Thursday, September 18, 2014

Driven Lives

It has been quite awhile since I blogged. By the way, Sr. Rosata would never have accepted that as a verb. What are the principle parts of that verb?  Blog, blogged, have blogged - maybe? Anyway, it's not that nothing has been happening; it's that too much has been happening. If I wrote about it all, it would be another book. Basically, I have been promoting my book at community events because I am passionate about getting it into the hands of as many people as possible so they can benefit from the deep message about life embedded in the fascinating story. I have also been helping run a private high school in order to help raise up future leaders who will lead the world into goodness, truth, and beauty. Yes, really. I am intensely passionate about that.

The question arose last night at dinner with my brother. Why are we so driven? He is even far busier than I - never a break, running every organization he joins, and determined to evangelize everyone he meets (even his pastor). I concluded we come by it honestly. 

Our parents were fairly mellow. Our Dad worked for the L.A. County Marshal's office for about 30 years, retired fairly young, played golf, poker, watched TV, and lived to be 100. Our mom loved to paint, dance and play Bridge. One must go farther back in our lineage to find the culprits.

The main one was Martin Andrew O'Brennan who was born in 1812 in County Mayo, Ireland. He was well-educated, very Catholic, and proud of his Celtic heritage. He married, ran a collegiate seminary in Dublin, had 9 children, wrote extensive histories of Ireland going back to Adam & Eve, supported every Irish cause, and was jailed 3 times for seditious language in his newspapers. He claimed he was not a revolutionary. He finally escaped and came to Chicago where he traveled, teaching all over the eastern U.S. about Irish history and Catholic theology. He died in an "accident on the street" according to his obituary. My Dad said his enemies killed him. He just could never stop. He was passionate about his causes, fought for truth, and saw the world as black & white.

Enter my brother & I growing up in mellow, sunny, southern California in the 1950's. Life was happy and beautiful. Just watch Happy Days or The Wonder Years. So, without ever having met the infamous and passionate Martin O'Brennan, we grew up to be intense, passionate people fighting for our causes. My mother always said that traits skipped a generation. In this case, I think they skipped 3 generations!

Oh, so maybe you think I'm being too hard on poor ole Martin. Perhaps you are correct. Possibly part of the blame goes to his son-in-law, John J. Bodkin. John came from the same town where Martin had his newspaper and was arrested, Tuam, in County Galway. In the Chicago area, John married Martin's eldest daughter, Marian. No shrinking violet I would guess, as the wife & children of Martin are credited with running his newspaper, The Connaught Patriot, during his jail time.

John was so ardent for righteousness that he chastised a man in public notices in Tuam for lying about him. He also shot and killed a neighbor in California for running towards him and threatening him. Of course, the trial was brief and he was found "not guilty". He was a school teacher, the first editor of The Tidings in Los Angeles, wrote the History of the San Gabriel Mission, ran a Catholic bookstore in Los Angeles, and walloped his son (my grandpa) for misspelling words. A little intensity, passion, and righteousness there also, I'd say.

So, while my brother and I shall be eternally grateful for the faith passed on to us, and we shall continue all our devout activities, we are at least pondering the value of fishing or resting in a hammock.