Christians, making a nuisance of themselves as usual

Some Local News

Dr. Ed Dyas, RIP

Almost twenty years ago, in late 1991, I developed severe back problems that eventually made it hard for me to stand up for more than a few minutes at a time, and resulted in my having surgery on Mardi Gras of 1992. The surgeon was Dr. Ed Dyas. As far as I remember it was just an accident that he was assigned to me: I had gone with my trouble to an orthopedic group practice of which he was a member. I knew nothing about him, but I was impressed with him when he came to visit me the night before the surgery to discuss the operation. I was struck by the humility with which he addressed the problem: he described what he expected to find and what he expected to do and what he expected the result to be in straightforward terms, and then added: "But we're talking about a human body, so we never can be completely sure." As he talked, he handled the rosary lying on my bedside table as if he knew what it was, and said something to the effect that it would be of help to me, so I figured he was Catholic.

Well, he must have done a good job, because he fixed my back, and almost twenty years later I've had no further serious problems. Over the years I noticed that his name came up from time to time, and realized that he was well thought of by a lot of people. I remember someone mentioning that he had been a good football player in college (at Auburn, but it was only a couple of years ago that I learned he had been very good indeed, having finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting (for those who don't follow football, that's probably the most prestigious award a player can receive). But he had given up football to go to medical school.

He died a few days ago. Here is one of several pieces in the local paper about him. That picture must have been taken well into his illness, because it looks nothing like what I remember, even accounting for the passage of 19 years. He was stocky and strong-looking, as you might expect of an old football player. A good man, to whom I am grateful. RIP.

Carmelites in Mobile 

Also from the local paper, a story about several elderly Carmelite nuns who have had to move from their convent to a nursing home operated by the Little Sisters of the Poor. They have spent their whole lives separated from the world, "hidden with Christ in God," and on the occasion of leaving the convent submitted to an interview. Watch the video. Sister Rose, the one they call the humorous one and the one with the merry look on her face, is the aunt of a friend of mine, also named Rose.

The reporter, by the way, Roy Hoffman, is from an old Jewish family in Mobile, which makes me think of my gripe of a few weeks ago about the Jewish New Yorker who believed that it would be certain death for a Jew to enter the state of Alabama. I'm not sure I really communicated an important part of my point in that piece: there's nothing especially wrong with having misconceptions and prejudices, but there's something definitely wrong with hanging on to them in the face of facts to the contrary.


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People who have touched many lives would always be remembered even in their passing. We come and go in this world and we should leave a good memory for people to remember us by..A good deed for others would leave a great mark behind.

If I wasn't so busy, I'd drive down there next week and tour the convent. Too bad it's not in Birmingham.


Karen is helping someone produce a book about the convent and has spent some time there recently. She's found it pretty fascinating.

One sad thing: the property was rural a hundred years ago and when the order arrived there (I forget when) the main building was a great old farmhouse, which later was torn down and replaced with a concrete-block building.

Well, I find that nostalgically and aesthetically sad, also, but my experience in living in a 100+ year old farmhouse tells me that the sisters may not have been able to stay as long as they did if they had had to maintain it, and worrying about whether or not your bathroom is going to fall off is a definite distraction from contemplation.

Still, I don't particularly want to move to a concrete block building. It's bad enough going to Mass in one.


Yeah, I don't blame them, and I think Karen said the house had a lot of problems, but it's too bad they couldn't have replaced it with something more beautiful than concrete block.

One day, I hope, people will remember that solid buildings don't have to be ugly.

Prayers for Dr Dyas...

One comment to set the facts right, since we are publishing here--the four elderly Carmelites are not living at the Little Sisters of the Poor Residence but rather at the Convent of Mercy.

And one comment to Janet: You have one more chance to visit the monastery. There is another open house at the Carmelite monastery on Saturday, Feb 26, from 10 am till 2 pm. Then Canonical Enclosure on Monday so it will be your last chance, unless you are some sort of workman and they need your services for something they can't do for themselves.

Feb 26 being the day after tomorrow, and tomorrow being only 40 minutes away.

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