Always the Shepherd

The Lost Sheep/Daniel Bonnell
The Lost Sheep/Daniel Bonnell

Yesterday I was looking at a video of a Dominican event that took place in March, 2013. At the end of the video the camera panned the group of people in attendance. Then it focused on some Dominican friars standing in the back of the room. And there he was, Father Michael, holding court just like he used to do at St Vincent, hugging and kissing up a storm. There was audio, too, and I could faintly hear Father’s voice. Gosh, it brought tears to my eyes to see, as real again, a  common scene I have remembered and cherished. Sad to say, they were still tears of sadness, not joy. I watched the clip twice and and then decided to just leave it alone. It’s not surprising to me that these ‘little things’ still hold a very deep meaning. Later I remembered that I had actually called Father M that day, wanting to know if he was ready to eat some pies after completing his chemo. Well, he was out of state, he said, but he was anxious for pie upon his return to St Pius. It was exactly a year and a day before he died.

I want to focus on the positive. So I’ve decided that I will share some early memories of Father Michael-before his cancer diagnosis. I know that I have mentioned that I came back to my parish to discuss some spiritual issues with a priest. It was not a matter of confession; there was more to it. After a long delay, I approached Father M and he was very welcoming. First I emailed Father, then I visited him in the sacristy, then set up an appointment. This is about my first appointment.

I made the appointment about a week before and was a little nervous, yet felt I had found the right person. I was so impressed with Father Michael, I thought “I just know he’s going to talk about the grace of Reconciliation”. I was sure he would suggest that to me. I thought if I made my confession to Father Michael, I’d be so emotionally spent that I wouldn’t be able to talk about all the other stuff. So that morning,after Mass at St Vincent, I went to a close-by parish for Confession. I knew the priests were available right after Mass. So funny, because I think I felt like I had to cleanse my soul before I dared face the very holy Father Michael. And yes, he did bring up Reconciliation that day!

Well, I was on time for the appointment, Father Michael was a few minutes late. I knew he had been with a prominent member of our parish who had passed away. The receptionist had been on the phone “getting the word out”. When Father arrived, we went into his office and sat down. Even though I had eaten, my stomach had been rumbling away-probably nerves. I decided to just be open about it and apologize for the noise ahead of time. Well, Father M laughed and said “Oh you don’t know about me and my stomach issues. Girl, you and I will just sit here and gurgle at each other!” So that broke the awkwardness for me! Father Michael then started to give me a history of his stomach issues,the current ones (which many ladies of the parish knew well-and discussed freely) . He then told of the bleeding ulcer he had in Denver. He was Dominican Novice Master at the time. He said the doctors had told him he had “24 hours to live”. He claimed he told them “Good, no drama, don’t worry about notifying my family”. He never said how long it took him to recuperate or if his family were ever notified. I asked what he thought caused the ulcer and he said “I kind of let everything get away from me”. I didn’t feel comfortable asking him to elaborate, though now I wish I had. In later conversations, he did say that whenever his stomach would give him trouble, he’d just stop eating,sometimes for a few days. He talked about possibly having lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome and multiple bowel obstructions. Father M was very frank about this stuff- though he never mentioned a doctor’s diagnosis. And– he also alluded to some regret about not being stricter as a Novice Master-“when I hear how some of them are now.”

So after the stomach discussion Father asked me about myself. He was so careful in how he asked about education. It was clear to me that he was leery of offending someone (especially a woman) by assuming her level of education was lower than she had achieved. I’ll bet he’d made that faux pas a few times! The caution was actually very charming. But I only have a B.A. from Loyola-so he had nothing to fear. That’s pretty average. Then Father asked more questions about possibly stressful situations in my life. I recognized all the queries as being pretty standard about death, divorce, moving, job, abuse, addiction. Father was very gentle and kind and tentative in his questioning. I think he just assumed I was having marital problems. He mentioned annulments and remarriage a few times. Well, my issue was none of these, but it took me three or four appointments before I felt comfortable telling him. I didn’t want to be discourteous and shut down all his kind effort, so I went along with it.

