I’ve lived in a bunch of places. A BUNCH.
And because of that I’ve also worked in a bunch of places. A bajillion.
Or at least it feels that way.
I even worked for my current employer’s doppelganger (can non-people have doppelgangers?) in Boston. .
Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital.
Non clinical staff, of course.

It’s just like my current big fancy hospital.
With less famous people.
To be fair though, I didn’t work on campus.
In fact, the only famous people I even met in Boston were Celtics
(I lived down the street from where the Celtics used to practice)
(and by met I mean, I saw them from afar. Because NO)
And famous political folks.
I mean, IT’S BOSTON.

So why wouldn’t I have a completely ridiculous story to tell you about President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s grandson?

I used to work at this place and this attorney named James used to come in and get subway passes.
I’m assuming they were for his kids or something because DOES THE PRESIDENT’S GRANDSON TAKE THE T?
I dunno. I never asked, I just handed them out when they showed up.
So one day he shows up and he has something on his forehead
Me: Hey you got a little shmutz on your forehead.
Him: …what?
Me: :::reaches up to wipe it off:::
Me: :::pauses mid reach:::
Me: :::thinks about what DAY it is:::
Me: UM. Nevermind
Me: [DID I REALLY JUST FORGET IT’S ASH WEDNESDAY?!?!?!}
Me: See you next month! [internal screaming continues]

I also kinda looked around because I was a little concerned that I was gonna get struck by lightning where I stood. But I didn’t. Hallelujah!

Yeah. I’m no saint. Unlike Servant of God (did you know that was an actual title?) Augustus Tolton.
He was the first Roman Catholic priest in the United States publicly known to be black when he was ordained in 1886*.
A former slave who was baptized and reared Catholic, Tolton studied formally in Rome.

He was ordained on Easter Sunday of 1886 at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. Assigned to the diocese of Alton (now the Diocese of Springfield).
Tolton celebrated his first public Mass at St. Boniface church in Quincy. He attempted to organize a parish there, but over the years met with resistance from both white Catholics (many of whom were racists ethnic German) and Protestant blacks, who did not want him trying to attract people to another denomination
After being reassigned to Chicago, Tolton led a mission society, St. Augustine’s, that met in the basement of St. Mary’s Church.
He led the development and administration of the Negro “national parish” of St. Monica’s Catholic Church, built at 36th and Dearborn Streets on the South Side, Chicago.
The church grew to have 600 parishioners. Tolton’s success at ministering to black Catholics quickly earned him national attention within the Catholic hierarchy.
“Good Father Gus”, as he was called by many, was known for his “eloquent sermons, his beautiful singing voice and his talent for playing the accordion.”

At the age of 43, he collapsed and died as a result of a heat wave in Chicago in 1897. Tolton was buried in Quincy in the priests’ lot in St. Peter’s Cemetery, which had been his expressed wish.
After Tolton’s death, St. Monica’s was made a mission of St. Elizabeth’s Church. In 1924 it was closed as a national parish.

On 2 March 2010 Cardinal George of Chicago announced that he was beginning an official investigation into Tolton’s life and virtues with a view to opening the Cause for his canonization. This Cause for sainthood is also being advanced by the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, where Tolton first served as priest, as well as the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri, where his family was enslaved.
And on September 29, 2014, at Saint James Chapel at the Archbishop Quigley Center in Chicago, Illinois, Cardinal George formally closed the investigation into the life and virtues of Father Augustus Tolton. The dossier of research into Tolton’s life moves to the Vatican where the documents collected which support his cause will be analyzed, bound into a book called a “positio,” or official position paper, and evaluated by theologians, and then, supporters hope, passed on to the pope, who can declare Tolton “venerable” if the pope determines he led a life of heroic virtue.

Maybe in another few years, if I ever repeat a fact, I can talk about SAINT Augustus Tolton. Although quite honestly any person born a slave who managed not to kill his “owners”, or overseers, or anybody else who stood in the way of being free is already a saint.
But that’s just me.
*James Augustine Healy, ordained in 1854, and Patrick Francis Healy, ordained in 1864 were of mixed-race, which probably means they was white passing

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