Category Archives: orphans

The Priest asked, "He must be heavy?" The Boy answered, "No Father, He ain't heavy, He's my Brother." *

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

It was somewhere near Omaha, Nebraska and the year was 1918.  A young, Catholic priest was walking down the dirt road near the boy’s orphanage he had recently opened. The priest came upon two boys, one carrying the other on his back. The priest stopped and said to the boy doing the carrying, “Well now lad, he must be heavy.”

The boy, hunched over from the weight of the younger boy on his back, answered, “No Father, he ain’t heavy. He’s my brother.”

Father Edward Joseph Flanagan, the priest from County Roscommon, Ireland, soon to become an American citizen, smiled and said, “Follow me boys and welcome. You’re safe here.”

The priest  had surely followed an unintended, circuitous route to find himself in Nebraska. It is believed that he entered the world prematurely. The story goes that during the first days of baby Edward’s life (he was the eighth of eleven children) his grandpa, Patrick, clutched his tiny grandson close to his chest. Then he sat by the hearth for hours on end with his big, calloused hands enfolded around the tiny baby’s body.  The warmth, prayers and love that engulfed the child brought him through and he survived.

Father Flanagan with kids at Boys Town  fatherflanagan.org
Edward came to America in 1904. He had graduated college in Ireland and was able to enter Mt. St Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD. Here he received his BA degree in 1906 and his MA degree in 1908. From there he headed to Dunwoodie (just north of NYC, bordering Yonkers) and entered St. Joseph’s Seminary (often referred to simply as Dunwoodie).

Double pneumonia complicated by weak lungs from his premature birth, forced Edward to leave Dunwoodie in his first year. He moved to Omaha, Nebraska, to be with his brother, Father Patrick Flanagan and his sister, Nellie. They helped him back to full health and then it was off to Italy for more study. His next stop would be Innsbruck, Austria where he was ordained a priest in 1912. After his ordination  he was assigned back to Omaha.

Ironically, Father Flanagan wound up at St. Philomena’s Parish. St. Philomena, the patroness of babies and youth, may have been sending a subtle message from above as to where the young priest’s life would be heading. It was a only a few years later that Father Flanagan opened up a home for homeless boys in Omaha.

Bishop Jeremiah Harty; Bishop of Omaha, after being pestered by the spunky and tenacious priest, finally relented and gave permission to Father Flanagan to open a home for boys. On December 12, 1917 (The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe) he moved five boys into his first boy’s home. It was called “The City of Little Men”. By June of 1918, there were 32 boys and by Christmas there were over 100 boys. By the spring of 1919 the capacity of 150 was reached and bigger facilities were in order.

On May 18, 1921, Father Flanagan secured the deed to Overlook Farm located about ten miles outside Omaha. He managed to get five buildings erected for “his” boys, and on October 22, 1921, they moved in. The Mother Superior of the Notre Dame Sisters with a well trained group of teachers set up a curriculum so all the boys could begin school at their own level. The name, Overlook Farm, was changed. The new name was The Incorporated Village of Boys Town.

As the years rolled by Boys Town grew and, under the watchful, caring and loving eyes of Father Flanagan became the new model for orphanages. Father had deep devotion to Our Lady and prayed the rosary every day. He encouraged every boy to pray but said, “Every boy should pray; how he prays is up to him.”

Father Flanagan did not subscribe to the traditional reform schools with their harsh rules and severe discipline. Under his guidance and leadership the Boys Town community grew and prospered. It had its own boy-mayor, a chapel, school, a gymnasium and other amenities for boys aged 10 thru 16. Here, youngsters could learn a trade and receive an education. Father Flanagan’s best known quote might be this one: “There is no such thing as a bad boy”.

In 1938, MGM introduced the movie, Boys Town , starring Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney. It was a smash hit. Tracy won an Oscar for Best Actor and the world learned of the Irish priest and all about “his” boys. Father Flanagan gained worldwide recognition and was named a Domestic Prelate by Pope Pius XI and assigned the title,  Right Reverend Monsignor. After World War II, President Truman sent him as an emissary to Europe and Japan to advise officials about methods of dealing with all the war’s orphaned and homeless children.

