Marie-Marguerite Dufrost de Lajemmerais: The Mother of Universal Charity

Margueritte d’Youville – Le Mémorial du Québec, 1918

All the wealth in the world cannot be compared with the happiness of living together happily united.

— Marie-Marguerite Dufrost de Lajemmerais – Saint Marie-Marguerite d’Youville

End of the Line: Madeline De Brie and Nicholas Mignault

Herman, Paul and Jean de Limbourg, October (detail with Louvre), from Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, 1413-16, ink on vellum (Musée Condé, Chantilly)

During the sixteenth century, the Renassaince arrived throughout the nations of Europe, and France celebrated in all of its glorious splendor. The French monarchs returned to the city, and Paris began to flourish. Henry IV ended the religious wars and his people enjoyed their new spiritual freedoms. New monarchies supported the arts and sciences, which influenced all the nations of Europe. Architectural wonders, monuments, and city parks abounded, and Parisians took pride in their lovely homeland.

The Cornerstone

Summer 1965 – Ann Marie, mother, Dotty, David and Tommy, Alameda, California

Often, recollections from days gone by take up residence in my thoughts as I remember my childhood. Days of warmth and fun-loving doings flow full circle. Yet, each innocent recollection eventually comes to rest on the woman that rendered care for her family, the loving matriarch of my family, my mother, Dotty Allen Reeder.

This woman gave me so much strength, hope, and courage. She taught me to laugh and rejoice at each extraordinary occurrence that took place in our lives. It was the simple things that found a home in my heart, words of encouragement, cuddles on the couch on rainy days or endless board games at the kitchen table. Or, it was summer tournaments of baseball and kickball with brothers and neighbors with mom in the middle of it all.

Always my closest confidant, we shared stories and laughter and silly gossip while doing kitchen chores or sharing a Dr. Pepper, her favorite soda, and now mine. She was the hub of our home, the very foundation that provided prudence and understanding on how to live in a world that was not always kind. She reminded everyone to find joy in each incredible moment and take nothing for granted. As my biggest cheerleader, the world sometimes feels so strange without her. Still, I find her in the shared stories with her granddaughter. I see her smile in my granddaughter, her kindness in my grandson, her ornery humor in another. Her legacy has continued and found residence in each generation that has followed; the cornerstone of our family still stands.

Fright Night, Mom Wisdom, and Family Traditions

“If The Exorcist doesn’t knock you out of your seat, it’s only because you are too stunned to move.”

Stanley Eichelbaum ~ The San Francisco Examiner ~ 26 Dec 1973

“Everybody in the movie experienced some kind of horror.  On the day Max von Sydow arrived for his first scene his brother died, and the film was again delayed while Von Sydow returned to Sweden for the funeral.  The little girl’s grandfather died the first week of the picture.  One of the carpenters cut his thumb off.  Irish actor Jack MacGowan who is murdered by the demon possessing the child, dropped dead one week after his death scene.”

Billy Friedkin ~ The Los Angeles Times ~ 18 Nov 1973

Almost Forgotten: The Marriageable Girls

Often, life in France offered little hope for women. Arranged marriages prevailed, and most women did not have a say in the matter of matrimony, for parental consent was required for women under the age of twenty-five. For poor families that could not offer a dowry, marriage opportunities for the women were bleak.