1) When very young and spending time at the office, a cocker spaniel trotted into the store where I was standing one day and yelped for attention. She was covered with burrs and totally unkempt, in other words it was love at first sight! She was beautiful and I immediately claimed her as my own and began cleaning her, brushing her, giving her bear hugs and all her attention was riveted on me! You would have too if you looked as she did, poor thing! At the end of the day, I headed for home and she trotted happily right behind my heels. There Mom asked about this new addition to my person and I introduced her to DX! (It was the motor oil my Daddy sold and the first name that came to mind!) She smiled and said, “I hope she eats whatever is slung out the back door!” And boy did she. She was all mine for about a week as Daddy was sure that she would be claimed. During these times there were many additions to the canine kingdom on Arthur Avenue and it would become quite the zoo as more and more scrapings would be thrown out the back door. Too much as a matter of fact. Sure‘nuf, after about a week, DX was gone never to be seen again. I was so sad. Other siblings’ animals would also disappear and there would be more animals and then more disappearances! Alas, we would live, after all, there was always Dolly the Shetland pony and as mean as she was, you just had to ride her and find out what she would pull next. Fast forward to 2000 sitting around the table with Mom on 8th street in Lake Charles reminiscing about DX and Dolly and all those animals and she began to speak. “Bernadette,’ she said, ‘DX didn’t run off. When the yard became too full, something had to give. I would call the office and the next man going across the lake on the fuel or butane truck would stop while you all were in school, catch the animal and off to its new home somewhere in Vermilion parish it went. I think we populated half the parish with domestic animals!!” Only ‘Spot’ and ‘Two-Bit’s made it, that I remember! It was a good thing Dolly was a pony! Every time I travel through to Gueydan, I keep my eyes peeled for little cocker spaniels for I knew, for one week, their great-great-great grandmother!!
2) This lovely and meaningful printed card was found among the treasures on Arthur Avenue. I love the spirit in these words!
TO THE GRADUATE
I’m wishing you the wishes of your mother and your dad.
The joys they’d choose to give you if the power to give they had;
Not the ordinary wishes; not alone that you shall climb
The heights that lead to glory, in some splendid future time;
Not that you shall come to riches in some sordid, selfish way,
But that you shall win the gladness and the peace for which they pray.
They are wishing you the splendor of a life that’s rightly spent;
They have known the world’s temptations and the sorrows they have meant;
They have seen the empty conquests of the worshipers of gold,
And the mockery of pleasures that are merely bought and sold.
It’s the everlasting joy of service they would give you if they could,
For they’re wishing you the gladness that’s the glory of the good.
You can know no greater pleasure than to have them proud of you;
There are little deeds of kindness they are hoping you will do.
This old world’s in need of service they are hoping you will give,
That your name shall, unforgotten long, in lasting glory live;
For the fame of noble living is the finest to be had;
So I’m wishing you the wishes of your mother and your dad. Edgar A. Guest
3) Book! ‘The Visible Church’ ~ The Parishes of the Diocese of Lake Charles, LA in
Words and Pictures, Hadson Solis, Artist and Truman Stacy, Author. Jubilee Year 2000
Our Lady of the Lake Church, Lake Arthur, LA,
|Because its position on the Mermentau River gave it access to water transport, Lake Arthur and its vicinity were settled earlier than other towns on ‘the prairies.’
The first settlement in the area was called Lakeside, and grew up on the south shore of the in what is now Vermilion Parish. One of the first settlers was Atanas Hebert, who settled on the south side of the lake in 1811. Another pioneer was Hiram Andrus, who moved in north of the lake in an area now called Andrus Cove, in 1832. Andrus possessed a Spanish land grant which gave him title to most of the land between the lake and Jennings.
Lakeside developed a post office, a hotel, a newspaper and several stores, and was publicized as a place of orchards and rice crops. Two hard freezes, however, killed the orchards and crops. Newcomers brought in by the railroads began to settle on the north side of the lake in what was then Imperial Calcasieu. The lake had been called Lac d’Arthur, for Arthur LeBlanc, who lived on the north shore, so the new town became Lake Arthur.
The first Catholic priests of record in the area came from Texas. One of these was the Rev. P.F.Parisot, who traveled to Imperial Calcasieu from Galveston in 1852. In his journal he described his trip up the Mermentau on a “coaster” from the Gulf of Mexico, and that “going up the river I baptized a number of infants on both banks.”
