... used my mobile alert button...but not fast enough so I called 911 myself...two EMT women were lovely...tho my hand and arm are a mess since they cannot do IVs easily...ever on me...lost my is back but hidden in feeling sick with chronic viruses I had in 2000.

4 days in hospital then nursing home--rehab--10 days...back today in condo...home health ---.still ill....on Coumadin blood thinner...hate how it effects me...but have to go with it...cannot afford the 350 a month.

Sisters of Mercy ~ Vicksburg Riverfront Mural

Dedicated:  January 17, 2004
SPONSOR:  Sisters of Mercy, St. Louis Region       

"A Century of Christian Service to Man and God"

The Sisters of Mercy have contributed to the health, education, and spiritual well-being of the residents of Vicksburg since the arrival of six nuns in 1860.

The Cobb House (c. 1830) became their first home and a school for 70 students.  During the Civil War, the Sisters closed the school to travel throughout Mississippi nursing both Union and Confederate soldiers.

After the war, the Sisters reopened the school and continued their ministry of nursing in the decades following, nursing the city's residents through several yellow fever epidemics. 

Their nursing contributions expanded over the years to include a nursing school and to culminate in the modern Mercy Hospital.  
The Sisters continued to expand their spiritual mission by building a convent in 1868 to house their ever-growing number of nuns, a building that is one of the best examples of Gothic Revival architecture in Mississippi.

The "Sisters School" also continued to expand with the construction of an auditorium in 1885 and an academy building in 1937.

The Sisters of Mercy have left a lasting legacy in Vicksburg.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Civil War Talk - Sisters of Mercy

I found this link by one of my friends, Robert Allen Jackson, on Facebook of a forum called Civil War Talk about Some Of Our Sisters - Sisters of Mercy with pictures.

Sister Cecelia

He said, The Cobb House (c. 1830) became their first home and a school for 70 students. The "Sisters School" also continued to expand with the construction of an auditorium in 1885 and an academy building in 1937.
   (Click here to check it out)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Very First School In Vicksburg, MS!


In late 1860, six Sisters of Mercy, led by Sister Mary DeSales Browne, traveled half-way across the country from Baltimore to a tiny river city called Vicksburg, located near the border of Mississippi and Louisiana. Father F. X. Leray had called on them to educate the children of the city, who had no access to education – not even a public school. The Sisters opened the town’s first school less than a week after arriving.

In 1860, the Sisters founded the very first school in Vicksburg, St. Francis Xavier Academy.

Nearly two years later, the school was shuttered as Sisters and families fled into the hills to avoid the cannon fire of the Civil War. After about a month, the Sisters returned to find their former school filled with sick and injured soldiers. They immediately began providing nursing care. During the heaviest battles, the injured were removed to areas of safety and the Sisters accompanied them to continue their care.

In 1864, Mother Mary DeSales Browne returned to Vicksburg and reopened the school with 200 students and only four Sisters.

In 1878, when a particularly harsh epidemic of yellow fever broke out in Vicksburg, Mother Mary DeSales Browne took over City Hospital, where the Sisters nursed as many as 300 patients a day.
In 1943, the Sisters assumed operations of a hospital, which they renamed Mercy Hospital. During their 48 years of service, it was designated a Regional Pediatric Polio Center and treated victims of numerous natural disasters. The Sisters served there until 1991, when Mercy sold the hospital to Quorum Health Care.

Today Mercy ministers in Mississippi through the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program (MHAP) in Jackson, Mississippi. MHAP was started in 1992, at the urging of Sister Cyrena Harkins, RSM, to be a collaborative effort aimed at improving health policies, practices and funding in Mississippi, especially for the poor and needy.

(Sister Mary Cyrena Harkins was our first grade teacher in the Class of 1959)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Class of 1957~ SFXA Classmates Gathering

Gathering at Toney's recently with classmates of Sister School Class of '57 (SFXA). Left to right--Mary Nell Garvin McMaster, Shirley Farish, Paula Brichetto Noble, Mary Pat Booth Fulton, Frances Smith Jowers, Judy Hale McCollum and Linda Jones Styron.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

2017 Alumni Banquet and/or Charitable Trust

(Click on link above)

The 2017 Alumni Banquet will be Saturday, April 29, starting with Mass at 5:30 at St. Paul Catholic Church, and the social and banquet will be held at Farrell Hall immediately following Mass. We will be honoring the St. Aloysius and St. Francis Xavier Classes of 1967, as well as the St. Aloysius Class of 2017.

The Annual Alumni Banquet is also a time when we reach out to our alumni to support the Charitable Trust. The Charitable Trust was established in 1983 by the St. Aloysius/St. Francis Alumni Association to benefit the operations of Vicksburg Catholic School. Every year a check is presented to the school during the Alumni Banquet. Last year, the Alumni Association contributed $2,335 to be invested in the Charitable Trust.  Thank you for your generosity.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Monday, February 06, 2017

Prayers For Classmates Daughter, Rhonda!

Our classmate, Ina Carol Whittington's daughter, Rhonda, is having a lot of health issues now and asking for your prayers for her and for the family at this time. 

March 30, 2017 - Prayers have been answered and it's good news.  Rhonda still has other health issues but at least this one had cleared up.  Thank you, Jesus!
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