Of course we talked about other things, most notably family, Reconciliation and the Eucharist. But most interestingly, Father Michael gave me a little lecture on the power of the sense of touch. He explained that when he was a freshman at Dalhousie University, he and his older brother had attended a seminar or lecture by a very famous scientist. The lecture was all about the sense of touch and how important and meaningful it was. I found myself thinking “I am a wife and mother of three, why is he telling me this? If nothing else, I am fully aware of how important this is for bonding mother and baby.” Well, Father talked for over ten minutes on this subject. I was fascinated at his great emotion in relaying his thoughts with such conviction. Father ended his talk telling me of the new widow he had just left. He described poignantly how she had stroked her dead husband’s arm over and over. And he showed me just how she did this. He choked up and teared up as he described his awe being in the presence of such a great love.Quite an unexpected turn in our talk, but as I grew to know Father better, I learned that using touch was a hallmark of Father Michael’s being.

Then we spoke of the Eucharist. I’ve written about this awhile back. For some reason Father Michael was impressed by my words that day. I still wish I could remember what I’d said. In any case, Father M started talking about the way people received the Eucharist , people who would just grab IT from him, those who approached disrespectfully, those who would receive and just walk out the door. He lamented that poor catechesis  had resulted in people ‘who didn’t have a clue’. He was truly sad about this. Then Father shared the experience of celebrating Mass in Canada with those very close to him. He quickly gave a rundown of those who were no longer practicing Catholics and those extended family who belonged to different denominations. With big tears rolling down his cheeks, he said “I feel so bad about their receiving Communion, but I don’t know what to say.” Wow, was I surprised about that!!!!  After all he was a priest-and a good and holy one- who wouldn’t listen to him?  I was concerned and empathetic, seeing again this great emotion show so quickly. I said “Father Michael, I can understand that you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or start a war, but maybe one of your brothers could explain this in a non-hurtful way”. Father just shook his head, he felt truly helpless about the situation. Father was unique in openly showing his vulnerability and I was privileged to see this in significant matters of faith. When he visited Canada, I prayed that he might have peace about this.

In my earliest posts, I’ve written about other aspects of this meeting. I won’t repeat them here.The meeting ended most pleasantly. And I felt that God had given me a great gift in leading me to Father Michael. It is so nice to reminisce. So much was so meaningful.

After All, We Are An Easter People

549443_873708899357112_6993983978990308286_nIt’s just after midnight on Easter Sunday. I attended the Easter vigil at St Vincent’s. It was exciting to welcome the newly baptized and confirmed members of our church. That was a true highlight of the liturgy. I’m glad I attended for that reason.

But gosh, the homily was such a downer. Just my insignificant opinion.  Our priest chose to emphasize the negative (dead- as he put it) attitudes in our lives…..on Easter!! No encouragement, no empathy, no attempt to understand… depressing.  It left me feeling sad, for I know every one  of the congregation has experienced these feelings.

To counter this I’m going to share some wonderful words of Father Michael from his emails to me. I needed to be lifted up after that homily; reading them has  helped immensely. Hope you all will enjoy the POSITIVE:

After our first ‘in-person’ meeting-

I was thrilled to see you this morning “in the sacristy”!!!!! You are so joyful and faithfilled and your family is lucky having you praying for them.Come often just to laugh or say hi !

         If you want to chat about anything, call anytime.


Father Michael

Know you are welcome anytime to share anything. You can decide when it is good or the spirit guides you. I’m thrilled with your story. God is so powerful and yet we still need to hear these kinds of stories.

        Hope the rest of the day is great.. Keep COOL as best as you can.

Fr. Michael op

    I don’t mind at all receiving your emails. I am sorry to read your son’s view of faith. Sometimes I   wonder how our children turn so far from faith after being formed in it. But with God all things are possible and that anger/hurt may turn to a new zeal. Maybe now that he is looking for a job, he will be more open to God’s grace and gifts.

        Blessings on all your worries but gratefulness for your faith.

Father Michael

        Thanks for that funny story about your Aunt. Everyone should have an aunt like that.

       I am so touched by your generous offer. Honestly, that is hardly necessary. I have loved my priesthood these 25 years although there have been painful times. But God has always stuck with me. Hardly a day goes by where I don’t pray in gratitude for his fidelity. I am awed by it.

It is true that the most devastating moment in my academic life led me to the Dominicans. I have often thought of that. Today, it was comforting to know someone of the status of St. Alphonsus Liguori had a terrible professional experience that led to great things.