A few years later a chapel was built in Lakeside, dedicated to St. Theresa, Priests from Abbeville visited to perform marriages and baptisms to confirm Catholics in the area.
In 1891 Our Lady Help of Christians Parish was established in Jennings with the territory that included most of what is now Jefferson Davis Civil Parish. The founding pastor was the Rev. Cornelius van de Ven, but within a year he was transferred to Lake Charles.
He was followed by the Rev. Joseph Peters, who took Lake Arthur under his wing. Father Peters was engaged in building a church in Jennings, but came to the lake on weekends to say Mass in St. Theresa Chapel. Roads were mere cow paths, so the trips were made by boat and horseback.
Meanwhile Lake Arthur was growing as land merchants traveled through the Middle West singing the praises of the “Eden of the South.” Many settlers came from Iowa and Kansas to make their homes on the lake.
In addition the Andruses and the Heberts immigrants from France were among the early mainstays of the Church.
Eugene, Jules and Paul Gaithe were sons of Louis Gaithe, who came from France via New Orleans. Joachim, Emile, Theodore and Antoine were sons of Dominique Monlezun, who emigrated from the French Basque region. The Broussard clan, one of the largest of all, was early represented in the history of the Mermentau area.
In 1922 Lake Arthur itself was large enough for the Most Rev. Jules B. Jeanmard, Bishop of Lafayette, to establish the Parish of Our Lady of the Lake.
The founding pastor was the Rev. William E. Allen, who first said Mass in St. Theresa Chapel. Church historians relate how “he came by boat, landed at our wharf, and walked to the chapel, often battling winds, rain and the cold. Later he had a second-hand car, and drove over whenever the roads were passable.
“To get people to come to church he organized a large choir, and they came to church to practice. He also had adults play different instruments. In 1924 he gave a concert in front of the church.
The parish today serves about 650 families in the southeastern part of Jefferson Davis Civil Parish. The present church building was constructed in 1954, and has a seating capacity of 500. A new rectory was completed in 1956.
During the pastorate of Msgr. Charles DuBois the church was completely remodeled, and several additions were made. A prayer garden was established, with the centerpiece being a water fountain and a life-sized reproduction of the Pieta, which was donated by Mrs. Estella Marceaux in memory of her late husband and son.
The parish also includes two missions: St. Francis of Assisi Mission in Thornwell and St. Gertrude Mission in Andrus Cove.
Our Lady of the Lake has a Ladies Altar Society and a Youth 2000 Group.
Special parish programs include the Adoration Chapel and a “Come, Follow Me” group.
The parish also holds an annual bazaar held on the grounds originally housing the Benedictine Monastery. The bazaar is the parish’s chief fund-raiser and is attended by hundreds each year. Under a general chairman, there are about 25 booth chairman who serve annually.
Our Lady of the Lake Parish boasts a strong contingent of outstanding parishioners who have volunteered for various projects including a strong religious education program with a current enrollment of 394 students.
Eleven pastors have been assigned to Our Lady of the Lake Parish since it was established: 1922, Rev. William E. Allen; 1935, Rev. Louis de Monsabert; 1941, Rev. Gustave Berube; 1949, Rev. Wilfred Labbe; 1952, Rev. Harry Pelous; 1964, Rev. Jude Speyrer (now Bishop of Lake Charles); 1969, Rev. Charles Soileau, 1974, Rev. Charles Koche; 1075, Rev. Gerard Smit; 1983; 1983, Msgr. Charles DuBois; and 1997, Rev. Maurice Martineau.
4) 01 April 2009 Dear, dear Mr. Bercier,
Your dear wife, Ms. Sarah, was in my ancestral home of origin yesterday with her friends from the Crowley Rosary Group for an ‘Arthur Avenue Heritage Tour’! It was one of the highlights of my year!
