“A Spiritual Inquiry: What Really Matters in Life?” By: Michele Babcock-Nice

“A Spiritual Inquiry:

What Really Matters in Life?”

By: Michele Babcock-Nice

“What really matters in life?”  Of course, this is a question to which I already know the answer, but have recently contemplated again and in more depth and detail.  It has also led to asking myself additional questions, all of to which I do not know the answers.  And so, the initial question has led to some personal and deep soul-searching recently.

People are what really matters in life – one’s family, friends, colleagues, fellow church members – everyone, really.  Everyone really matters.  Yes, everyone really matters because I truly believe that we are all connected – no matter what background, race, religious affiliation, age, social or financial status, gender, nationality, ethnicity, etc.  Sometimes, we may not like everyone, however everyone still matters. 

People’s thoughts, feelings, attitudes, philosophies, and actions matter.  As I have gotten older, I have learned in greater depth that, sometimes, people do not take action on an issue if they fear or have concern about potentially making it worse.  Sometimes, however, people do speak out or take action on particular issues, and those issues are, indeed, made worse. 

It is in those situations that people learn to keep quiet, to protect themselves, to come to believe that silence may be better than whatever terrible consequences may be experienced from standing up for or speaking the truth.  After all, most people do not want to hear the truth, especially if it evokes discomfort. 

Sometimes I think that, even if people were truthful with each other and genuinely sought to help and support each other, no positive difference would be attained simply because of so many who choose to disbelieve, deny, ignore, or overlook particular situations.  Sometimes the majority wins, even though the majority may be wrong or incorrect.

Thus, how can a person, establishment, company, or organization hope to improve by not being open to all possibilities, and then, being wise and insightful enough to do what is in the best interests of not only the individual, but also the group?  Leaders of groups and organizations must recognize and be aware that their decisions may be far-reaching and widespread, and therefore, decisions must be carefully-made, wisely-implemented, and sensitively-enforced.

Therefore, the way in which people judge and misjudge, perceive and misperceive, help and harm each other…matters.  I see it happening more and more in our society that people seem to be becoming more immune to violence, more apathetic toward wrongdoing, increasingly led on the wrong path. 

So, how can we help each other?  How can we support each other?  How can we make positive change?  How can we convince those who are blinded by what is accepted in society that may not necessarily be right or good to change their perceptions?  Those who are guided by strong morals and ethics must continually take the lead in these matters, not being led by greed, selfishness, or the desire for status or influence, but out of the desire to assist humanity in living better, as Jesus taught.

Depending on the situation, positive change and changes in people’s perceptions, attitudes, and philosophies may take days, months, years, decades.  A friend of mine recently stated to me that there is little that one person can do.  I respect that person very much, however, it was definitely a disappointment that he stated this to me. 

In my way of thinking, Jesus was one person; Nelson Mandela is one person; Gandhi was one person; Blessed (Mother) Teresa was one person; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one person.  Change, whether good or bad, can begin with one person.  So, what better reason than to be one person who stands for positive change?

People who stand up for and speak out for what is good and right matter.  People who do whatever they can to help each other, no matter what the consequences or what the outcome, matter.  We must also recognize that those who may not be vocal or active about particular issues matter because they may know that to do so may make matters worse. 

Progress as we see it is not the same as the manner in which God see’s it.  To God, our progress is probably more like regress.  There is so much in our lives about which we are busy, constantly on the go, always having to do something, regularly networking or connecting with each other – or maybe not.  Maybe we are not doing enough for ourselves or each other; that may be the opposite end of the spectrum, too. 

So, what really matters in life to you?  Work is important, having enough money is important, having meaningful things in one’s life is important.  How important are people to you?  What would you do to help or support another?  If you saw or knew of someone in need, what would you do?  Would you turn your back and walk away, or would you assist them in ways to help themselves?  Would you do what Jesus would do? 

We must always remember that, in our humanity, we are not perfect.  However, we can always strive to be better people, to be more kind, more loving, more caring, less selfish, less hurtful, less diminishing, more understanding, more insightful, more wise.  We must not accept less, but expect more and better – of ourselves and others.

We must also always try our best to do our best and to be the best possible individuals whom we can be, however, we must also remember to live in the manner that Jesus wants us to.  It is not enough to be a follower of Christ; we must truly live Jesus’ principles.  We can always try our best to be better people than we are.  We can always do more to help ourselves and others. 

