Answered Prayer

March 31, 2016

The year was 1947. In late March a huge snowstorm battered New York City and threatened my mother’s ability to get to the hospital to give birth to her third child…me. She was 39 years old and it had been ten years since her last pregnancy. Her health was fragile. Even before the snowstorm, she worried about the health of the child in her womb. During her pregnancy she fervently prayed to St. Gerard of Majella [1726-1755], the patron saint of pregnant women. She made it to the hospital and on March 31st gave birth to a healthy baby boy whom she promptly named Gerard in honor of the saint from Italy who was a lowly Redemptorist lay brother known for his holiness, spiritual insight, and works of charity.

Hard to believe that was 69 years ago today. I’m happy to be celebrating this day in Haiti surrounded by the kids I serve. My only wish for today is to stay healthy enough to continue serving the children who come to the Santa Chiara Children’s Center for at least another ten years. I began life in Brooklyn, New York and I will most likely end my life in Peguyville, Haiti.

My mother died in 1974. She was 65 years old. It has been 42 years since I last felt her tender embrace, heard her soft voice. Yet I still feel her loving presence. I think she would be proud of what I am doing today…and she would be fervently praying for my safety. Moms are hugely important in the life of a child. Sadly, many of our children at SCCC have mothers who are uneducated and abusive. We do all we can to show them love.

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4 Responses to “Answered Prayer”


  1. 1 Cheryl Cira March 31, 2016 at 5:42 am

    Happy Birthday Gerry! Great post!

  2. 2 Marybeth McGowan March 31, 2016 at 7:05 am

    Happy Birthday Gerry! You have inspired me for many years through your words and works. Praying for you for good health and strength to continue your admirable work in Haiti and all the places in this hurting world where you have touched the lives of the poor and underserved.

  3. 3 krebsjoan March 31, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Congrats Gerry. A storm surrounded your entrance into the world and – funny – storms of one kind or another accompanied you throughout life, including now trying to help SCCF in its infancy. Hooray for caring parents; Hooray for Ecarlatte and you.

  4. 4 Rev. Paul McKay April 3, 2016 at 6:38 am

    Belated wishes for a happy birthday, Gerry!


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