Saturday, September 16, 2006

Brother Was a Father

In the 1980s Rocky was in the accelerated Target group at his school. It was Haley’s Comet time. I don’t remember how it all started, but in the Target kids parents’ association it was decided to take the kids to someplace way out in the country where the sky would be clear and not influenced by the glare of city lights.

Anna took on the responsibility of finding a such a place, that would welcome children in the middle of the night. She came to the conclusion that a certain Catholic monastery southeast of Atlanta about 40 or 50 miles would the ideal place.

We have been to this monastery before. It was way out in the country. The monks there made their own food and made their own bread which was available for sale. Along with other stuff you would expect monks to deal with, such as honey, candles and I don’t know what else. I do remember they had peacocks wandering around the grounds.

Anna called the monastery and spoke to a Brother Clarence Biggers. Brother Biggers was very enthused over a bunch of school kids coming in the middle of the night to see Haley’s Comet and said he would be delighted to be their guide.

He gave us directions. That evening we met someplace and all five or six cars drove in a caravan the long drive to the Monastery. I forgot the details of the directions but we found ourselves out on a lonely road in the middle of the night with no sign of civilization and were thinking maybe we took the wrong turn or something. Should we turn back and find a phone and call him? This was before cell phones.

Then we came upon a land mark he described and knew we were there on the right track. Then a tall figure in a hood stepped out of the shadows with his arms spread out. I remember the tall figure wearing a hooded robe. That was a shocking scary sight! I remember he was wearing a white robe and Anna remembers another color robe – whichever. It was Brother Biggers.

He motioned for us to get out and we did. We, parents and kids, gathered around him and he told us he used to be a priest at Saint Joseph’s in Marietta. He went around and asked our names. When I told him my last name he asked me was I related to the late Dick Hunter. I said he was my uncle – my father’s brother. I remembered him – he did my uncle’s funeral when he died. He asked me how his wife was doing and also wanted to know how all twelve of their children were doing. Fine. They are doing fine. He said he thought a lot of that family.

He gave us and the kids a very educated guide of the constellations above us in the clear dark sky. He of course pointed out Haley’s Comet and told some trivia history about it and what the people of ancient times thought of it and on each constellation he would tell the Greek mythology tale about it. He did a very good job in educating the kids and us on the sky that night. We listened in awe.

Unfortunately, then, as now, I have a low retention level – so, what I heard, although very interesting, went in one ear and out the other.

After it was over he asked us if we would like to go to the main building and have some hot chocolate. Sure! Everyone said.

We went upstairs in the back of the building and Brother Biggers took us into a kitchen like area with tables. He boiled water and had the instant cocoa and we sat around and talked to him and he told us more about the Monastery. He said all the monks had to work to earn their daily bread, so to speak. He said anybody, regardless of their religion or beliefs can come to the monastery and stay a while just to get away from it all and contemplate their belly buttons – or whatever.

A big bell clanged and Brother Biggers said it was time for the first mass of the day for the Monks, would we like to see it? Sure it. We walked down a hall and quietly opened a door and we found ourselves in a balcony overlooking a congregation of Monks. Before entering he told us we needed to very quiet.

The Monk congregation lifted their spirits by chanting. I don’t think there was a sermon.

Sadly, one Monk was slumped over in a wheel chair alone down an aisle between the pews and appeared to be very weak, sick, or just out of it. Being disabled is probably not an excuse to skip mass.

Then, how did Brother Biggers skip out… being a tour-guide?

We thanked him and we arrived back in Marietta about daylight.

Brother Biggers continued.

Years passed and one night on the local news a lady was being interviewed because she was suing the Catholic Church. She said Father Clarence Biggers molested her when she was young and attending Saint Joseph’s School. It was further pointed out that when several parents complained about Father Biggers molesting their children he suddenly had a calling to be a monk at the Monastery we went to.

Then, about a week later in the newspaper one of my female cousins came forth and said Father Biggers did some things to her too. She has 11 siblings, which 3 of them are sisters. I wondered about the rest of them, and decided just to keep their mouths shut.

But Brother Biggers knew his stars!

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6 Comments:

Blogger Bird said...

Ed, that story gave me the creeps! Reminds me of the old saying...If something (or somebody) seems too good to be true, then it (he) probably is! I don't want to put into writing what I think should be done to each and every one of those catholic priests who molested children...

1:24 PM  
Blogger ET said...

Bird,
I bet what you are thinking would give him a high voice.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Adding to what wifey said (love you dear) thats one of the reasons we dont go to catholic church any more.....though if i did "indulge" in such things...a little Catholic pun there....Id be a wafer eater.

2:04 AM  
Blogger ET said...

I think whatever religion one is one would keep his/her sanity as not to judge the religion by the messenger..

4:19 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Oooh... that is creepy.

10:08 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Father/Brother Biggers was dignified with a very good command of the English language and knew how to spark interest in what he was lecturing about.
Maybe it was the way he danced with the feathers - (joking).

11:42 AM  

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