Saturday, November 19, 2016

Donal Mahoney writes

After Voting for a Bum

Wally and Fred voted in the big election and then went to O’Leary’s Bar for a couple of beers. O’Leary’s is where men who work for the city go after every important election. Chicago has many neighborhood bars like O’Leary’s, catering to blue collar workers not on the clock. At least most of the time.

After six beers, a few hard-boiled eggs and a plate of nachos, Wally asked Fred how the hell could he have voted for a bum like that after 50 years of voting a straight ticket

Did he forget who butters his bread? 

If the alderman finds out, Wally said, your job’s gone. And Fred agreed. He wouldn’t be paving any more streets in the summer and filling potholes in the winter. 

Good pay and benefits, Wally reminded him, and Fred didn’t argue about that. He’d been employed by the city through his political party for more than 30 years and he hoped to retire soon. Looking forward to a nice pension. 

Fred signaled Ethel, the owner of O’Leary's, for two more beers. He lit a fat cigar despite the no-smoking sign that everyone ignores and told Wally it wasn’t easy to vote for that guy. 

No question he's a bum, Fred said. You can have money, he said, and still not have any class.

But Fred said his neighbor, Marty, had told him their party in Washington had taken the Little Sisters of the Poor to court. Those nuns, he said, had been taking care of Marty's mother for 10 years and she’s not even Catholic. She’s 90 and flat broke, very sick but refuses to die.

Marty took Fred to visit his mother, and Fred said his mother and all the old folks at the home were treated like royalty. Good food and nurses and a doctor who visits regularly. They have homes like that all over the United States and in other countries too, Fred said.

Fred added that he should be so lucky when he’s old and sick but he said he’d have to be flat broke to get in. The nuns don’t take anyone who has money. Doesn’t matter if you have connections. If you ain’t broke, you don’t get in.

So that’s why, Fred said, he voted for the bum in the other party. Bad as he is, he probably wouldn’t take a bunch of nuns to court, especially nuns who take care of old folks who have no money. 

That man likes money, Fred said, just like we do. He simply has more of it. But those nuns wouldn’t let him in. 
Mission Statement

1 comment:

  1. The Little Sisters of the Poor is a congregation of Catholic nuns founded in 1839 by Saint Jeanne Jugan (Sister Mary of the Cross) that serve the elderly poor in 31 countries, of any race or religion, and its 2,300 members live in 234 communes. Members take the usual vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, but also one of hospitality. They also continue the tradition of begging begun by their founder. Jugan was an illiterate Breton from Saint-Servan, the daughter of a fisherman who drowned when she was four. After working as a shephardess and learning to to knit and spin wool, at 16 she became a kitchen maid to a devout viscountess and accompanied her on her charitable rounds. When she was 25 she became an Associate of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary (Congregatio Iesu et Mariae) founded by St. Jean Eudes in 1643, and worked as a nurse in the hospital in Saint-Servan. After six years there, her own health issues forced her to leave the hospital and she began a 12-year stint as a servant to another Eudist, until her death. Then, in 1837, she formed a prayer community with a 72-year-old woman and a 17-year-old orphan. Two years later she began caring for a blind, elderly woman who was partially paralyzed, giving her her own bed while she slept in the attic. By 1841 she was housing a dozen old people, and the next year acquired an unused convent that could house 40. She also began begging daily for money, food, clothing, wood, and wool. By the end of the decade she established four more homes and had over 100 nuns under her supervision. In 1847, she established her motherhouse at Saint-Pern, at the invitation of Leo Dupont ("The Holy Man of Tours"), the son of a rich sugar planter from Martinique; he had established a law practice in Tours in 1834 and begun contributing large sums of money to various Catholic organizations and to rebuild the Basilica of St. Martin, which dated to 472 but had been destroyed during the French Revolution. However, the Abbé Auguste Le Pailleur, the congregation's superior general, forced Jugan out of any leadership role and allowed her to do nothing except begging on the street until she was sent into retirement. When she died in 1879 at 86, many of her sisters did not even know she was their foundress. Le Pailleur was eventually dismissed in 1890 and Jugan's role restored. Meanwhile, the organization continued to grow, reaching the UK in 1851, the US in 1866, and Chile in 1885; by 1879, when their constitutions were approved by pope Leo XIII, 2,400 Little sisters were at work.
    In 2010 the US passed the Affordable Care Act, under which the Health Resources and Services Administration decided that all 20 contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration should be covered as part of employers' insurance polies, although houses of worship and similar organizations were exempt; in that case, insurance companies were compelled to provide the coverage without employer involvement. However, the Little Sisters of the Poor objected on the grounds that allowing the insurance companies to do so would make the orger complicit in committing a sin. In 2015 the Supreme Court agreed to hear Zubik v. Burwell, seven consolidated cases that challenged the contraceptive mandate; oral arguments were heard in March 2016, but justice Anthony Scalia had died in February, leaving an unfilled vacancy; in the end, the Supreme Court, unable to reach a majority decision, remanded the cases to the appeals courts for reconsideration.


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