By Susanna Bolle
Most mornings after Mass, I would walk directly to work, though I always noticed Jim. He parked his car on the road beside the sidewalk I used. Jim was hard to miss; he always arrived to daily Mass well-dressed and had a peaceful demeanor about him. It didn’t matter if it was a Tuesday morning, 12 degrees outside, and he would only be seen by 15 people. Jim wore his Sunday best every day of the week, and every once in a while he would wear his shiny, satin tie, making his sky blue eyes ever more beautiful and deep.
Morning after morning, I would walk past Jim as he opened the door to his car. We would exchange a friendly wave, but it was not for several more months that we exchanged words. Finally, I made the simple decision to introduce myself to this man I had so long admired from several church pews away. It was from that moment that my mornings would never be the same.
Though I know not how old he is, this man in his 70s or 80s has an undoubtedly youthful and vibrant soul. It would take pages to write about how this man has been Christ to me, but there is no doubt he has challenged me to grow more deeply in my friendship and commitment to the Lord. It was nine months ago that Jim asked me if I would join him in a nine-month first Friday Mass novena. He said that he wanted to do one before it would be too late. This past Friday was the end of our novena, and Jim held me accountable to making sure I never missed.
I am grateful to say that I still get to see him at daily Mass, and I want to use this post to show my gratitude for him. Thank you, Jim, for giving me a book of saints and trying to find the patron saint of administrative assistants. Even though you couldn’t find one, you did find a St. Susanna, and you made sure to tell me about her. Thank you, Jim, for giving me your umbrella when I forgot to bring mine with me. Thank you, Jim, for sharing your binoculars to make sure I could see the angels in the cupola of the Cathedral. Thank you, Jim, for your countless acts of kindness toward me and for helping me to grow in virtue so that hopefully, with the help of your witness (and accountability in getting me to morning Mass), I will stay the course and keep my gaze on Jesus—just as you have shown me to do.
About the Author:
Susanna Bolle is the administrative assistant to Jeff Cavins in the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis. She is currently enrolled in the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry program with the School of Divinity at the University of St. Thomas. If she isn’t at home brewing coffee or tasting wine with friends, you can follow her travels at Fiat and a Lily.