Don Edwards Literary Memorial

May 15, 2006



A grade of B+? If my past is any grade indication, I would have to give myself an Incomplete. I never finished anything I ever started. You make an excellent point about academics and others who write and publish their journals, autobiographies, studies, etc. – the past is their subject matter.

Here is a short piece that relates to my father, and a man you too know much about: St. John Baptist de La Salle 1654-1719 – the founder of the Christian Brothers who later in life was forced into exile for many years by the members of the congregation he founded. Oh, the stormy life of a founder . . .

May 15 has been a special day for me because it was the birthday of my father, and the annual Catholic religious feast day of St. John Baptist de la Salle, the founder of the Christian Brothers. After I resigned from the monastic religious brotherhood in 1965, and my father passed away in 1970, May 15 lost some of its luster, but even so, now more than 35-years later, this date resonates with me – more than a case of nostalgia, I think.

I have no childhood recollection of ever having celebrated my father’s birthday, or my mother’s, for that matter. If birthdays were much celebrated in the 1940’s, that custom seems to have eluded the small rural town in Northern California where I was raised. Perhaps the immediate aftermath of the Great Depression and the country’s involvement with World War II put a damper on such matters, and people focused more on work and survival, and less on things that might be considered frivolous or unnecessary or cost money.

Only after I left home in my early teens to enter monastic religious life, did I learn the importance of the celebration of feast days of the saints and the Catholic liturgical calendar. Every day was a special remembrance day for a particular saint, something akin to a birthday, and short excerpts about the saint were publicly read during the course of one of the daily meals. The Founder’s Day, May 15, was celebrated as a holiday, complete with special liturgy, decorations, meals and activities; and for me, this holiday also served as a celebration of my father’s birthday.

Take care,


P.S. This post is made in 91 degree weather. Yesterday was 96 degrees. No rain birds to be heard.

Filed under: LEROY POSTS — LeRoy @ 9:46 pm

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