William “Billy” Peterson; I was honored to be his Dad

Billy Peterson                                      a genuine Good samaritan

Posted by Larry Peterson July 11, 2022

William “Billy” Peterson

December 12, 1971~July 06, 2022

This is about a guy who lived in Pinellas Park whose name was William “Billy” Peterson. Billy was a man filled with great empathy, intuition, faith, and love for family, friends, and humanity. He was a father figure to his fatherless niece and was like a son to a 90-year-old neighbor who lived alone and had no one. Her name was Mae and Billy looked after her virtually every day for almost five years until her passing. He took her for her doctor visits, cooked her dinner, did her food shopping, and ensured she had her meds. Ironically, Mae constantly complained, and Billy would laugh it off.

Throughout his life, Billy saved many, including strangers, loved ones, and anyone who crossed his path and was in need. Most of the time, the saving was accomplished by giving a helping hand and extending friendship. Powerful tools they were.

The morning of the last day of his life, Billy helped a young girl at a local convenient store. At about 11 a.m., he pulled in to grab a coffee. He noticed this girl sitting on the ground with her back against the brick wall. She was eating a sandwich. A man nearby kept talking to her, and she seemed to be shaking her head. Billy’s instincts erupted. He knew this was not right. The man walked into the store, and Billy stepped from his car and asked her, “Are you all right?” Tears dripped from her eyes, and she answered, “No, I’m not.” Billy said to her, “The passenger door to my car is unlocked. If you are not safe and want to leave, get in the car, and I will take you wherever you need to go.” She did, and Billy took her home to her house in Seminole. Her mom and sister came running out crying and yelling. They had not heard from her in two days and were frantic. The girl, 16 years old, had gotten mixed up with the wrong crowd. They took her phone, and she had become their prisoner. She did not even know it. She may never have been seen again if it was not for Billy

Billy was born in New York City on December 12, 1971, He was my son, and he died suddenly on July 6, 2022. He was 50 years old.

Billy passed from severe Chronic Cardiovascular Disease. A diabetic and lupus patient, doctors, never picked up on it. Go figure. The fact is that does not matter anymore.

Billy graduated from Gibbs High School in 1990.That year he was voted onto the Pinellas County All-Conference Baseball team as the third baseman. He also played college ball at Seminole Community up in Sanford. He became a security installation technician, but his career was cut short by a job accident.

 Billy was the son of Larry Peterson of Pinellas Park and had a brother, Larry Jr., and a sister, Mary. He was pre-deceased by his mom, Loretta, and a baby sister, Theresa. He had three nephews, three nieces and 23 cousins. His passing has left a gaping hole in many hearts.

One final thought about Billy Peterson: This past Sunday July 10, the Gospel reading was from St. Luke, and it was about the Good Samaritan. The question we are all asked is, “who is our neighbor?” Well, for Billy Peterson, everyone was his neighbor. If you needed help and he was there he would help. It did not matter who or where. Billy Peterson was truly a GOOD SAMARITAN.

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Widowed with Eleven Children, she began taking in Unwed Pregnant Girls; She would go on to be known as Sister Marie of the Nativity

During an era when unwed mothers were rejected by society, she took them into her home

public domain

Larry Peterson

Rosalie Cadron was born on January 27, 1794, in Quebec, Canada. She was the oldest of two daughters born to a farmer by the name of Antoine Cadron and his wife, Rosalie Roy, who was a midwife in their town. Shortly after her birth, Rosalie was baptized in the local church. She would receive her First Holy Communion when she twelve.

Rosalie’s early life consisted mostly of work. She attended a boarding convent that was nearby but was so lonely that she returned home after only two weeks. She never learned to read until later in life and never was taught how to write. Instead, she was instructed in housekeeping, sewing, and craftwork, and worked at the farm and in her home.

When Rosalie was 17, she married Jean-Marie Jette. They had 11 children, some of whom died very young. They moved to Montreal and settled there in 1827. Sadly, in 1832, Jean-Marie died from cholera. Rosalie began looking after unwed mothers. This was quite the undertaking because at the time, unwed mothers and those that helped and associated with them, were despised and most of the citizenry viewed them with contempt.

Rosalie did this quietly in her home for the next five years. She possessed a broad-mindedness that was extremely rare for that period in time and also was filled with a spirit that respected all people, no matter their station or plight in life. It was Bishop Ignace Bourget, who first heard about the Catholic widow who reached out to the unwed mothers in his diocese. He met her, talked to her, and became her spiritual director. Now it was time to seek her help.

Bishop Bourget was socially aware of the rapidly growing population of Montreal and the growing need to help the unwed mothers who were held in such contempt by the society of the day. He believed that the church was responsible for reaching out to all peoples and that maybe it was time to create new religious communities that were free of rigid rules and could meet the unique needs of society.

Rosalie Cadron-Jette was foremost in the bishop’s mind as the woman to approach with his plan. He believed she would be perfect to begin the task of leading women who would be devoted to extending the temporal and spiritual works of mercy to the unwed mothers in the diocese and beyond.

Starting in 1840, he began to seek our Rosalie’s help in caring for unmarried mothers who had come to him for help. This was all done in secret because most of the women who had come to the bishop had done so in the confessional. Since their “sin” was socially repugnant and placed the women in danger of physical harm, the bishop wanted a “kind and prayerful woman” to take charge of this work.

Between 1840 and 1845, Rosalie helped 25 women during their pregnancy, childbirth, and recovery. She often placed the newborns with her own children, who were now grown. After each birth, Rosalie would take the mom and the newborn to Montreal’s Notre Dame Church and stand as Godmother as the child was baptized.

On May 1, 1845, with the support of Bishop Bourget, Rosalie Jette, along with a “penitent” (unwed mothers were called penitents),  moved into a small house given to them by one of Bishop Bourget’s supporters. It was the start of a new religious community. The fledgling community grew and on January 16, 1848, the founder, Rosalie Cadron-Jette, and her followers took their vows from Bishop Bourget.  From that time on Rosalie would be known as Sister Marie of the Nativity.

Sister Marie of the Nativity refused to accept any position of authority in the new order. However, working in the background, she shared in all the activities of the order which was called the Congregation of the Sisters of Misericorde aka Misericordia Sisters. The Misericordia Sisters (Sisters of Mercy) took the traditional vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience and also took a fourth vow, that “they would assist in their labour fallen girls and women.”

Sister Marie of the Nativity passed away on April 5, 1864. Bishop Ignace Bourget had administered Last Rites a few hours earlier on April 4. Pope Francis has declared Sister Marie a woman of “heroic virtue” and she has been declared Venerable.

The Misericordia Sisters are still active in several countries and multiple continents around the world including the United States and Canada.

Venerable Marie of the Nativity, pray for us.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2020