The Gospel Truth

The First St. Rosie | March 30, 2012

Until not too long ago, it has been customary for a newborn Catholic to receive the name of a saint.

That saint was supposed to guide and watch over that child through his or her life.

I am named after Saint William.

There are many Joseph’s, Mary’s, John’s, Patrick’s and so on from my generation.

When my grandson Tyler was born nearly 15 years ago, I remember the deacon who baptized him saying that he hoped that Tyler would be the first Saint Tyler.

We lost Rosie our very good friend of 35 years last week.

And while she was apparently named after Saint Rose of LIma, no one I know ever called her Rose.

Rosie’s original patron saint

To all of us who loved her, she was just Rosie.

Rosie was the matriarch of a very large Irish family that included her six children and 19 grandchildren.

He husband and most of their kids and a few of the grandchildren were members of that invisible clan of  fighting Irish from the University of Notre Dame.

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Notre Dame energized their family

The breath of Ireland was always on them and permeated their family life.

Coupled with their Catholic faith, it was their Irish heritage that gave joie de vivre to their family life.

When Rosie died that family spirit kicked in like nothing I had ever seen.

She had said all her goodbyes, received the last rites of her faith and from what I understand, did not really die but merely faded away.

While her cancer did afford them the time to prepare for her death with individual visitations, smiles, some laughter and in private a good deal of tears, when the day finally arrived the grandchildren and their parents had to gather from all over the country from college, spring break, work and family obligations.

They all made it in time to pay their deep respects to the woman who gave life to each and every one of them.

We should all die as she did, surrounded by family in grace.

Her funeral was a paragon of family values, wrapped in a liturgical service that underscored what it means to be a child of God.

Virtually each member of the family from the youngest grandchild to her oldest son had some important role to play in her requiem Mass.

While it lacked the frivolity of an Irish wake, the celebrant made up for it in a personalized homily that captured Rosie’s persona in words, stories and his infectious smile.

While all the family homage and friendly respect demonstrated how much she was loved and missed, it did not hold a candle to what made her a veritable saint.

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A solemn but joyous requiem Mass

We live a naievesociety that falsely assumes that everyone who dies immediately enters the Pearly Gates and plays golf with St. Peter or talks fashion with the Blessed Mother.

Most modern notions of heaven are cartoonish or sophomoric.

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Like most popular notions of Heaven, this is a myth that puts a protective bandage over truth and reality.

It is the polar opposite of the heresy of the early 20th century that presumed all bad or unpopular people immediately went to Hell.

These are both false judgments and should be avoided at all costs.

Both attitudes are the result of superstition, ignorance and self-deception.

The Catholic Church teaches that before the faithful can see God in Heaven, their souls must be pure as the whitened snow.

For most of us that requires a purging in what the Church calls Purgatory.

I believe this teaching is a bit murky and to capture its essence, I attempted two plays these past couple years.

The first one was called For the Love of Dickens.

It took place on a New York City subway.

It centered around boredom as a vehicle for self-knowledge and purefication.

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Dante’s Purgatori was much better!

It didn’t work.

I only wrote three scenes of A Heavenly Touch, which didn’t seem to work either.

I attempted to transcend the subway by making a massage spa the vehicle for purefication.

I reasoned that a good therapist can rub away, not only one’s pains and anxieties but just maybe the stains of years of sin and guilt.

I seriously doubt that Rosie will have to experience Purgatory in any manner, shape or form.

Maybe God will use one of my plays to do just that in the next life.

What makes for sainthood is the purefying mercy of the Cross of Christ.

The Bible is fairly explicit that unless we pick up and carry our crosses daily…or maybe help others, like Simon of Cyrene carry theirs, we will not become saints…that is get into Heaven.

Rosie was a short, small woman who developed very broad shoulders over the last 15 years or more of her life in carrying her very heavy cross.

She suffered greatly from rheumatoid arthritis, a crippling, pernicious disease that made her down 15-20 pills, each and every day.

While her pain and suffering was excruciating, she never lost her cherubic smile.

She was one of a short list of people I have seen or known, like Mother Teresa, and Joe Garagiola that could light up a room just by entering it.

Mother Teresa Denounces Abortion at National Prayer Breakfast

Like Rosie could light up a room

Her fatal cancer was in a way a blessing because it eventually freed her from the shackles of pain that dominated her for so many years.

Her husband told us that a peaceful calm came over her the last few weeks, even after she stopped taking her arthritis medication.

I submit that this is the stuff of sainthood.

Mother Teresa was once asked by a novice what she needed to do to become a saint.

She quipped that she should die soon because Pope John Paul II was canonizing just about everybody.

Will the church ever recognize Rosie as such?

Most likely not but had John Paul II still been pope, her odds would have shot out tremendously.

Most of us who gave Rosie her well-deserved send-off rightfully assume that her suffering was her crown of thorns that she wore patiently, modestly and with firm religious conviction.

I can say without hesitation, like my sainted mother who had Alzheimer’s for 19 years, Rosie is experiencing the Beatific Vision right now.

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Look for Rosie

Most of us who remain worry more about her husband who has to face a 50-year void in his life for which he only had a few short weeks to prepare.

I think I know what he is going to do to alleviate his grief.

He is going to get down on his knees, bow his head and pray to the first Saint Rosie.



  1. St.Rose, pray for us…..thank you BB this is a great one.

    Comment by Jim Vondras — April 6, 2012 @ 1:43 am

    • Saint Rosie…remember I think she’s the first. Bb

      Comment by bbprof — April 6, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

  2. I don’t know Bill, I have been present at more than one passing into eternal life trained within a hospice invironment.
    It becomes a different realm dealing with the dying and it has never ceased to amaze me the way Providence makes a path for those entering that journey.
    It also showed me, that things that were important in this life in the natural, have no relevance for the next. It becomes totally a spiritual plane and all that is needed is supplied.
    I hope I remember that when my time comes.

    Comment by L. Newington — April 6, 2012 @ 7:59 am

    • Me too. Dittos and Amen to all you wrote. BB

      Comment by bbprof — April 6, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

  3. You were blessed to have such a dear faith-filled friend. She is blessed to be with the Lord celebrating
    her happiest Easter ever this week-end.

    We also lost a dear friend recently – last Friday. He
    had a very long and difficult illness and was patient
    and kept his sense of humor in spite of how he

    We are thankful he is at peace and believe he is also
    with the Lord.

    We should all pray to these dear people and ask
    them to ask Our Lord to help us rescue our country
    from tyranny.


    Comment by MF — April 6, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at







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