The Face of Labor Day

Yesterday my grandson asked me why we celebrate Labor Day, and as I thought of a simplified response to his passing query I thought…can you put a face to Labor Day?

Christmas has the face of Santa.  Thanksgiving the face of a turkey.  Halloween’s face is the Great Pumpkin. Memorial Day is the face of all our soldiers who defended America against aggression and paid the ultimate price.  Presidents Day ?  Lincoln and Washington.

The face of Labor Day? Not so easy is it?

In fact, the man truly responsible for Labor Day’s inception was Eugene Debs, who organized a strike against the Pullman Company in 1894. Under his leadership, in just four days,  over 125,000 workers on twenty-nine railroads across our country walked off the their jobs, hoping to bring the George Pullman to the arbitration table. The reason for the strike?  The Pullman Company had their very own ‘enclave’ for their workers named Pullman, located on the south side of Chicago.  When the company cut jobs and lowered wages they did not lower the rents or the price of other goods their workers were forced to pay.

Because the trains carried mail, President Grover Cleveland was advised by his Attorney General, Richard Olney he had the right to order the union to resume normal operations.  When Debs refused to back down, President Cleveland sent in federal troops across the nation to break up the strike and resume train service.  One Methodist minister in Montana, who was supportive of the workers and their desire for a compromise from Pullman, compared the strike to the Tea Party and complained that the president had  “abandoned the faith of theJacksonian fathers.”[13] Rather than defending “the rights of the people against aggression and oppressive corporations,” he said party leaders were “the pliant tools of the codfishmonied aristocracy who seek to dominate this country.”[13] 

Aided by a media sympathetic to the railway owners, the AFL which did not support the striking union, and a populace that was divided the strike was ended but not before over $80M in damages was incurred,  30 people were killed and 57 injured.  Debs himself was forced to spend six months in jail for failing to comply with a court order.

President Cleveland on the other hand faced a public outcry over his  use of federal troops to support an industrialist such as Pullman.  In an effort to conciliate organized labor he pushed through in only six days legislation creating Labor Day and declared it a federal holiday.

Pushing form over substance it seems is nothing new for D.C. Although to be fair, a commission did find the paternalism of George Pullman at fault for the strike and forced him to close down Pullman Town, which was then assimilated into Chicago.

Ironically, Eugene Debs spent his months in prison reading the works of Karl Marx and upon his release formed the Socialist Party in America.

Eugene Debs

So I guess you could say the face of Labor Day might be Eugene Debs, a simple worker from Chicago who stood up to an industrialist on behalf of his struggling coworkers and lost. Or more simply – every working man and woman in America who desires a living wage for a solid day’s work.

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Two Dyers, Hundreds of Dead Babies, and Money

Two Dyers, over 100 yrs apart – both making money off of dead babies.


You be the judge.

Amelia Dyer – a notorious baby farmer , hung for her crimes in 1896 for murdering infants in her care in London England; although hung for the murder of one, she is believed to have murdered over 400 infants during a twenty year period.  The good citizens of Victorian times were outraged at the callous way she murdered these innocent babies.

Amelia Dyer 1896According to public records, THIS Dyer was hung for the crime of killing Doris Marmon, an infant she procured through false pretenses.  After convincing Doris’s mom she only wanted a baby to raise, she charged the mother ten pounds and took the baby to raise.  Upon arriving home she wound white tape  twice around the baby’s neck and tied a knot. As Wikipedia notes, she later said “I used to like to watch them with the tape around their neck, but it was soon all over with them”[2](

Second photo is of Ms. Cate Dyer, the founder and CEO of StemExpress.  According to a recently released video where she was having a lunch meeting with undercover operatives from CMP who were posing as representatives of a biotech firm, Dyer laughingly explains how her company purchases fully intact aborted babies from Planned Parenthood. She laughs about how shippers of the aborted babies would give a warning to lab workers to expect such a baby.

cate-dyer-StemExpress-150x150“Oh yeah, if you have intact cases — which we’ve done a lot — we sometimes ship those back to our lab in its entirety,” she says.

