Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It's a great day for the Irish--especially here in Boston--so I hope you all have a happy feast day.

Today I recall my Irish grandmother, Elizabeth McNally, who had a great love of the Catholic faith and transmitted that to her family. She was born in the tenements of New York City in 1894 and lived to be 100. She used to tell this story: when was a child she first went to a Catholic school but for later grades had to transfer to a public school. One day in class in the public school, the teacher asked a question and nobody knew the answer except my grandmother. The teacher said, "Well, look at that, Elizabeth knows the answer and she went to a Catholic school," as if the Catholic schools were inferior. Those were the days of "No Irish need apply."

As she told the story, she said, "I got mad. Yes, I got mad. So I stood up and I said, 'If I'm the only one who knows the answer, and I went to a Catholic school, doesn't that mean that the Catholic schools are better?'"

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