Posted by: fvbcdm | May 10, 2012

Feast of Saint Damien (10 May 2012)

A couple of days ago, one of the Reso men called to tell me that Olga, his mother, had died this past weekend at the age of 98.  She would have been 99 in September, and of course 100 years old in September of 2013.  When I first went to Saint Dominic Parish in New Orleans as pastor in 1971, I came to know Olga and several other members of her numerous family, and I began to record this daily message on the telephone—a practice that my predecessor had begun a year or two earlier.  Now, forty-one years later, I have the privilege of sending out another daily message, this time about Olga as the arrangements for her funeral are being made in New Orleans.  She was one of the most active parishioners of Saint Dominic Parish, singing in the choir, working in the Altar Society, and a participant in the Dominican Laity Group.  

I remember that shortly after I met her, we got to talking about family histories, as New Orleans people are so apt to do.  She showed me scrapbooks of her forebears in the Pyrenees of southwestern France, near Lourdes.  Her maiden name was Arseguet, not a common name in Louisiana since there were very few people from that part of France among the Louisiana immigrants.  I seem to recall that she had gone to the Gascon region of southwestern France to come to know the country where her parents came from and to visit distant relatives there. 

When her son called me by telephone earlier this week to tell me of her death, he explained that she had made a list of those persons who were to be notified when her death occurred, and that I was among them.  This is the first time in my life that this has happened to me, that I am aware of.  I am grateful to Olga for including me in that list, and to the family for carrying out her wishes.  This morning, I offered Mass for her repose in case she needs prayers, and will continue to do so.

This Thursday, Olga will be laid to her rest.  A very significant part of Saint Dominic Parish history and of the Catholic history of New Orleans.  Those of us who were fortunate enough to have known her realize the significance of this event.  To those who didn’t know her, she was just a very old lady who has died.  But to us who knew her and the details of her life, she was a pillar of the religious and civic community and the kind of person of whom we can all be proud.

Let me ask that you remember Olga Reso in your prayers. And then ask yourself: have I made a positive contribution to my family, my parish, my community as she has done? Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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