Today, Boys Town stretches across America as one of the largest non-profit child care agencies in the USA. Over 2 million people have had their lives impacted through Boys Town. The Boys Town Research Hospital has received more than 8 million calls since it opened in 1977.

On St. Patrick’s Day, 2012, Right Reverend Monsignor Edward Joseph Flanagan was given the title, “Servant of God” and his cause for canonization was forwarded to Rome. Upon  Vatican approval  he will be declared “Venerable” Edward Flanagan.

Servant of God, Edward Flanagan, please pray for us.

*Edited version published in Aleteia on February 17, 2017

                           ©Copyright 2017 Larry Peterson All rights Reserved

Just Trying to Promote My Novel, The Priest and The Peaches. Now in Print and eBook Format (For sale, too)

THE PRIEST AND THE PEACHES    
a Novel by Larry Peterson  

 A Father’s Legacy to His Children Was NOT What It Seemed                                         
 Yimey knew the secret to life. He made sure his family and friends did too. Even when his beloved wife, Elizabeth, died, he kept the faith. But the booze dulled the pain and he used too much. Then he died and left his five children to fend for themselves. They did not understand why people were calling their dad a “great man”. How could that be? Alcohol had killed him and he had left them alone. Who was this man they called “Pops” but everyone else called “Yimey”?
Awarded the CATHOLIC WRITER’S GUILD Seal of Approval 

 This book celebrates family and honors the Catholic priesthood. It deals with alcoholism, abandonment, pride, forgiveness and death. Yet, you will smile in between. It also honors, in a no-nonsense,”blue collar” way, the Golden Rule. This is a unique book and an easy read. When you finish this book you will be smiling and saying,
“L-Y-N”  “L-Y-N”
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Links:
Larry Peterson 
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 Rainy Day Reviews: I highly recommend this book. You won’t be sorry, Larry is a gifted writer who creates a smart, witty, loving and believable characters and story line. I am so happy I got the opportunity to read this book.”

A Pocket Full of Books:  “I was hooked on this one from the beginning . The writing is very unique and really stands out. The voices are just very distinctive and they’re all so easy to relate to.”
Reviews by Molly:   “This is a book that grips you from beginning to end. It’s filled with real-life events  and children that you just want to wrap your arms around, pray for them, and hug them ’til they smile forever. “
Lissette E. Manning:  “We’re able to watch a family grow within a period of seven days while faced with an adversity that, at times, seems to want to topple the family altogether. The fact that they’re able to bounce back and find strength and meaning within the very world they live in goes to show us that anything is possible only if you believe
My Two Blessings: “The story is well written with 3 dimensional characters and the Peach kids will steal your heart as you experience all the ups and downs with them. Highly recommend it.”
The Paperback Pursuer:  “When I started reading I knew that I would not be able to put it down ; most of the characters are so lively and well-written that they could be alive in the next room.”
See all 48 reviews at   The Priest and The Peaches
“A father’s ultimate legacy to his children is not the amount of material things h
e leaves them. It is found in the lessons of love and forgiveness he instilled in their hearts.”     

By Author
   petersonlarry6@gmail.com
 copyright©Larry Peterson 2015 All Rights Reserved 

"The Book is a Winner and has a Message for all Ages"

Review Redux:

5.0 out of 5 stars Top Ten of 2012
By 
This review is from: The Priest and the Peaches (Kindle Edition)

Is an amazing heart wrenching story about a family and their bond with each other, the unseen forces and the people in their lives. The family consists of a father and five children living together under one roof. They lost their mother to illness and their dad became lose in the world of alcohol and grief. He loves his family and does the best he can consider the circumstances.

