Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Michael Brandon

5/3/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The first Ordinary Heroes of my life were my parents Al and Kay Brandon.  Though they have each gone to their eternal rest, the lessons that they taught me and my sister have grown in importance as my walk of faith becomes deeper day by day.

Finding the hero in ordinary people is about the eyes with which we look for them.

Finding the hero in ordinary people is about the eyes with which we look for them.

Highlights

By Michael Brandon

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/3/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in Christian Saints & Heroes


TUCSON, AZ (Catholic Online) - One definition of a hero, though sexist, brought home the first Ordinary Heroes I encountered in my life.  It stated that a hero is "a man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength."  Then it gave as an example the following: "RAF pilots were the heroes of the Battle of Britain."  Well, that is a part of my father's heroism.  My Dad was an RCAF pilot during the Battle of Britain, as Canadians joined up to help the United Kingdom fight off the Fascists. 

But, before he left to fly Spitifire airplanes as a member of the 421 Red Indian Squadron of the RCAF, my mother insisted on marrying him, so that he would know that she was waiting for him.  They already knew of men who received Dear John letters overseas, and my mother was determined that she would be faithful to her love for him.  They wrote lots love letters to each other, and my sister still has many of them, which my daughters have been able to read  to see an earthly love that sustained my father while he fought for freedom.  They are letters of undying love in the face of danger.
 
When my father returned from the war, my parents moved together to London Ontario, so my father could complete his university degree.  Then he and my mother tried to find the right work environment for them to build a family.  Part of my father's education was becoming a convert to Roman Catholicism, so he and my mother could raise children together in the same faith.
 
Like many men who went to war, my father had had his immune system compromised by the stress levels that flying a warplane into battle can bring.  He developed crippling arthritis, and so they figured out together how to deal with it.  My father became an accountant, and ran a small practice from his home for the rest of his life.  My mother worked by his side, doing whatever she could to support him.  She did bookkeeping in client's offices, since my father was not able, and they were a team.  Early in this remake of my father's career aspirations, I was born, followed by my sister a few years later.
 
My parents were Catholics from the pre-Vatican II era, and though they adapted pretty well, and were faithful church goers, and contributors, much of their faith showed in their actions, not so much in their talk.  They led by example.  I remember the family rosary in the evenings, as my sister and I knelt at an ottoman in the middle of the living room, while my parents sat in their chairs behind us, leading us in prayer.
 
My mother told me a few years ago, before she died, about a decision that she and my father had agonized over for me when I was quite young, that they knew would have a serious impact on me.  It did have a serious impact, and was at the foundation of my rejection of the faith many years later.  Yet, it proved in the end to have been a wise decision, as through their continued prayers, I was not lost, just missing in action for a time.
 
My father passed away in the fall of 1983.  I lived near them in London at the time, and my sister lived in Toronto, Ontario.  Dad had a massive heart attack, and was on life support.  The doctors told us that he had only 5% function in his heart.  My sister came home that weekend, and we went to see my father.  He had miraculously revived.  We spent Saturday afternoon with him, and it was just like when we were kids.  We joked with each other the way we had back then, and just loved each other simply.  After we left, my father slipped into unconsciousness, where he stayed until he died several days later.  I had the privilege of being with my mother when he died. 
 
My mother was a strong woman.  She had to be to care for my father and for my sister and me.  We often misunderstood that rigidity that surfaced in her.  As My Dear Wife also is disabled, I now can understand my mother and her love for my dad.  My mother's example of perseverance, in the trial of loving a person with all your heart that you have watched physically decline, on days when your heart wants to cry out for mercy, gives me strength today.
 
My mother was no shrinking violet, and she called a spade a spade.  Many years ago, when I was particularly off in left field, she prayed for God to hit me over the head with a baseball bat.  About 6 years ago, her prayer was answered as God who had a better plan, allowed me to be hit in the head by a Ford Aerostar van.  That incident left me disabled myself, and has allowed me to see the wonderful example that my father was, in how he dealt with his own infirmity.  I have come to understand how difficult life was for him, and how much he loved us and God to never have quit.
 
About 5 years ago, my mother became suddenly, deathly ill.  My Dear Wife and I, along with two of my cousins, were able to be present at the moment when she was ushered into the kingdom of heaven.  The doctor called us at home near midnight to tell us that he thought my mother would not make it through the night.  We called my cousins and met them back at mom's hospital bed.  After she received the Sacrament of the Sick from the on call priest, we sat around her, and prayed the Hail Mary, Glory Be, and concluded with an Our Father.  At the Amen of the Our Father, we all witnessed her spirit leaving the room to go and join my dad, and all the saints in heaven. 
 
Just as I completed this last sentence, My Dear Wife called me to come and pray the Rosary with her.   She had taken my rosary out from under the pillow in our bedroom.  This particular Rosary had been the one that my father received on joining the Knights of Columbus.  I have carried it with me for many years.  Last year the rosary links suddenly all turned to gold.  But, this morning as we prayed, Jesus fell off the cross, a reminder from my father to us that though Jesus died for us, it was his Resurrection that conquered death and sin.  After we finished praying, I replaced the now broken crucifix, with the crucifix from the Knights of Columbus Rosary that I received when I became a Knight, further linking us with my father.  Even though my dad has been dead for almost 30 years, he still remains with us.
 
My Dear Wife also reminded me that I could not have written this piece about my parents until recently, because I had not come to the knowledge that they were Ordinary Heroes in my life before.  She is so right, and that serves as a reminder to me that finding the hero in ordinary people is about the eyes with which we look for them.