While on the Heritage Tour and in the ‘Back Room’ where the photographs of the ten children of Lee Joseph and Anna Gertrude Hensgens-Monlezun hang, she shared the tender story. You worked for Cooper Tires and were making a sales call with my father in his office at The Sportsman Center in Lake Arthur, LA. She told of you driving upon the unfolding tragic scene of the drowning of my brother and sister Alvin Joseph, age 10 and Veronica Gertrude, age 6 which was behind the office at the new canal dock that had just been dredged; 14 feet of water. It was for the shrimp boats to dock and be serviced. It had just been named ‘Monlezun’s Landing’ for my father who had the fuel and butane business in the area. This was Tuesday 27 May 1965. You entered the water to try to find them. That was 44 years ago; I was 17 years of age now 61 sharing our home of origin with all that find their way there and your wife is now one of them telling your story all these years later!
I thank you from the bottom of my grateful heart for your attempt to find and save them. Ms. Sarah said that you arrived home in your wet clothes; I can understand your grief, tremendous pain and shock. I am so grateful that you were there whatever the Good God’s reason. I believe that the day you arrive in heaven, Alvin and Veronica will be among the grateful greeters embracing and thanking you that you were among God’s own unfathomable design to be there, in that place, at that time and, in an instant you will understand. We all will. It is indeed a mystery but I count you among one of the major blessings of that dark day. Thank you for all you do for others…all will be well…and I bless you today.
You are now part of our story printed in this book “God’s Gifts! A Collection of Short Stories from the Heart of Cajun Country” sent as gift to you and Ms. Sarah in this glorious season of Easter 2009! …His unfathomable timing and design but, O, the comfort of our faith which is secure in Him.
In profound gratitude, dear Sir!
Lead, Kindly Light!
Anna ‘Bernadette’ Monlezun-Pontón,
Eldest daughter, fourth child of ten/six boys and four girls.
5) …this is a bit of a timing story and how ‘the work of heritage’ comes about…piece by piece and story by story!!
Today's Date: 7 July 2009
TO: Lee Joseph, Jr., Eldest Brother (LJM)
FROM: Anna Bernadette, Eldest Sister (ABMP)
RE: LJM on Arthur Avenue reminiscing on a Friday evening 3 July 2009 (after a three hour nap)!! … quick notations [plus] by ABMP who hadn't napped! He was there to water his fruit trees which are suffering from a drought of sorts.
6) Monday 22 March 2010
Two months ago to the day of Mrs. Aults’ funeral 23 March 2010, Constance and I had ‘pent the night’ with her. Betsy graciously greeted us having prepared home and mother. Sr. Lawrence Habetz and Gary came for a grand ole visit indeed! Sister and Mrs. Ault were involved in an animated conversation about the owner of the Saints and how he met his wife while attending Mass at St. Louis Cathedral and she was the Reader; ‘Mr. Saint’ told his friend that he wanted to meet her and the rest is history! Mrs. Ault was so happy to have lived to experience the ‘Who Dat’ thing! Also discussed was N.O. politics, pot holes, the Catholic world within the confines of the meandering river, etc..! Constance and I prepared dinner and Gary ate lustily, she little, he finding his way to the fridge where his mother stashed his favorite candy! We are never too old or big…He was so very gracious in his appreciation of our visit. We prayed through the ‘Benediction Song’ holding hands in total and complete gratefulness prior to his departure to grade papers!
The next morning we visited in her favorite sun room seeing pictures and hearing stories. She insisted I read a prayer taped to her bathroom mirror which I did and recorded; it is on the fridge on Arthur Avenue next to her family picture. O, that smile when she was in memories. Her love and respect for Dad and Mom were monumental. Constance lovingly tahed-tahed her medically and later she sat at her computer while I brought up Arthur Avenue on my website taking her through ‘Room by Room!’ Her face was beaming especially while in ‘The Back Room’ with all of the photographs on the walls; she also loved the ‘Original Bedroom!’
Dominique, Tina and family were also able to have a wonderful visit in her home; the boys called and wanted to return as often as schedules allowed.
Sister Lawrence phoned last week saying that she had visited and that she was fading; she spoke of her friendship of over 40 years with this lady as she was affiliated with the school. Sister offered to gather up the night sitters of a religious order, whom Mrs. Ault loved to see walk in, as often as necessary to take them to and/or from Mrs. Aults’ home for night care! It was unnecessary; our cousin has gone more the distance to care for her friend of old. She is a faithful friend.
Mrs. Ault longed to see the face of her husband and prayed that The Father take her Home as she was ready. She just didn’t want to leave her children and didn’t want them to miss her so.
