Snapshot 1a: Harvard Yard

Several months ago, this arrived in my Gmail inbox:


I’ve talked about this enough.  Do you know it’s been almost 14 YEARS since we’ve all been together in the same room?  That is a friggin’ long time.  So, I am inviting you all to join me, sometime this summer, so we can spend the weekend together.  Doesn’t have to be on or near my birthday, but it’s a present that my family is giving me this year.  I am offering our house as a venue, but am open to alternatives (like Plymouth, MA, hint hint!).  The goal, however, is to get all of us together, at least overnight, in the same place at the same time.  I will subsidize plane tickets or whatever other mode of transportation you prefer.  BUT, if the world is really going to end on Rachel’s birthday as predicted by the Mayans and Nostradamus, I want that we all have one last hurrah together. 

Are you with me on this???


It was Lauri, summoning our women’s circle that had formed more than fifteen years ago over spaghetti suppers, student mass, choir practice, long talks when we should have been studying, retreats, and steering committee meetings through the Harvard-Radcliffe Catholic Student Association (CSA).

Luci picked me up at Logan Airport on a rainy afternoon and we hit Route 3 for the drive to Sheila’s family cottage in Plymouth. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been to Boston. I remembered flying back to school after winter break my sophomore year. My first love and I had broken up a few days before Christmas, and I kept hoping the sky would swallow my plane whole or that a meteor would land in Harvard Yard, anything to avoid leaving the comfort of my family and having to face final papers and exams (yes, we took them after winter break) without the love of my boyfriend back home. It was the breakup that led me to Father Rich’s office. I just needed someone to talk to, someone who wouldn’t tell me that God had better plans for me, someone who could acknowledge that my heart was broken and not judge me for having so little faith. Father Rich let me cry. He might have said that a broken heart was an opening for God to do profound work. And then he led me across the hall to Marie Claude Thompson’s office. She ran a tutoring program called Earthen Vessels that paired Harvard students with youth living in Boston’s inner city. I became a tutor. I joined the choir. I met Lauri, Luci, Desireé, Rachel, Isabel, and Sheila.

Community heals the broken heart.

It was still raining when Luci and I arrived at the cottage in Plymouth. Inside were close hugs, laughter, bowls of spaghetti (for old time’s sake), Desireé’s peanut butter cookies, chocolate, wine (immediately followed by more laughter), silly YouTube videos, stories and more stories, pictures, long talks, and for me, the loosening of something that grabbed hold of me when that Harvard acceptance letter arrived all those years ago.

Tomorrow: Snapshot 1b

Published in: on September 20, 2012 at 7:29 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Beautiful. Thanks for letting us in on this very human snapshot.

  2. Glad you had a great weekend get-together! Isabel enjoyed re-connecting.

    Nice to see your mention of the Earthen Vessels tutoring program, which is still going strong. Marie-Claude is still EV chaplain at the Catholic Student Center and I have recently taken over as EV Executive Director. Check out recent pictures and happenings at Best, Eric ’87

    • It was a wonderful weekend, Eric.
      Glad to know that EV is still going strong. Congratulations on your new role. The website looks great. (Just put a link to it in the post.)

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