Restoring the Sacred

Friday, July 19, 2013

Words of Relevance: Brendan Kelly

That's Brendan Kelly of Great Falls, Virginia (RIP), meeting with Pope John Paul II, at Castel Gandolfo, in 2001.  Please click on the below link to read his whole story.  If it doesn't move you, you have no soul.

The following is from a piece at The Catholic Thing, by Austin Ruse:
Brendan was born with Down syndrome. At four, doctors diagnosed him with leukemia, a cancer with a high rate of remission – but the treatment is devastating. They turn a fire hose of chemo into your body and then pump you up with massive doses of steroids. This can go on and off for months and with terrible effects.
After his diagnosis, his family applied to the Make-a-Wish Foundation: he wanted to meet the pope. Make-a-Wish didn’t quite believe him since only one other child had ever asked for that. So they met with him privately, tempted him with Disney World, a submarine ride, baseball stars. They wanted to make sure meeting the pope was his wish and not his parents’. Brendan insisted.      
In September 2001, the family gathered with others at Castel Gandolfo waiting to meet John Paul II. When the pope entered, rather than wait his turn, Brendan broke and ran to the pope and stood holding his arm as he greeted all the other pilgrims.  Brendan would not move and the pope loved it. He kept glancing at Brendan and smiling.
As the pope began to leave, indeed when he was out the door and around the corner, Brendan shouted out, “Good-bye Pope.” John Paul the Great returned and the family snapped the picture you see in this column.
Brendan's devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament was manifest throughout his entire short life.  Here's more from the Ruse piece:
Brendan would not pass a church without blowing a kiss and shouting, “Hi, Jesus.” So normal and natural was this that a priest of Opus Dei still sermonizes about this as an advanced state of the interior life.
So in love was he with the Eucharist that after chemo, when he had to be isolated because his immune system was ravaged, the family would sit outside the church in their massive black Suburban. At Communion, Father Drummond would walk down the aisle, leave the church, and go outside. Brendan’s window went down and the priest would give him the Blessed Sacrament.
Brendan suffered with leukemia nearly his entire life. He got it at 4 and underwent two-and-a-half years of treatment. It returned at age 10 with another two years of treatment. At 14, it came again and he underwent a bone marrow transplant.
He offered all his pain for others. Among his special intentions has been Bella Santorum. Because of her own devastating disability, she should have died within hours of birth.  In intense pain Brendan would shout, “I love you, Bella.”  Bella still lives.
Two weeks before Brendan's death at the age of 16, his body was so ravaged by his chemo treatments that his aunt, who was helping him into bed, could pat him only on his head as every other part of his body was racked with pain.  What he said to his aunt that night could be the most poignant and selfless statement made by a 16 year old in the modern era.

Here's the quote:
 “Aunt Kelly, I am so happy. All you need to be happy is to open your heart to Jesus.”

Brendan Kelly, pray for us.

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