When a tragedy hits the Peaches Family they have to fend for themselves and became a close knit family. More calamities occur and they are lost in a personal tumult storm and experience events that were detrimental yet they are courageous, miraculous and the trails transform them all. Their father was as I was seeing my own father when alive; a man who would give his own shirt off his back to help his neighbor and kept his deeds quiet. His mantra of L.Y.N. is such a powerful tonic of unconditional love and teaches others to share. The theme of paying forward had this reader reaching for the tissue box.

The hidden poetry of the story was so familiar to this reader’s life I felt as I was reliving some of my childhood experiences and was being pulled into a whirling pool of emotions, from love, anger, hatred and finally forgiveness. The writer has the gift of a master in explaining the secret of how pride, anger and hatred blocks the wondrous gifts that were meant to be cherish, and are lost in the rush of daily life of all business and some strangers and loved ones unleashing their selfish ego attitudes it is not to be spiteful but to hide behind the defenses so they do not have to unveil their broken hearts and shame secrets. I think this author is trying to tell the readers to keep their priorities in order and live life as it was meant to be and let the petty things go.

Everyone in this story is like a family member and it is easy to connect with each one. It was like my uncle and aunt was whispering to me and sharing wisdom with this reader. It is filled with knowledge, love, hope and faith and mysteries we all ponder about.

This author broke down all those barriers by writing a touching soul wrenching story about trials in life and shows with faith anything is possible. The twists and life rituals of this wonderful family and their personal journey through heart ache to victory is very inspiration and has this reader thinking about returning back to her former faith and strive harder to release the human qualities of pride and ego; to connect more with a higher force which may be the answer to live on this planet and we should live as in Let It Be as in the Beatles song.

This book is a winner and has a message for all ages. I was joyfully taken hostage by the story and sad to be release. This reader definitely looks forward to read more enlightening stories from this writer. This choice will probably stay as my number one choice for 2012.

Review (Redux) The Priest and The Peaches

Review Redux:       *****   The Priest and The Peaches   *****

Heart wrenching study of faith
This review is from: The Priest and the Peaches (Kindle Edition)

Book Title: The Priest And The Peaches
Author: Larry Peterson
Published By: Tribute Books
Recommended Age: 15+
Reviewed By: Lee-Ann Graff-Vinson
Blog Reviewed For: Great Minds Think Aloud
Rating: 4

Yimey knew the secret to life. He made sure his family and friends did, too. Even when the love of his life died, he kept the faith. But then, Yimey died and his five children were left to fend for themselves – orphans in a grown up world.
Teddy and his sister, Joanie were now the adults of the house, taking care of the everyday happenings of a family. Their three younger siblings were more than handful. With work to attend, and high school exams to complete, Teddy and Joanie tried hard to fill the enormous shoes their parents left behind.

There were those, however, who did not agree with five children living in an apartment without any adult supervision. Orphans could not raise orphans. Just days after they buried their father, the “adults” went back to work, leaving the younger ones at home. Catastrophic events led the three young children to be taken into custody by the police, and a call made to Child Protection Services. They had lost their mother and father, and now they were about to lose each other. The only way out was through a dead man’s secret to life.

Author, Larry Peterson, uses loving humour to guide his readers through a novel of heartache. He writes with a message to us all, one that shows the true worth of love for thy neighbour. The Priest And The Peaches will leave you with feeling of warmth after days spent in the cold, bleakness of reality. This is a story worth reading and recommending to family, friends and neighbours. The secret to life is worth sharing, right Yimey?