I’m off to Canada on Friday. Say a prayer that all will be well with the family. I just want pleasant weather and to swim.

Fr. Michael

After an unpleasant, touchy ‘discussion’ of common stereotypes:

I once did a talk with a Dominican sister and it was on stereotypes. We would mention a culture and the audience had to do a spontaneous response. It was astounding. For almost every culture the first response was negative. For example Irish equals drunk, German equals rigid etc. Truly, I have heard the Polish jokes but I have always been dismayed because of the brilliance of our Polish brothers and the faith that saved a nation when so much of Eastern Europe lost it. The human condition seems to move quickly to negative responses which I see as the result of original sin.

One blessing I have always thanked God for is that I usually can see positive things even in the terrible realities of life. Some say I have rose colored glasses, others just say I am naive. But I do believe God wants me to love and to live by positive reinforcement. There is a school of psychology that is directed at healing by affirmations that help the patient.

Anyway, I’m glad you are blessed with finding the good in people.

Also well done at the casino. I just know you have good karma!!!!!

Fr. Michael

It is a wonderment to me that even in talking about  negative, unpleasant things, Father Michael was able to see the good, the hopeful, the positive. It is so good to see his words and remember.

I feel much better—–Happy Easter to all!


Home for a Year Now….

Fra Angelico Update
Fra Angelico Update

 It’s been a year and yet in some ways, it seems like yesterday. Tonight at St Vincent Ferrer church, we will celebrate a memorial Mass in honor of Father Michael. As happy as I am that Father Michael is in Heaven, it still saddens me that he was lost to us so soon. And personally, I regret that I did not get to know Father Michael earlier. Two years is way too short a time, but I am grateful for what I had.

From its beginning, this blog has been an attempt to honor and remember Father Michael. And I have done my best to share what I know of him with all of you. I have always been truthful, which is why not everything you read here of Father M advertises his perfection. No, Father was not by any means perfect. He had his faults.  But he was most certainly a holy, holy man and a true instrument of Our Lord. I’ve never met anyone like him; I know I’ll never meet his like again, at least in this life.

Over the course of this past year, fellow parishioners have periodically written about their experiences with and thoughts and feelings for Father Michael. I identified with each person’s story, the familiarity and truth of Father Michael came through in each essay. Every story was authentic and celebrated the lovely aspects of the character of Father Michael. How much he was loved! How much he is missed!

On this first anniversary of Father Michael’s death, I want to state  a simple reason why he was so special to me. For me Father Michael just was kindness.He personified that fruit of the Holy Spirit. Sure, I’ve experienced my share of true kindness from many others in my life. It was there in my parents, my family, my friends, coworkers and sometimes strangers. It supported me and lifted me up. Experiencing kindness taught me how to be kind. It heightened my awareness of how little things, simple, kind acts can make a difference in people’s lives.

But the kindness in Father Michael just enveloped his whole personality. Whether talking or silent, laughing or serious, in Father Michael the kindness was always there. Gestures and words really weren’t necessary; somehow the kindness stood on its own with him. I just felt it. I could see it. It seemed to emanate from him. In my whole life I have NEVER felt kindness as sincere, as accepting, as loving, as warm, as dependable-as shown by Father Michael. To me this was the very tangible presence of the grace of God-that just could not be contained-but kindly reached out to all. I know that I will never experience this level of complete kindness from another person. It was another special gift of Father Michael.

We look for the Lord in each other. And usually, with effort, we do find Him. But with Father Michael, He was always right there… looking necessary.

                                                  I live now, not I, but Christ lives in me…

Simple Gifts and Insights


Mexican fresco
Mexican fresco

I’ve been thinking some more (in my continued insomniac condition) of the last month of Father Michael’s life. Because it was this time last year, it is so very easy to feel like it was yesterday!