-----

Michael Brandon is a Canadian Catholic, in love with God in His three persons, and in love with his wife and soul mate.  He is also the father of three, step father of three, and step grandfather to 2 1/3.   He and his wife spend part of winters keeping warm in sunny Arizona.  You can visit him at his blog site Freedom Through Truth.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Christian Saints & Heroes

Pope Cornelius and Bishop Cyprian are Examples for this Age of Martyrs Watch

Image of The blessed Cyprian suffered martyrdom on 14 September, under the emperors Valerian and Gallienus, but in the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is honor and glory for ever. Amen.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

God and his angels look down upon us; Christ, who looks on as we do battle in the contest of faith. What great dignity and glory are ours, what happiness to struggle in the presence of God and to be crowned by Christ our judge. Let us be armed with a great ... continue reading


Feast of St Augustine of Hippo: Defender of Truth Watch

Image of St. Augustine:

By F. K. Bartels

If there is any message which can be drawn from St. Augustine's life, and there are many, it is the message of repentance and conversion. This is a message the world desperately needs to hear today. It is one of heartfelt dedication to Christ as Master, Teacher and ... continue reading


Saint Bernard of Clairvaux Reminds Us that 'Love Is Sufficient of Itself' Watch

Image of Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church

By Deacon F.K. Bartels

It is true that the creature loves less because she is less. But if she loves with her whole being, nothing is lacking where everything is given. To love so ardently then is to share the marriage bond; she cannot love so much and not be totally loved, and it is in the ... continue reading


Saint Clare Shows Us How The Path of Simplicity Can Lead To A Greater Love for Christ

Image of

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

We learn from St. Clare both the importance of giving one's life to Christ as well as the sublime, eternal rewards of doing so. When we leave the fleeting, temporary created objects of the world behind, no longer placing our trust in them or seeing them as inordinately ... continue reading


Fr. Paul Schenck on Edith Stein: Daughter of Israel, Daughter of the Church Watch

Image of St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, Edith Stein, Catholic feminist, philosopher and martyr of Auschwitz: Throughout her life, Edith never renounced or denounced her Jewish identity. Rather, as demonstrated in her memoir, her participation in Jewish customs at home, her letter to the Pope and in her correspondences, she spoke of her Jewish roots as intrinsic to her self-identification, to her views and even to aspects of her vocation

By Fr. Paul Chaim Benedicta Schenck

August 9 is the Memorial of St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, Edith Stein, Catholic feminist, philosopher and martyr of Auschwitz. In this sketch, Fr. Paul Chaim Benedicta Schenck, Jewish born priest and Chair of the National Pro-Life Center (Washington, DC), examines the ... continue reading


Memorial of Ignatius of Loyola, Priest: We are all Called to Become Saints Watch

Image of On July 31st we remember the founder of the Company or Society of Jesus (Jesuits), Ignatius of Loyola. He is the patron saint of soldiers and of retreatants. There is a connection. He was a soldier and the Spiritual Exercise which he left us have been used for hundreds of years to help men and women like us encounter Jesus Christ, on retreats, and in our daily lives. The disciplines they promote can help us to grow in holiness of life, no matter what our state in life, and equip us for service in the Army of the King, Jesus Christ.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Over the centuries, the Jesuits have been relied upon by Popes as trustworthy, heroic soldiers for Jesus Christ and His Church. Yes, there have been times when the company seemed to lose its fervor. However, Jesus Christ the King has always sent His Spirit to ... continue reading


Saint Alphonsus Liguori and the Chains of Love Watch

Image of Alphonsus Liguori, is the founder of the Redemptorist community. n the constitution of the community we read these words: Strong in faith, rejoicing in hope, burning with charity, on fire with zeal, in humility of heart and persevering in prayer, Redemptorists as apostolic men and genuine disciples of St. Alphonsus follow Christ the Redeemer with hearts full of joy; denying themselves and always ready to undertake what is demanding, they share in the mystery of Christ and proclaim it in Gospel simplicity of life and language, that they may bring to people plentiful redemption. (Constitution #20)

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Since God knew that man is enticed by favors, he wished to bind him to his love by means of his gifts: - I want to catch men with the snares, those chains of love in which they allow themselves to be entrapped, so that they will love me.And all the gifts which he ... continue reading


In the Major Legend, St. Bonaventure Points us to St Francis - and the Lord Jesus Christ Watch

Image of Bonaventure was a friend and a disciple of Francis. When he looked at Francis he saw Jesus Christ. Bonaventure, like his friend Francis, was also a mystic. To him the Spirit of Francis is the Spirit of Jesus and

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

On July 15th in the Liturgical Calendar of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, we commemorate the life, holiness, work and death of a great Bishop and Doctor named Bonaventure. He was born in 1218, became a Franciscan Friar in 1243, and died in 1274. A friend ... continue reading


Was St. Christopher a real saint? A new perspective

Image of Is St. Christopher real? Only you can decide for yourself.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Is Saint Christopher a real saint? This is a question debated by fans -and detractors of the historic figure of St. Christopher. Christopher was removed from the canon of Catholic Saints in 1969 since there was no evidence he existed that could satisfy Church ... continue reading


Does your marriage need help? St. Rita knows...

Image of St. Rita is the patron saint of difficult causes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Today is the feast day of St. Rita, who is the patroness of impossible causes, especially rough marriages and cases of domestic abuse. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - St. Rita had a hard life. As a child she asked her parents to enter a convent, but they arranged a ... continue reading


All Christian Saints & Heroes News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 12:12-14, 27-31
12 For as with the human body which is a unity ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:1-2, 3, 4, 5
1 [Psalm For thanksgiving] Acclaim Yahweh, all the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 7:11-17
11 It happened that soon afterwards he went to a town ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 16th, 2014 Image

St. Cornelius
September 16: Cornelius whose feast day is September 16th. A Roman priest, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter