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“I Have Great Hope For A Child Who Can Behave In One Place”

May 29, 2012

Everyone who knew Sr. Mary Hart had their favorite “Sr. Mary sayings”.  This is mine.

Sr. Mary knew a lot of kids who had trouble behaving someplace: fidgety 8 year old boys who couldn’t sit still in school, edgy 12 year old girls at war with their mothers, 4 year olds fussing in church on Sunday mornings, moody teenagers glowering reflexively, or protectively (or both), at almost every adult they met in the course of a day.

All of them received large doses of Sr. Mary’s trademark sly, disarming wit, her near-infinite capacity to take children seriously, and her uncanny ability—borne of great faith, persistence, training and practice—to find something a child was good at, and someplace a child was comfortable.  Once she’d done that, Sr. Mary would move heaven (persistently badgering the Deity and any available saints who had the misfortune to be standing nearby) and earth (encouraging and cajoling parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, youth workers, nurses, foundation executives, wealthy donors, politicians, employers, university presidents) to get what that child needed to succeed in life.

“They aren’t the least among us,’’ she would say. “They have the least opportunities.’’

Sr. Mary died last year, but some of the hundreds of children whose lives she touched are working to keep her legacy alive.  They’ve organized (and will cook) a benefit dinner this Saturday, June 2, 5 pm at St. Katharine Drexel Church Hall, 517 Blue Hill Ave in Dorchester.  Tickets are $15; a table of 8 for $110.

If you can’t attend, you can still make a contribution.  All proceeds will go directly to support the after-school program and summer camp Sr. Mary started. (Write “St. Katharine Drexel” on the memo line.)

As Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen wrote last year, “Her after-school program was a get-ready-for-high-school-and-college program. Her summer camps were the same. There are hundreds of Roxbury kids who went to college because Sister Mary believed in them.” Your contribution can help the next kid in line.

Make checks payable to:   Sr. Mary Hart Children’s Program, and mail c/o St. Katharine Drexel Church, 175 Ruggle St., Roxbury MA 02120.

I haven’t talked much about money on this blog so far, and I don’t expect to in the future.  But Sr. Mary was one of the most remarkable people I’ve ever met, and the work she started is one of the most powerful and life-changing programs I’ve ever seen.  If you have the money to give, please do.  Thanks.

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From → City Life, Religion

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