On Fat Tuesday in 2014, I brought some Polish paczki to treat the brothers at St Pius. I was due to meet Father Michael at 3pm.  I parked my usual  three blocks away  from St Pius and walked-carrying the pastries-which were quite heavy. As I approached Ashland, I saw a familiar figure come out of the Province office building. It was Father Michael, all bundled up, walking slowly and leaning heavily on his cane. I was too far away to catch up with him. So I continued my careful walk on the icy sidewalks ,but also kept an eye on Father M. He moved slowly, but determinedly, got to the light and rested his weight on the cane. I was so touched , watching Father. He was putting all his effort into getting himself to that priory. And he was going there in sheer goodness and selflessness, to meet with me-a proven thorn in his side! I was as moved  thinking this as I had been at hearing so many of Father’s homilies. I was teary- eyed when I finally caught up with Father at the priory door. He greeted me kindly and we went into the parlor to talk.

Father Michael said he’d again been doing the clerical work- some phone calls for the province. He was happy that he could do something.  I also think at that time, that his living quarters were probably overrun with ‘organizers’. After Father died,  some parish ladies told me they had been recruited to organize, rearrange and discard Father’s  papers, cards, letters and many possessions. I can imagine how uncomfortable he was with this. Not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings though, I bet he acted grateful to the ladies. No wonder he stayed down in the parlor!

But anyway, that day, Father M happily told me he had written a Lenten reflection for the Dominican website. There is a link to it at the end of the “Humble Preacher” post on this blog. Father told me “I mention you in the reflection”. Well, I knew it really couldn’t be that simple or personal. But he said “Listen” and took a paper from his pocket and read it to me. Here is the line he was talking about:

“What we are experiencing is the fidelity of God. He never abandons us. No matter how low life might seem to get there is always abundant hope. I am living my time of hope. Even though things do not always look good I feel so blessed by many people asking God for ‘ a total cure for Father Michael.’ “

I thanked Father Michael for remembering me (and so many others!!) in that reflection. We had a lovely, peaceful visit-for the most part.

In these latter visits, many times Father Michael would  get very angry and confrontational. He was quite moody. I remember one conversation where he got irritated that I had used the term ‘water sports’. I had been talking about his young life in Nova Scotia, imagining how kids would grow up surrounded by the ocean and lakes and would take advantage of the many recreation possibilities of the water. Well, Father Michael got so angry with me, saying that I was implying all Nova Scotia people  hung out in fancy yachts.

Sometimes it was very hard for him to calm down. I think many people would say this was his cancer talking and acting in such a mean way. I certainly believe the stress and pain and sadness acted as catalysts for this uncharacteristic behavior. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that there was no truth in it. On the contrary,in seeing these moments I feel that I was blessed with a glimpse of the soul and character of Father Michael. It was a glimpse with a different perspective, for sure.It was always so easy to see the good in Father when all was well. Father Michael simply shone with the good. But  these other traits-the darkness, the anger, the impatience-they were very real. In observing these negatives, I comprehended  the human and sinful things with which Father Michael struggled. Along with Father M’s many virtues, these struggles, too, contributed to the making of this wonderful man . And seeing this complete picture, it made me all the more appreciative of Father Michael’s true holiness.


Seeking and Seeing the Good

St Therese’s quote is pretty straightforward. I think it sums up the best in Father Michael’s life: he was consistently a truly loving person. Not that he never calculated. No, he certainly did -and there were some not-so-fine moments that I witnessed. But they were few and far between – a small reminder to me that all of us, even very holy people like Father Michael, are still sinners.

But the bulk of what I saw and heard of Father Michael was unmistakably loving. He once told me “In the course of my life and my priesthood, I have found that 99.9% of all people are good . And I do believe that all people are good.” I listened to him and didn’t interrupt or  comment,  but realized how different that was from my belief . I was more into “looking for the good” in folks and not usually expecting to find it. In my heart, I didn’t feel that most people were good. I kind of saw them as flawed but decent, well-meaning for the most part-but not simply as “good”. I was (and still am) wary, reserved and cautious. I considered how different my approach to others would be if I believed with all my heart that they were truly, unquestionably, good. How comfortable I would be ,assured that others only thought the kindest and best things about me! Knowing that I was dealing with good people guided by the truth would be reassuring and reinforce the positive traits in my personality.Something to think about.