“Tell the lab its coming,” she laughs about the intact unborn babies. “You know, open the box and go ‘Oh my God,’” Dyer adds. (

Over a hundred years ago one Dyer was hung for her crime of killing babies to make money.  She used subterfuge to convince her ‘clients’ to turn over their babies so they could have a better life with her, for a fee of course, and then she murdered them.

Today another Dyer makes money for her firm by sending out operatives to convince clients to turn over their aborted ‘babies’ so others can have a better life.  The procurement of what many proponents of this practice call ‘discarded waste’ has allowed StemExpress to go from a $9000.00 startup company to a multi-million dollar company. (Ann Hendershott, CrisisMagazine, August 25, )2015

One Dyer was hung.  The other Dyer is lauded by those who support the sale of intact infant livers, kidneys, and hearts for scientific research.

How low can we go?

You be the judge.

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia and

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The Freedom to Choose…Really?

Yesterday  a young woman was ordered by the State of Connecticut Supreme Court to continue with a medical treatment, chemotherapy, for her cancer.

Cassandra C and the State of CT

Medical vs homeopathic treatment aside…and I am not going to comment on either, although I am a strong proponent of combating this horrible disease with everything in one’s arsenal…this case is strikingly hypocritical.

Today in Connecticut, a seventeen year old can receive an abortion without parental approval or involvement because the state believes “It is her body, her choice.” In fact, Connecticut has a very liberal viewpoint on this ‘procedure’. In 2014 they legislated new guidelines for abortion, and as stated in the Guttmacher Institute report *Connecticut does not have any of the major types of abortion restrictions—such as waiting periods, mandated parental involvement or limitations on publicly funded abortions—often found in other states”.  

Allowing a seventeen-year old lady to make a decision that affects her body, her life is done all the time in the name of “Choice”.  But, when it goes against a hospitals/doctors ability to make money off of her ‘choice’ – all of a sudden – she doesn’t have the maturity? Either a seventeen year old is mature enough, or she is not.

If I were a true pessimist, I would conclude that the Freedom to Choose revolves not so much around the maturity of the individual as it does the money to be made off of that individual.  Abortion is big money to many, as is treating cancer.

Somehow, I don’t quite think this is what Freedom of Choice was supposed to look like.

For information on treatments to aid in strengthening one’s immune system, check out

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She Chooses Life

My Parents Chose LifeLife is precious.

Despite everything this beautiful baby girl has gone through in her short life…open heart surgery and a severe MRSA-Staph infection to name just a few… she is reaching out for love and life.  She is ready to get on with the business of living.

How many of us can say the same thing?

This Christmas, reach out for life.  Do not let the evils in our world compromise your ability to see God in the people He places in your path today.  Do not let worries about life’s  daily minutia compromise your joy with all God gives you today.  Do not let today’s frustrations and misfortunes  compromise your belief in the goodness of God’s plan for you.

Do not forget to reach out for life…and love.  Trust life is as it should be, according to His will. Remember:

 ‘This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad”

(PSALM 118:24)

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Grace of Yes Day!

graceofyes-twitterprofileThere is a place, in Boston, where people gather everyday and say Yes God.  It is called the Yawkey Family Inn.  This home was built on compassion, it is run on compassion…it is a place where people say “Yes God” every day.

It is a place where I was humbled.  It is a place where faith is renewed and strengthened. And, it is a place where travelers can share with one another their fears and their hopes.

I stayed at the Yawkey Family Inn  because my eleven week old granddaughter was undergoing open heart surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital.  Here I met women such as Amy and Karen, who have been frequent visitors to the Inn…not by choice, but by necessity.  Here I was greeted with warm cookies late at night and homemade meals provided by volunteers; this was a place where people shared their stories, their fears, and their emotions with people who understood.