Our departure from her was wrenching; we hugged and kissed her sweet face over and over thanking her for her friendship, good example and being so faithful to so many especially her God. Thank God for eternal life in The Light where those who have gone before are beckoning us Home. And in The Father’s time, will and way we will go….May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
…‘look, here she comes’ …Mom’s Worship Aid… Lead, Kindly Light! Indeed! Bernadette
Mrs. Ault's thoughts of Mom and Dad www.leadkindlylight.net "REMEMBRANCES" LINK #31. Constance and I joyfully journeyed to New Orleans July 31, 2004 to celebrate with a long-time-dear-friend and her family, Mrs. Arta Ault’s 80th birthday!! ...
7) 09 January 2012 ~ My sister Constance Victoria handed this wonderful letter to me yesterday at Mass and said “I was putting Christmas things up in my attic yesterday and I when I put things up I try to bring something down. So here it is!”...by her kind permission, enjoy… I just sent it on to my sweet nephew who will be marrying this year!!
June 24, 1973 San Andrés Tuxtla,Ver. Mexico
My Dear Poupée (Constance Victoria Monlezun Darbonne)
It would be such a pleasant experience for me to be present at your wedding, but I feel certain that there will be many others present to share with you the good feelings one experiences when he is about to take a big step forward in God’s service. And how I wish that I could give you some little gift which would be a visible reminder of the love I have had for you and all the other dear young people to whom I dedicated the best years of my life and of whom I am especially proud today.
The young man whom you have chosen is fortunate in having selected such a fine young lady and you no doubt have not been wanting in judgement in your own selection. But one must remember that no matter how qualified one may be, everyone has his defects and it is precisely the one element that sanctifies us. It is the crucible that will prove whether our love is truly sincere.
Your good parents and your teachers, among whom I am numbered, have had a part in forming your character and developing your talents, which will serve you from here on out. You will now be the captain of your own destiny. You have been blessed by having lived in a good Christian home, enriched by the guidance of your Church by having attended an exceptional Catholic School and even allowed to suffer excruciating physical pain, so abhorred in our own day and you are now an intelligent, holy and very attractive young lady.
As I said above, I would like to be able to send you and your husband a gift. But please be assured that somewhere south of the border an old missionary is offering up his prayers, sufferings and even his very life for you and all my beloved sons and daughters whom I have loved with an everlasting love.
My congratulations and best wishes go to you both and be assured that on the great day you will both be remembered in my Mass which will not be celebrated in as pompous a church as the one in which you will be married, but with love and a heart filled with hope that everything goes well and that both of you will know how to bear with each other until the end.
Give your dear parents my regards. I have not had time to write since I returned. The people here have been doing their homework. Yesterday I baptized 35 babies in one village that I attend. Two days before that I baptized 26 in another village. I hope the water lasts.
With a blessing, I remain,
Sincerely in Him,
(Fr. Harry Pelous was our pastor who built St. Maria Goretti Catholic School in our home town of Lake Arthur, LA. He was 53 when he penned this letter.)
8) Dear Ones,
Hector’s mother, Carmen Nieves-Pontón (Abuela/Mámi), died peacefully in her sleep in the early morning hours, Monday, 21 May 2012 at age 96. Héctor awoke very early with her on his mind hence he accompanied her soul to heaven. She had a diagnosis of acute dementia and has been slowly traversing beyond the veil of reality.
Recently, Héctor’s calls to his dear mother, a lifetime of Sunday night electronic visits, were resulting in her auditory mumbling so it was a gentle and definitive goodbye from a mother to her son on a distant shore. She was in her sweet casa with her granddaughter as her primary caretaker for this last year.
Abuela’s father, Adolfo, was the namesake of ‘Antoine Adolfo’, his maternal and paternal great-grandfathers respectively, a fact that pleased her immensely as she adored her wonderful father. Abuela is the last of our parents’ generation in my extended family with Héctor being the oldest of this next generation on down the lineage to Jacob Joseph!
Abuela was the loveliest of women, to the point, a mother/mother-in-law par excellence. She incarnated goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, kindness, duty, consideration, charity and understanding, munificence, untiring and dedicated care of her children, grand, great and great-great! In heaven we will all speak the same language, that of love, and then Antoine and I will tell her without translation of our love, esteem and hearts full of gratefulness for her life and emulation, but then again, all will be made known in an instant as we are known. How good the Good God is!