I considered how Father Michael might incorporate this attitude into his personality and life experience. And I remembered an incident in a restaurant where the young lady taking his order assured Father Michael that he’d be able to self-serve cranberry juice. Given the type of fast food place it was, I had my doubts. Sure enough, there was no cranberry juice on tap. Father M chose lemonade instead. But I was a little indignant and said “You asked that girl specifically about the cranberry juice and she answered you specifically!” I was considering whether the place perhaps had bottled juice stored elsewhere-and that we should go back and ask her. But Father Michael just smiled at me and said sweetly “Oh she’s overworked and underpaid, don’t worry about it”. Well, shut my mouth! But I can see here not only Father M’s patience and charity in his empathy for the worker, but also his will and kindness to ignore the bad-the girl’s discourtesy and her lie. A little thing again-with potential.

Not long after, I had lunch again with Father Michael. It was one of the most interesting and informative conversations I’d ever had with him. We talked uninterrupted for over two hours. At the very end Father Michael said “We’ve got to talk again. I want to tell you my idea that will solve all the problems in the Church.” So I was thinking “He waits till now to mention that ? “ I wondered if he was joking. I hadn’t even mentioned any problems in the Church! I thought “Well, he had to have shared that with his brothers already, I’m sure” And I thought, if so, it couldn’t be something very obvious or revolutionary, could it? Dominicans were still being their Dominican selves. Now I’ll never know. But I have wondered if Father Michael’s seeing all people as truly good was somehow part of the problem-solving.

I like the idea that in choosing to always see and expect only the good in people, Father Michael was expressing his longing and love for God…..and preparing the way.

“Behold, the kingdom of God is among you.”
Luke 17:21

Happy Memories in the Bleak Midwinter

Setting-the-TableSetting-the-TableIt’s the end of 2014 and I’ve been battling the flu through Christmas and I’m still battling. This is a hard one to kick. And I find myself thinking of Father Michael during the holidays last year. He had held up the idea of a special time coming in December. He would mention it often;he hoped to have an extended time of feeling more like himself . This was post healing service and in many ways, Father M felt that he was doing better after the service. He was so hopeful.

I recently found his text thanking me for my Christmas gift to him. Father M was so delighted he’d be able to buy a work of art. He mentioned the painting he loved of the rowboat ‘that will one day take me to meet God’.

Father Michael never got me any presents, but would share things that were incredibly special with me. During the holidays last year he painstakingly made me tea and called me over to look at his computer monitor. There he had a video clip from youtube all set up to show me. It had been filmed by a neighbor who was hosting the Kyte family for dinner in November 1970, within a few short weeks of the death of their mother. You can access this clip by clicking on the picture of Father Michael at 17 in the side panel on this site. In the clip, Father M is the gorgeous and vivacious redhead on the left. What a young-looking 17! I think he looks more like 14 ! Father Michael told me that his best friend at the time, Bernie, is the young man next to him. Bernie’s mom is the hostess.Father’s dad, Arthur, sits across from him. Father Michael remarked as I watched this “there we are , like a bunch of banshees!”  Have no idea what he meant by that-they all seemed so sedate, well-behaved and hungry. And I do sense their cohesiveness and concern for each other. Their mother really must have been the crowning glory of that beautiful family…and she was now gone.

In the same visit, Father brought out a collage of family pictures his brother had composed . He was so happy to point out all the babies in those pictures! I wanted to really look at this collage, kind of study it. But Father had more surprises. He brought out an album, pictures of the art work which he had collected. Long before -I’d actually suggested he do this ; I was so surprised he had taken my advice!! His friend in Colorado had helped him put it together-such a kind gesture. He loved going through the pictures and explaining why each was so special to him.

And then Father brought out a Waterford crystal chalice set that had been given to him by one of his Dominican brothers. What a treat to share and admire!

So here I am, thinking of all these little things, sharing them was such a gift to me. And of course, there was the gift and kindness of Father Michael. God is so good.

Happy New Year!


A Piece of Work

10659323_792403544131940_8024746960880772086_n“In genuine gratitude toward God man becomes beautiful. He emerges from immanence, from the confines of ego-relatedness and enters into the blissful giving of himself to God, the quintessence of all glory, into the realm of goodness and true kindness. In gratitude, man becomes great and expansive. Blessed and victorious freedom blooms in his soul.”

Just some short thoughts today….the quote above is from  the book, The Art of Living by Dietrich von Hildebrand-his essay on gratitude. I’ve had this book since the early ’90s. I keep it bedside and continue to find new meanings and nuances in all its essays.