One of the first people I met was  Karen. She talked about the goodness of God and how we are all called to say “Yes God”.  Opening up her computer she played sermons she had bookmarked where the pastor was extolling the virtues of giving into God’s plan…not our plan, but His plan. In spite of everything she is enduring, the love she felt for God radiated from her.

How prophetic that I met her a week before the Grace of Yes Day!

There are moments in life when we all want to cry out”Are you kidding me Lord?”.  On this Grace of Yes Day though I will remember people such as those who helped me during a very difficult time, who sat on a basement floor with me while I poured out my worries and fears, who reminded me of the blessings that come our way when we just say “Yes God, Your will be done”.

Have a beautiful grace-filled day.

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Here I Go Again

It is time to change homes once again, and I know from experience it will not be easy.

Trust me – having moved from Connecticut, to Ohio, to Minnesota, and back to Ohio in under thirteen years  I have a faint idea of what I am up against!  Each and every time I have been faced with the same questions and fears:

  • What will my home look like? Larger or smaller than the one I have now?
  • Who will I interact with on a weekly basis?  Will they accept me for who I am, shortcomings and all?
  • When will this move take place?  During a holiday season when every home looks great and the people are welcoming to strangers?  Or will I move in during the regular grind of day-to-day living when many are too busy for more than a ‘nice to meet you’ before they hurry away to their own lives ?
  • Where exactly am I moving to?  There are so many homes to choose from within the area we have chosen to live.
  • How long will it take for me to feel at home?

It is hard because I always seem to measure every home against just one other home.  This home nurtured and surrounded me with  many wonderful people. These people – my parents and siblings, my parent’s friends and their children,  my friends and classmates, my neighbors, my teachers…they shaped who I am today through exacting standards, challenges, high expectations,  love, lots of laughter, and forgiveness.

St. Columban Catholic ChurchI truly loved my first home…St. Columban Catholic Church in Birmingham, Michigan.

There is an old saying that you cannot go home again but that does not mean we ever stop looking.  I joke about being a ‘Roamin’ Roman Catholic’ because when I move it takes so long  to find the right Church… the right home… for my family.  I measure every new Church by my memories of growing up Catholic within the St. Columban community and neighborhood.

Although it took a few years, I did find a wonderful family at St. Gabriel in Concord Ohio and  it will be hard say goodbye and start looking once again…but I will. I may end up at  St. Rita’s in Marion Ma, or a St. Anthony’s in Mattapoisett Ma.  Then again, St. Patrick’s in Wareham, MA might offer a phenomenal community for the Irish O’Bannon Family. If not, we can always take a drive to Fairhaven, MA and attend St. Mary’s.

Finding the right home is not an easy task!  So I’ll take a deep breath, wave goodbye to St. Gabriel’s,  say a prayer for guidance, and start roamin’.

Wish me luck.


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The Clock of Life

Yesterday I was in a hurry to get to my next destination but standing in line at our post office I realized my timeframe was not going to work.  I took a deep breath, let out a disgruntled sigh, and started to study the people in line with me.  As the lone post office staff member methodically helped one person at a time I slowly moved forward.  Near the front of the line, posted on a bulletin board, I saw a 2 verse poem  called THE CLOCK, by Robert H. Smith.  It read:

clockThe clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power,

To tell just when the hands will stop at late or early hour.

To lose ones wealth is sad indeed, to lose one’s health is more.

               To lose one’s soul is such a loss, that no one can restore

I reread it a few times…our post office enjoys the relaxed family friendly atmosphere of small town America…and although I loved the imagery of using a  clock to illustrate one’s lifeline, it was the final line that stayed with me for the rest of the day.

We all lead busy lives, where deadlines and responsibilities are second nature for most of us. If we slow down maybe we will forget something, miss something, lose something. But will we really?  Slowing down life’s pace is necessary not only for our personal health but  for our spiritual health as well.