May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen!
“Bendición, Mámi! Bless me, Mámi!”
Mámi, Christmas 2011
1) ca. 1960 ~ Ramon Manuel age 53 & Carmen Nieves-Pontón age 45
2) Antoine’s Grandparents/Paternal and Maternal! Puerto Rico 1984
Lee Joseph Monlezun, Carmen Nieves-Pontón, Ramon Manuel Pontón and Anna ‘Gertrude’ Hensgens-Monlezun. Lee’s fathers’ name was ‘Antoine’ and Dona Carmens’ fathers’ name was Adolfo hence our Antoine Adolfo Pontón!
3) 1993: Héctor age 57, Mami age 77 & Antoine age 11
19) 23 July 2013
TO: My Son, Most Reverend Glen John Provost, Olivetan Benedictine Sisters of Holy Angels Convent, Priests, Family and Friends
FROM: Anna ‘Bernadette’ Monlezun-Pontón
RE: Bishop Jude Speyrer, the first leader of the Diocese of Lake Charles (1980 – 2000) died Sunday 21 July 2013 in Opelousas, LA at the age of 84. A Mass of Christian burial will be at 11 a.m. July 31 in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Lake Charles. Burial will be in New Bethany Cemetery on the grounds of Saint Charles Retreat Center in Moss Bluff.
I have just returned from Holy Angels Convent in Jonesboro, AR for our Oblate Spiritual Weekend where, providentially, I spoke to the topic “The Benedictine Spirituality of Heritage: Reverencing Those Who Have Gone Before!” I had placed on the piano in the convent meeting room, inclusive to my presentation, artifacts and memorabilia of Goretti Catholic School to include a Binder with photos of Father Speyrer, Sisters, faculty and students of many years ago.
Many of the Goretti Sisters inquired about this gentle man and I was able to then and now share,
+ I was so happy to have visited him in Opelousas a few years ago where he inquired about so many people, siblings, as well as many fond memories of our diocese and its good people. He recalled that my parents had sung in the diocesan choir for his installation as Bishop…I have the printed articles of this special event on Arthur Avenue!!
+ I thanked him for being my religion teacher and for the opportunity, by his invitation in 1990, to host a diocesan television segment which continues to this day, 23 years later, which he continued to view upon his retirement; I told him I would have been more attentive in class if I knew then what I know now!
+ We also spoke of the day my brother Alvin and sister Veronica drowned to which he recalled the faith and resolve of my mother and father to hold up for the rest of us and how he and Fr. Ferdinand Gouaux stood over their little bodies once pulled from the water never leaving them until my father was led to my mother in the car on the corner as she could come no closer. He and Fr. Gouaux, side by side, offered to The Father their little souls and big hearts into their eternal home. These special priests were the Celebrants with many concelebrants at The Mass of Angels. He wept as I told him that I had his printed homily that was posted in the Lake Arthur newspaper framed and has forever hung next to my bed; he had asked to read it and I brought it to him for that purpose. I thanked him for shepherding my parents and family post-drowning tendering them; now so many are all together in heaven rejoicing in The Light eternal! He said that he never really got over that day and I concurred but assured him that I had placed it all in the palm of The Father’s hand in trust and, By His Grace, leave them there.
+ He spoke in fondness and gratefulness toward my mother for her generous contribution in memory of my father toward the library in St. Charles Center where he summoned many to build this beautiful place of rest and spiritual wellspring spending precious time in His precious presence. He enjoyed sharing his German heritage with her. I told him of my ancestral home of origin, where he spent many hours, and all who come to her back door where ten children shared sacred space being formed and transformed by the love and intense toil of a father and mother who centered on their God Who they called Father and with Whom they now abide; these events are a memorial legacy. He informed me that he was aware of this and had joyfully visited my website on his iPad and had heard others speak of my retreats, Heritage Tours and Placed Based Heritage Education day especially for the Diocese of Lafayette school children!! I asked for his blessing upon departing. For goodness sake!
Bishop emeritus Speyrer will be buried Wednesday 31 July sharing the 28th anniversary of the death of my father. What a time in ‘Alleluia Square!’ All is made known in an instant and for eternity to live in The Light!
