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A Refection on the Life and Death of Anna A. Morin
By Julie Beaulieu
In Wladyslowow Poland, February 20, 1924, Anna made a frightening journey through the darkness of her mother Olga’s womb, into the unknown. This new world is traumatic and frightening to any newborn baby, who is helpless and completely innocent. In 1924, Anna began her journey in this life.
Anna’s family owned a large farm in Poland where she grew up with her older brother John, younger brother Karl and sister Herta. She loved nature and was a joyful young girl.
As Anna grew into her teen years, World War II began. Germany occupied her section of Poland. She was torn from her family and forced to go to Germany and work. Not knowing any German, Anna attended night school. This is where she met another Polish girl, Lydia. Lydia would later become Anna’s sister-in-law.
Despite nightly air raids and the other cruelties of war, Anna got a job working for the railroad, and she recalled these days as some of the happiest in her life.
Anna’s journey took her to yet another foreign country where she had to learn yet a third language. She said, “I did it because I had to.” Her first marriage to Mitchell Paradzinski produced two children, Irene and Paul, whom she loved dearly. Sadly, her marriage ended in divorce and her journey took her to a sadder place, that of a single, working mom in the 1950’s. Anna struggled during these times when she also met shame and social prejudice.
In 1965, Anna married Leo Morin, a French-Canadian drunk who took advantage of her and later deserted her. Around the same time, her son-in-law, Louis, was drafted and sent to serve in Vietnam. These were tumultuous times for not only Anna, but mostly everyone.
After another war of fear, darkness and death came 1970, and in 1970 the brightest light in Anna’s life was born, her first and only grandchild.
As a child, I remember cuddling up to her soft and gentle skin, the smell of her Polish cooking, the touch of the clothing she made for me. Her house was always a safe place in which I felt loved and secure.
My grandmother was my biggest fan. She went to every dance recital, choral performance, cheerleading competition, high school play, college play, and became a faithful viewer of, “Real to Reel.” She watched it every week, whether I was on or not. When I asked why, she said, “I get to see your name at the end in the credits.”
Anna battled cancer three different times in her life; first, in her nasal passages, second, in her left breast, and lastly, in her uterus, each time with much bravery and courage.
After retiring, she returned to Germany four times to visit her family.
She loved good food, a good joke, but most of all, she loved to shop.
In 2008, Anna was diagnosed with vascular dementia, a tough blow for both her and her family. This was the start of a long road leading deeper and deeper into darkness and confusion. The dementia lead to her needing 24/7 care and she entered a nursing home in 2012.
Later in life, Anna’s greatest wish was to become a great-grandmother. She lived to see Viola Anna D’Angelo born in Oct. of 2013.
The last year of her life, Anna came up against the blackness of cancer for the final time. In the end, Anna had to be diapered, fed, washed and carried. Her family never left her side and she fought until the very end. She lived to hear Viola’s laugh, the sound of my voice saying grandma, and the simple touches of her family each holding her hand and stroking her white hair.
In the early hours of May 3, 2015, she fought for her life with her son at her side. She once again journeyed down a dark tunnel, uncertain and afraid, only to find eternal light, everlasting love and perpetual bliss.
To watch a video tribute to my grandmother click on this link:
By Peggy Weber
Photos courtesy of Don Wielgus
The power of prayer and the love of the Blessed Mother were in evidence in Westfield on May 17th.
The combined Rosary Sodalities of Holy Trinity Parish, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish, St. Mary Parish and St. Peter and St. Casimir Parish gathered for a Communion Breakfast and social.
However, the event was much more than delicious scrambled eggs and a chance to connect with friends.
The morning began with about 114 women gathering in Holy Trinity Church for a recitation of the rosary. LaSalette Father Lukasz Krzanowski led the group in the opening and closing prayers and the proclaiming of the glorious mysteries. The presidents of each parish sodality recited the decades. It was a wonderful example of unity and faith.
LaSalette Father Rene Parent celebrated the liturgy and welcomed the women. It was an impressive sight to see so many faith-filled ladies gathered in their Sunday best for prayer.
A breakfast was served in the Holy Trinity Parish Hall by the men of the Holy Name Society of the parish and some great teen volunteers.
Schoenstatt Sister M. Barbara Ebbe, who was stationed in Westfield for many years, was in attendance. She is moving from Nebraska to Staten Island, N.Y. and re-connected with many people.
Father William Wallis, pastor of St. Peter and St. Casimir Parish, joined the community after celebrating First Communions in his parish.
I joined the women because I was asked to speak at the breakfast. I felt so welcomed and so at home with so many good and kind people.
I spoke about the many names of the Blessed Mother and how they can inspire and teach us.
I left the day filled with enthusiasm and hope. These women are truly the backbone of many parishes. They are so devout and good and really care about their faith and their parishes.
They also are smart. They recognize the importance of cooperation and community. I was told the breakfast was sold out and the women hope to hold another one next year. Truly, the group sees how good it is when women come together in honor of Mary.
This was really a joyous day!