Thursday, October 7, 2021

"ST. THERESA MUSEUM BRIEF" #7 - "A Few of Our Historic Families"

Our little parish of Saint Theresa of Avila in Rhodelia, Kentucky, has produced 37 Sisters, 8 Priests, 1 Brother and hundreds of lay heroes in its 203 year history. In these periodic little "history briefs," I have, or will have, spotlighted the various religious communities in which our many Sisters and one Brother belonged and their contributions to Saint Theresa Church: the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, the Sisters of Loretto, the Mount Saint Joseph Ursulines, the Sister of Mercy, the Brother of the Christian Schools and the Dominican Sisters.

Today, I want to start honoring some of our historic families - those who have produced so many faithful members of Saint Theresa Church over the years.

Paul Emile and Susan Eleanor (Cody) Buren of Concordia, Kentucky, operated a store and hotel in that riverport town. They had two daughters who became Dominican Sisters. 

The Joseph and Philomena (Rhodes) Vessels Family. Harold (middle of back row) and his wife Verna were known in the community as operators of the Rhodelia Store and Post Office for many years. 

The James Francis and Margaret Cordelia (Durbin) Rhodes family. Margaret Cordelia had three sisters who became Sisters of Charity. 

Dr. Samuel Richard O'Bryan 

This group of local women made up the Rhodelia Homemakers Club. Besides being a recreational and social support group, they quilted and shared homemaking ideas once a month. My grandmother on my father's side (second row with a slightly open mouth) was part of this group. As a "country midwife," she was the woman who delivered me and baptized me when I was "in danger of death."   

Mary (Mills) Rhodes and sons, Roscoe, Fred and Albert. The extended Mills family ran brandy distilleries in Andyville and Rhodelia and are associated with a major tragedy when the Rhodelia distillery exploded and killed or injured many people. Mary's husband, before his death, was associated with the Rhodelia Store and Post Office. Several religious vocations came out of the Mills and Rhodes families. I "saved" their old 1850s home a few years ago and restored it to be almost like-new. 
The house before I started.
The house when it was nearly done. 

John and Anna Rita (Manning) O'Bryan had one of the biggest families in the parish. The O'Bryan and the Manning families go back for generations in Saint Theresa. These families have contributed much to the life of Saint Theresa Church.  

The John and Lena Flaherty Children. 

John Baptist and Mary Ann (Wight) Manning Family

Francis Marion Knott, my great grandfather, is the father of my grandfather Leo Francis Knott. 

The Caleb Brown Jr and Catherine Anna Thompson Brown family. Caleb Brown Jr. is the son of Caleb Brown Sr. and Margaret Catherine Clark Brown who were the first couple to be married in the present Saint Theresa Church on June 3, 1857. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021


One of my greatest temptations these days is to withdraw from the world, from large gatherings, from small gatherings and even from other people individually. It seems that it is no longer safe to discuss politics even with family members or even to drive across the city. It seems that even going to Kroger is a stressful cart-pushing gamble among tense people ready to explode if you get in their way or hold them up for a second too long. It seems like just driving down the street to a restaurant or a doctor's appointment has become similar to entering a "demolition derby" at the county fair where angry drivers will fight you for every inch of advantage.  

I refuse to have a Face Book page. I won't even sign up to view other people's Face Book pages. They do have some nice photographs and some news updates, but they are also filled with gossip, character assassination and  brainless rantings. My personal blog has an Encouraging Word no-ranting philosophy behind it, but even so every once in a while I will get a royal chewing out because of something I said that others do not agree with! 

I used to love watching news programs, but not any more! I am very careful about how much news I ingest and where the source of that news comes from! These days, I try to restrict myself to about an hour a day.  I can usually tell what source of news people watch just by the way they talk about current events. Some of the stuff that comes out of so-called "educated" people's mouths simply astounds me and causes me to be tempted to lash out at them or minimally to try to avoid them. Even Catholics can say things about the Pope that make me cringe. I can usually recognize the source of their news and views which makes me even angrier! Most of the time, I just bite my tongue and move on because I know a rational discussion is probably impossible. 

I used to fly a lot, but right now I have no desire to get on a plane or go through an airport any more even though I have over 400,000 frequent flyer miles and could go about anywhere in the world basically for free. People are acting up on airplanes, striking flight attendants, pushing and shoving other passengers and spewing curses and foul language when they don't like following the safety guidelines. 

In this essay, I am not even going to attempt to tell others how to control themselves in public. That would probably be a waste of my time. I am writing this to remind myself how to control myself when I am around the crudeness, meanness and rudeness of others when I am interacting with them. Here are some techniques I try to use on myself. (1) Before I leave the house or get in my car, I try to take a few moments to calm myself and "have a few words with myself" about the need to keep my reactions under control.  (2) When going into a stressful environment, I bought a set of earbuds that allow me to have soothing music overpowering all the outside noise coming into my ears. (3) When driving, I look for opportunities to "allow" people to get ahead of me, instead of  engaging in "punishing behaviors" like speeding up, slowing down or  honking my horn. (4) Most of all, I am seriously restricting the amount and source of the news that I watch each day, replacing it with more peaceful prayer time, good reading or relaxing silence. 

As that old hymn I like to quote says, "No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that Rock I'm clinging. Since love is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?"   I thank God every day that I have the privilege of living alone. It gives me the time, the space and the peace to recover from "going out" and "being with" crowds of people!   

Sunday, October 3, 2021


And I Am So Very Grateful to God For This Vaccine 


There is more at stake here than your "personal freedom!" 
There is also your "social responsibility!"


Don't clog up our hospitals when others might need the beds!
Somebody might need emergency surgery not related to COVID and can't get in!
Don't put others at risk of getting your COVID! 
They don't deserve to get sick because of your failure to act! 

Don't be part of the cause of another "variant!" 
We need to stop this epidemic, not perpetuate it! 

Don't be yet another unnecessary death!
Your family still needs you here! Do it! Do it for them!