This quote has always been one of my favorites, but in re-reading it today, I am struck by how it captures Father Michael and his ever-present gratitude. Who can ever forget all the times Father Michael said “God is so good”? He was constantly expressing his gratitude and calling our attention to do the same.

Good and kind, great and expansive….. beautiful. I am grateful to have seen the truth of this in Father Michael. Blooms of his soul!!!

And that brings this Shakespeare quote to mind:

“What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel! in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals!”

Blessing The Animals


These pictures were taken on October 4, 2012….just a few months before Father Michael received his cancer diagnosis. I had seen him after Mass the day before. He had told the story of his mother and the family’s sheets. Very touched, I’d written a note thanking him and he responded the next day with:

I will bless the animals at 2:30 pm. Why don’t you bring your dog? I have mass at noon.It is the feast of St.Francis.Have the best day ever.

Fr. M

Well, my dog Becket was very old, 14 years- with hip problems. I tried to get him into my car which was in the garage, but he just couldn’t jump into the back seat! Becket weighed 140 pounds, so I also had trouble lifting him. It was a lost cause. I had started early, but I didn’t make it to the blessing that day. Later I told Father M what happened. He wrote:

Pet blessings are not restricted to St Francis Day. You can bring him any time I am there and I will give him a blessing.We had a good crowd of pets yesterday. The children absolutely love it.


Father Michael

So on October 5, I experienced a ‘drive thru’ blessing. I was able to get Becket into the car easily from the height of the curb in front of my house …..a little miracle. Father Michael was waiting for me as I drove into the St Vincent parking lot. He told me “Don’t worry about getting Becket out of the car. Just roll the window down and I’ll sprinkle him”.Father Michael addressed Becket by name and Becket turned to look at him attentively. We chatted afterward. Father Michael said, a little wistfully “he seems like such a nice dog….is he a good dog?” ” Yes, he certainly is” I said. And again I thought of how Father Michael would have loved to have a dog. Father was so happy doing this- just as he looks in the pictures. Without a doubt,it was a delight to him .Father Michael then said “Well, I’m glad I got to bless him. You’ll see, he’ll feel better now.” He knew that Becket had been struggling at times with arthritis and doggy old age ailments. Becket did seem much more energetic for some time afterward ! Becket died in his sleep in July 2013.

Bittersweet memories today….but I’m so grateful I have them!

”And How Are You Today, My Dearest, Dearest Darling ?”

A Simple Gesture

Father Michael loved his ladies. These fortunate souls were usually home-bound and received regular visits from Father M. Some of them were quite elderly-in their nineties and even over a hundred years old. He loved bringing them Holy Eucharist and visiting with them. He admitted to being totally fascinated with their life stories and wise perspectives. Father Michael often mentioned how older people showed openly how their souls were preparing to meet God. He told me that the visits truly inspired awe in him. He approached them with reverence , respect and humor.

Father Michael had his own way of inspiring awe , to be sure. Many times I heard him say “And how are you today, my dearest, dearest darling?” as he answered his calls or greeted some ladies after Mass. Father Michael was a preacher to his very core. And I witnessed that charism spill over at times into regular conversation and everyday etiquette. A few words from Father Michael could easily be God’s grace to a needy soul. He just knew the right thing to say, or to make the simple meaningful gesture…..always something framed with love.

I once challenged Father Michael about the “dearest darling” line. I said it kind of sounded like his Canadian version of  Auntie Mame. Well, that didn’t change anything in his view; it stayed a VERY Father Michael turn of phrase. And he used it often-even on me! I have to admit that being addressed directly like that  had its  warmth and charm . Those ladies were so blessed!

Father Michael continued the visits to his ladies,as best he could, throughout his illness. Calling on the lady friends while he fought his cancer was priestly -and an effortful, holy thing. He cherished bringing them the Eucharist. He relished their conversations. Father Michael was always a priest, first and foremost. Here is a text Father M sent me in February, about a month before he died:

“I had a good nite! Thank God! I was tired after doing the funeral of my 99 year old girlfriend. She and I were supposed to get together this Thursday since we hadn’t seen each other since Xmas. Hope you are rested as well. My objective today is to go for a walk.”

Second nature to Father M; no big deal. Those dearest darlings were surely blessed. Yet they walked meaningfully with Father Michael in his illness, and so blessed him.