Thursday, June 18, 2009

Forgotten Detroit - Remembered Sister in Christ

Can it have been 5 years? She blew into our downtown Detroit Episcopal parish like a mighty wind during the summer of 2003, and that fall she was to have been the Sunday School teacher for my (then) 4th Grade son. But what I didn't know at the time was that the cancer that was to claim her life on June 15, 2004 was already present and active in her body. As it happened, Mary Jo only taught Eliot's Sunday School class one time, but even after knowing him for all of 45 minutes, she was able to "read" his spirit and his faith and give us valuable feedback about God's work in him.

Shortly after the wind of the Holy Ghost swooped down and picked her up into the life of the world to come, a memorial service was held at St. John's, Detroit. The nave was packed, and even though we were early, our family got the last few seats in the balcony. It was a Friday late in June in 2004, and the transom windows on the Epistle side of the nave were cranked open, giving a view of the Detroit skyline.
Throughout the service, in my direct view was the rooftop sign of the now departed Madison-Lenox hotel (see below). I don't know why that image struck me with such force, but it did. I'm a visual kind of a guy. Hotel and sign are both gone now, but are photographically chronicled at a website called Forgotten Detroit. This website makes me cry like the Weeping Prophet, but if you have a strong constitution, or are desirous of weeping with me over the departed glory of my city, by all means, go and have a look.


StJohnsPriest said...

Paul - thanks for your lovely remembrance of Mary Jo and The Madison Lennox Hotel.

Mary Jo's daughter, whose marriage I performed the week before Mary Jo died recently moved with her husband and newborn onto my block, and when I see them walking with the stroller I remember very deeply Mary Jo's powerful witness of faith.

Anglican Beach Party said...

Thanks, Fr. Kelly.

That was a very "powerful" memorial service (that doesn't sound quite right, but you know what I mean) from start to end.

I cannot imagine anyone at St. John's that day (and it was packed!) who could have remained unmoved by the testimony of her life.