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By C. Hightower, SJ

Moms and the summons home

In our Cul-de-sac , 11th Court, parents, (okay, moms),  just yelled out the window to their children when it was time that work or play was done for the day.   But in Pierce Court, two blocks away, not only did the court have a real name and not a number, but they used a bell!  Being children of 11th Court and being summoned by name, we openly mocked the kids who answered the call of the bell.  It was our way of compensating for not having a court name and only a number.  This is important to my family simply due to the reality that as my mom lay recovering from her second battle with cancer, (in which she has been victorious over  for the past 36 years) my mother listened to various parents yelling after their children and the neighborhood delinquent; Jeffery and his partner in crime, Dean. This importance is well known to my younger brother Jeffery Dean, who happens to be a juvenile probation officer.   Somehow, Moms always know…

Making the move from high school ministry to the university, I thought I would be away from the bells.  Teaching in a high school, one’s life is dictated by the opening, between class, and closing bells.  In many ways it was like being back in the old neighborhood.  For Jesuits in formation, we often say the person needs to learn to answer the bell, meaning one needs to learn to work, before going home for the day.

On Gonzaga’s campus, the bell of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church rings out on the top and bottom of each hour.  One can hear this bell from most places on campus and in the neighborhood.  St. Als has only the one bell.  Her name is Catherine.  For the last one-hundred years Catherine has proudly rang out the summons to come to prayer.  One could say to come home to prayer.

Gonzaga’s graduations take place on Mother’s Day every year.  It is a time when our students often return home for the summer or their next phase of life.  The bell of St. Aloysius will also ring, reminding the community of their home in prayer.  Perhaps that is what the bell’s donor, Henry Ferdinand Brockman desired.  After all, the rumor is that Catherine was his mother’s name.

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