Thank you, God, for our parents, grandparents, priests, Sisters, aunts and uncles who mentored us …’in the way we should go so that when we are old we will not depart from it.’ I will miss them all the days of my life and my determination to join them is resolute as I take my place in honoring and reverencing in gratefulness those who have gone before by emulating and teaching what they taught me down through the generations; ‘to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next!’
May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen. God of our ancestors, help us cling to You.
REQUIESCAT IN PACE, dear friend and mentor! Lead, Kindly Light!
“Thanks for forwarding this It is so true. He was there for all of us Was so very kind, gentle, and helpful in all of his actions. Served many masses with him and all funerals during school hours. Had to place the cross in the police car for transport to graveyard as it did not fit with he and I in his vw. God bless him as he did unto us so many times. Thx again.” Tony Hensgens (my lovin-lovin first cousin!)
A few days later, as per requests…the framed newspaper article
next to my bed 48 years later…
SERVICES ARE HELD FOR TWO MONLEZUN CHILDREN; HEROISM BY ALVIN CITED IN LAKE ARTHUR TRAGEDY
Funeral services were held Friday afternoon at Our Lady of the Lake Church in Lake Arthur for Veronica Gertrude Monlezun, 6, and Alvin Monlezun, 10, who were drowned last Thursday after Alvin heroically leaped into the water in an effort to save his little sister.
The two children, whose parents are Mr. and Mrs. Lee J. Monlezun, were on the wharf near the boat landing across the street from their father’s bulk plant when the tragedy occurred.
The girl fell into the water and her brother immediately leaped in to rescue her. The body of the boy was recovered 20 minutes later and the girl was found 40 minutes later police reported.
The water was about 14 feet deep at the spot.
A Mass of Angels was said for the children Friday, with Rev. Jude Speyrer as celebrant, Rev. Charles Zaunbrecher as deacon and Rev. Ronald Bollich of Beaumont, TX as sub-deacon.
In the sanctuary were Rev. Edwin Bourgue, Msgr. Charles Martin of Jennings, Msgr. LaFleur, Rev. Daniel Habetz, Rev. Lloyd Hatfield, of Immaculata Seminary, and Rev. Bernard, chaplain of McNeese State College.
Burial was in St. Anthony Cemetery.
The children are survived by their parents; five brothers, Lee Jr., Robert, Charles, Malcome and Dominique; three sisters, Bernadette, Constance and Ione; and their grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Antoine Monlezun and Mrs. Joseph Hensgens.
Pallbearers were the childrens’ cousins, Anthony Hensgens, Leonard Hensgens, Raymond Hensgens, Patrick Habetz, Pirmin Habetz and Stephen Berken.
Editor’s Note: The following is the sermon given by Father Jude Speyrer at the services
for the Monlezun children. It is published here in Memoriam.
A bereaved man with a trace of despair in his voice once approached his minister: “Preacher,” he said, “where was God when my son died?”
Very wisely, the man of God replied, “And where was God when His Son died?”
Most of us responded to last Thursday’s tragedy with more or less the same reactions: Where was God when Alvin and Veronica died?
The answer of course, is the same: God was there. His good and gracious purpose may not always be discernible, and it would be presumptuous to answer for the almighty, but some reasons do come to mind.
God’s Son was allowed to die that we might live; not the life of the body, but the life of God Himself, a life of love. Had He not Himself proclaimed that He came that we may have life, and have it more abundantly? It was not a medicine bag of anti-biotics to fight our bodily fevers which He brought us; it was a way of love, “Greater love than this hath no many than to give his life…”
The death of Jesus took place almost two thousand years ago; it is not always as fresh in our minds as we would like it to be. And so periodically, this memory is refreshed, as a share in Christ’s own death when God uses the death of innocents to teach us about the important things of life.
We know about the important things, of course, but we forget. We place success in business, in family matters even in church affairs, over success in loving God and serving Him in our neighbor. May words have been addressed to us through the Bible and its weekly applications in countless sermons, but when these words fail, God reminds us with deeds as He did on Good Friday afternoon.
The redemptive death of Jesus is repeated in His own way in the death of two of our children. The community of Lake Arthur must not let this sacrifice be in vain. It must look at itself, at its own guilt, its own injustices and rise out from its neglect and indifference to God’s call of love by serving Him first.
Everyone would like to think that he has been placed on earth somehow for his betterment. Hardly articulate, these young children became loud witnesses to love, honor, justice, purity, innocence an bravery. We envy their contribution. We thank Lee and Gertrude as we reach out to them in sorrow.
