Updated: Mar 11, 2019
As Catholic Christians, we have a duty and a responsibility to celebrate and encourage the life of virtue of which the saints give us wonderful examples. On Enders Island, we take this responsibility very seriously - so much so, in fact, that every year we recognize five people who have, like the saints, given us examples of holiness and service, both to church and to community. We do this every fall at the St. Edmund’s Medal of Honor Dinner. This year, the banquet was held on October 14 and the honorees were His Grace, Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin; Mother Dolores Hart, a former actress who found her real vocation in a life of quiet contemplation as a Benedictine nun; Dr. Kitty Harris, who has been instrumental in the establishment of Collegiate Recovery Communities throughout the United States; Mr. Bob Valenti, whose quiet selflessness has benefited many in Mystic and throughout the state; and Chief James “Skip” Thomas, whose service at the local and state levels, particularly in the law enforcement community, has been his life’s work.
In the days following the actual event, hospitality was the order of the day, as Archbishop Martin remained and spent time with the community. His Grace is the postulator for the cause of canonization for Venerable Matt Talbot, a poor Dubliner who struggled with alcoholism and overcame his addiction through a profound conversion experience. The recovery community at Enders had the opportunity to share a meal with Archbishop Martin, after which he shared his knowledge of Matt Talbot, the person and the saint. In addition, the archbishop celebrated several Masses, a great privilege for the entire island community.
The first Mass he celebrated was the Votive Mass of St. Edmund of Canterbury, the patron of Enders Island, on the evening of the Medal of Honor Dinner. The Gospel reading for that Mass is St. Luke’s account of the Beatitudes. His Grace’s sermon started out with the words, “God’s logic is not our logic.” How true that is and how fortunate we are for that truth. It is, in fact, the presence of those people who are able to transcend the world’s logic that makes the St. Edmund Medal of Honor Dinner such a joyous and important occasion, not only for Enders Island, but also for the Church. Mother Dolores’ life is certainly a testament of the power of the human soul, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to transcend the “logic” of the world. Mother Dolores left a bright, promising career in Tinseltown, where she had starred alongside the likes of Elvis Presley, Hugh O’Brian and Montgomery Clift, to embrace a life of solitude and contemplation. God’s logic is, indeed, not our logic. We see this truth just as clearly in Dr. Kitty Harris, Chief Thomas and Bob Valenti.
St. Edmund’s life was one of faithful service and self-sacrifice. From a young age, he practiced asceticism and had a deep, prayerful relationship with Our Lord. But not all are called to the religious life and, indeed, most are called to a deep engagement with the world with all its various angles and structures. In the world as we currently see it, many are tempted to despair or to simply throw their arms up in the air and say, “There’s nothing I can do.” As Christians, men and women of faith, hope and love, events like the Medal of Honor banquet are often points of light in an often otherwise bleak world. Let’s take a moment to give thanks to God for people like Archbishop Martin, Mother Dolores Hart, Dr. Harris, Chief Thomas and Bob Valenti, who brighten the world in ways to which they are uniquely called. Let us also continually pray for the intercession of the saints like Edmund and Venerable Matt Talbot, that people may continually be graced with what they need to live our their unique vocations in this multifaceted and often distracting world.
View the entire photo album by I.Bruce Levine on our Flickr account: https://flic.kr/s/aHskFrWgrD