Today, take the time to slow down and remember what is truly important.

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Mass Mobs Saving Catholic Churches

If we are lucky, we will learn something new every day. Well, today I was lucky.

Recently I have been doing research into the early Polish-Catholic settlers of Detroit for a series of articles. These early founders of the PolishAmerican Catholic Church faced extreme prejudice and hardships,  yet they never lost sight of what was truly important: their faith. They sought solace and solidarity within the confines of this faith; faith practiced not only on holidays and Sundays, but faith that was truly a living part of their daily life.

To honor this faith, and to practice it among people who spoke the same language and who remembered the same traditions, they built churches…many many churches.

st albertusOne such church was St. Albertus Catholic Church on St. Aubin St., built between 1883-1885, and dedicated on July 4, 1885. At one time this beautiful church was the largest Catholic Church in Michigan.

So it was a wonderful surprise today when my brother forwarded a Detroit news article about St. Albertus and an event orchestrated by the Catholic Mass Mob of Detroit. Begun in Buffalo, NY Mass Mobs have spread across Lake Erie to Detroit and all around the country.  As noted in this article by Kevin O’Connor, word goes out, and a mass mob gathering occurs at a historic church in need, “… it’s to boost the city’s struggling old churches, filling not only the often sparsely attended shrines, but their collection plates, too.”  Over 2500 Catholics answered the call yesterday.

There is no better way to honor the builders of these shrines than to fill the pews once more.

Kudos to the Mass Mob of Detroit!  Having bought a copy of the book Discovering Stain Glass in Detroit, which profiles the beautiful artisry of Detroit area churches, I look forward to attending a mass mob in the future.

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Save His people


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Protesting FOR a CEO – Imagine That!

save market basketIn this day and age of ‘what is in it for me’, I am truly proud of what is transpiring out east across Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  It is better than any made-for-TV movie and has all the qualities necessary to keep viewers riveted for hours:  greed, envy, good guy/bad guy, hostile take-overs, he said/she said…a family feud of biblical proportions played out against the backdrop of idyllic New England.

Seriously – it does not get any better than this.  A grandfather builds a very successful supermarket chain (Market Basket) and years later one cousin, Arthur T. Demoulas is fired by another cousin Arthur S. Demoulas.  Only one problem: Arthur S. does not realize the relationship Arthur T. has built over the years with his employees, customers, and distributors.

Big mistake! In fact, this saga has even been likened to the movie “Its a Wonderful Life”, with the one cousin being compared to  George Bailey (Arthur T) and other likened to  Mr. Potter (guess who).

The facts themselves are well-documented by just googling ‘Market Basket’; in fact, a webpage titled We Are Market Basket was created to explain exactly why both customers and employees have been protesting the firing of their CEO, Artie T as they refer to him. What intrigued me though from day one is the bond between this CEO and his employees…a bond so strong they are willing to risk their jobs for him. And,  the bond between this CEO and the customer base of Market Basket…a bond so strong most customers are protesting by shopping at rival stores, many of whom have higher prices.

What does protesting get employees?  Possible pink slips.

What does protesting get former customers?  Higher grocery bills.

And yet, they are not backing down…in fact, their numbers are growing.

They are supporting a man who does not put corporate profits over the well-being of his employees.  They are supporting a man who feels it is best to keep food costs low so families can feed their families well and still have money in their pockets after pay-day.  They are supporting a man who does not see balance sheets – but the faces of his employees and their families.  They are all supporting the man who to them is the head of their family.

Either the Board of Directors misread the relationship between Artie T, the employees, and customers or they ignored it completely in their quest for revenge and greater shareholder dividends.  Today, after weeks of million dollar loses at stores across the region, they are deciding whether or not to sell their shares to Artie T who wants to buy them out.

My thoughts and prayers are with these employees and customers. I hope they are successful.

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