Two splashes, a few ripples, then silence. May these ripples turn into chills of repentance as we are brought more closely together in love.
20) “BINGO IN THE ANCHOR ROOM AND OTHER PLACES”
He was lying in the middle of the church in front of the altar with the funeral pall placed on his casket by his three children; the tall son was in the middle with both daughters on each side.
Robert Dale Kenvyn died on a Sunday 25 October 2015 which culminated the last day of our 50th Reunion Class of 1965. There were twenty of us in that class, seven girls and all the rest boys. We were the first of the graduating classes at St. Maria Goretti Catholic School in Lake Arthur, LA. The school was razed in the summer of 2008.
My parents who birthed ten children toiled and sacrificed for 6 of their children to enroll at ‘Goretti’ which makes the place pretty special and many alumni were in those pews on this burial day.
Notation! Goretti students chipped excess mortar from a pile of bricks at recess in the early 1960’s which saved labor toward the construction of the new gym. This labor also went toward the cost of a special blue dye to be the inset in our high school rings if that pile was whittled down. We daily whittled and we did it; Rev. Harry Pelous and the Good Benedictine Sisters were so proud and so were we. One had a choice between two images of the Blessed Mother embossed on the crown of the ring.
My sister Constance Victoria sat with me for the funeral in the last pew on the last row for I had ‘gone silent’ with upper respiratory challenges. She stayed with me despite my insistence that she join the other alumni. My voice just went away 9 days before and with a retinue of medicine I was waiting for it to return. I wanted to attend in remembrance of this gentle boy-man who was the most jovial, kind and generous of men who suffered much and was now at rest.
The day of penning this narrative is the 50th anniversary of the vehicular accident of Donald Paul Dupont, Class of 1966 who remained in a coma for 8 years. He had proposed marriage the night before the accident to which I heartily said “yes, I will marry you!” He responded “and we will have eleven children, one more than your parents!!” I thought that was inferred with his proposed life as a farmer’s wife living on the family farm and doing what my mother did before me and her mother before her!
As I coughed through the funeral these remembrances poured over me as well as looking at the casket for I most remembered one in the same spot that held the two bodies of my young brother, age 10 and little sister, age 8 as they drowned together and my father wanted them buried together.
This horrific event occurred the day after my high school graduation and six months before Donald’s accident. Pain is part of the joy of life if well-lived for it takes a warrior’s heart to endure and thrive.
Our last row pew was almost too crowded with memories. In our younger days we never sat in that pew for it was right smack in front of the confessional where many a voice was in earnest, desperation or sorrow. Others would line up along that south wall with eyes down and hands clutched together in fervent prayer especially if Rev. Harry Pelous was behind the center curtain! Now votive candles stand against time in that holy spot.
I love the stained glass windows in Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Lake Arthur, LA, the white brick and straight backed pews for they make you sit up and think which forms prayer such as “Father, help me!” The cross…the sorrow…the joy of Your love and mercy is eternal. I pray daily “Thank you, Father! Praise You, Father! Mercy, Father! Wisdom, Father! Receive!”
Thank God there is a day of reckoning for I have a few questions but in that I write unceasingly I just know that The Light, which leads kindly, will shine too brightly for me to see my canon of pages. All will be known in an instant! Robert Dale Kenvyn now knows The Light for he has been prayed forward since the very first progenitor in his family lineage as we pray forward our own like a rosary, linked.
Celebration at the 50 yard line was shoved over by sorrow for we buried one of our own; Robert was at the beginning of my memory. Now grateful remembrances of 67 years of a full life are written and placed in Binders by year, month and date. Much is also published: www.leadkindlylight.net “We sit by fires we did not light. We drink from wells we did not dig!” Author Unknown
Today is All Souls Day in our liturgical calendar! Flowers have been arranged on the graves of ten family members as well as Donald and his dear parents. Tis a lovely job to pilgrimage to St. Anthony’s Cemetery according to this calendar honoring their lives and relishing memory.
The liturgical Reading for Robert’s funeral ended with the mightily hopeful words of St. Matthew 28:6 “He is not here…”
“He is not here. He sees who makes the bluebonnets grow!”
Constance Victoria Monlezun Darbonne