"I Could Not Imagine Being 18 and—" see for yourself

  “I recommend this to my friends and anyone else that loves historical fiction”, Sandra Stiles

Review Redux:

5.0 out of 5 stars Priest and Peaches, from February 3, 2012
By 
Sandra K. Stiles (Sarasota, Florida) – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Priest and the Peaches (Kindle Edition)

I could not imagine being an eighteen year old with my life ahead of me and suddenly my life is changed drastically. Teddy must find a way to take care of his siblings after their father dies. He does the best he can. The neighbor downstairs is causing problems for Teddy. He needs help so he turns to Father Tim Sullivan. Help comes in many forms including guidance in matters of everyday life. There are moral lessons to be learned seasoned with a touch of Christianity. There were pats where I just cracked up, like the boys jumping on the bed and pretending to be super-heroes. I think the reason I loved this so much was because I could relate to it so much. I remember jumping on our bed with the wire springs and having it collapse on us. I also remember my mom trudging up the steps to reprimand us. I remember tying scarves around my neck and pretending to be mighty mouse as I jumped off our back steps. When my mother was injured in a car accident and spent a month in the hospital in traction, my father put me in charge of my younger sisters aged 11 and 7. I was only 13 years old. I had to cook breakfast and get us ready for school, take care of my normal chores on our farm, help with homework, then fix dinner and take care of the dishes. It was tough. I could relate also because my experiences took place around the same time period.

I felt Teddy’s burdens as he tried to hold it all together. I felt his stress and heartache. This was one of those books that had you laughing one minute and then had your heart being squished. This is a young adult book, but I am telling you that adults will enjoy this book just as much. I definitely recommend it to my friends and anyone else that loves historical fiction.

The Priest and The Peaches–"a touching tale of family, survival, faith and hope"

Review Redux: “The Priest and The Peaches”

 Delightful tale filled with faith, love and humor, originally posted March 21, 2012
By 
This review is from: The Priest and the Peaches (Kindle Edition)

The Priest and the Peaches by Larry Peterson captures the life of the newly orphaned Peach kids as they struggle in the aftermath of their father’s death and plan his funeral. This touching tale of faith and hope offers a glimpse into the lives of this working class Catholic family set in 1960’s Bronx, NY. Steeped in faith and laced with humor Peterson’s tale delivers a powerful message “to love thy neighbor.”

This was an emotional and heartbreaking tale. This dysfunctional family has seen a lot of heart-ache. They lost their mother to leukemia; their grandma stepped in to help and recently passed away. Mr. Peach suffers from grief at the lost of his wife and turns to the bottle. The church and Father Sullivan step into help, but sadly the liquor takes its toll, leaving eighteen year old Teddy and seventeen year old Joanie to care for their three younger siblings. Teddy really steps up and tries to take care of them. Each of the kids is suffering and shows it differently. The youngest, Joey, thinks he is having conversations with his Dad. Add a nosy neighbor named Beatrice, an Aunt named Vera and a couple of drunks, you get quite the tale.

While I found parts of the tale to be rough, like the dialogue, (which might be expected from Bronxites) the overall message and tale was delightful. I enjoyed the lively cast of characters and their antics. Peterson captures their thoughts and emotions giving them depth. This was a quick and easy read that I finished in just a few hours. Peterson provides a touching tale of family, survival, faith, and hope. LYN.

Is it Chance or God's hand Working "Little" Miracles in Our Lives?

Review Redux:

5.0 out of 5 stars Growing Up Fast with a Serious Dose of Faith in this story, March 1, 2012
By 
This review is from: The Priest and the Peaches (Kindle Edition)

Growing up, I rarely saw a title that appealed to me and had any connection to my Catholic faith. This novel just might fill that type of void for any Catholics from middle school on up. The reader meets the Peach family, already suffering from the lost of their mother and grandmother. Now the children become orphans after their father’s unexpected death. This particular novel follows them through the first week or so after their father’s death. While there are plenty of ‘heavy’ topics broached (e.g. how to pay the bills), Mr. Peterson has thrown in a decent share of levity.

I have to say that this book was quite enjoyable on many levels. Seeing how God’s Hand was present throughout the trials experienced by the Peach family was fantastic. I believe we often miss those little miracles in our lives, possibly just writing them off to `chance.’ But, through the conversations and strings of consciousness for the characters, you can fully appreciate just how well God will take care of us so long as we are willing to accept it.

….Taken from my full review on Day by Day in Our World