Therefore, we can always seek to behave in a more Christlike manner.  As followers of Christ, we must truly seek to become more like him, to seek to know and understand His will for us, and to be open to and accepting of how He forms and models us in positive ways.  How will you do that today and everyday?

Book Review of “Conscious Contact: The Twelve Steps as Prayer” (Dr. Mic Hunter); Review and Personal Reflections by: Michele Babcock-Nice

Book Review of:

Conscious Contact: The Twelve Steps as Prayer (Dr. Mic Hunter)

Book Review and Personal Reflections by: Michele Babcock-Nice

In his new book, Conscious Contact: The Twelve Steps as Prayer, Dr. Mic Hunter reveals to readers an inspirational spiritual awakening in his guidance for utilizing the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous in daily prayers for building strength of character, spiritual development, and resistance to vices present in our lives.  Dr. Hunter’s nearly thirty-five years of working with those who have addictions provides both professional and personal meaning, significance, and experience to the writings he offers in his book. 

Dr. Hunter’s insights and expansion on the Twelve Steps as prayers offer everyone – not only those who may be struggling and/or recovering from addictions – to mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically benefit from being both “in touch” and honest with themselves, others, and God.  Though I have personally not been afflicted with addictions to alcohol or drugs, I recognize that I am fallible due to my mere existence and humanity; and therefore, Dr. Hunter’s writing has personal and spiritual meaning for me in a manner that guides and leads me into a closer and more intimate relationship with God, myself, and others.

Dr. Hunter first begins his book by listing Alcoholics’ Anonymous’ Twelve Steps, as well as an adapted version of the Steps.  The Steps provide the basis and foundation for his book, leading the reader to focus on one’s own needs, desires, defects, and spirituality.  Dr. Hunter’s book is directly meant for those who are truly commited to making positive change in their lives, and can be utilized for a wide variety of reasons.

Throughout the next several chapters and versions of prayers in his book, Dr. Hunter writes insightfully and provides the reader much guidance and examples in using models and examples of prayers, as well as in developing and shaping them for one’s own personal use.  Dr. Hunter continually calls the reader to contemplate and recognize certain overall beliefs that we may hold about ourselves, as well as the fact that practicing and performing rituals – such as attending church, for example – may become insignificant, ineffective, or boring without the addition to them of things that have personal meaning – such as prayers that directly reflect our own personal ideas, requests, or needs. 

This is definitely as aspect of religion to which I can relate, particularly since I regularly attend church and participate in the same rituals week after week, month after month, and year after year.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with those rituals and I maintain a respect and appreciation for them, however, after forty years, they have, indeed, lost their impact on me to a great extent. 

In any absence of the opportunities to more personally and intimately participate in my church worship celebrations, the religious rituals designed to give thanks to the Creator have become empty and hollow.  As a result, I have personally recognized my robotic, obligatory, and expected responses and actions to them.  These feelings and actions, have therefore caused me to seek increased participation in my church services and activities, in which I regularly read, serve Eucharist, sing, or participate in other ways, such as in the instruction of children.

Praying Holy Child Figurine

Importantly, Dr. Hunters calls the reader to engage in prayers that will assist him or her in becoming a better person and in being victorious over his or her addictions.  Dr. Hunter also correctly observes that, while people do pray, they may not often take the time to listen to and perform the will for them of the Creator.  I was also importantly reminded of that while reading Dr. Hunter’s book. 

In developing one’s prayers, Dr. Hunter recommends his method of asking and answering several questions that he developed.  The questions include:”Is the focus on my behavior?; Is it simple?; Is it something I can do now or soon?; Does it align with my principles?; Would I be comfortable telling others?; [and] Do I have a sense of peace when I think about it?” (p.33).Dr. Hunter then goes into more detail about his questions by assisting the reader with formulating answers to the questions, as well as developing them into prayers. 

Within the Twelve Steps is information intended for people to personally apply to themselves regarding recognizing the existence of the Higher Power; asking for God to remove their faults; being honest about themselves, their character, and their flaws; being open to the care and guidance of others; asking forgiveness for those whom they may have harmed in some way; continually taking a personal inventory of our character and actions; improving our spiritual connection with God; and reaching a spiritual awakening through the practice of the Steps.  

Dr. Hunter shares examples of formulated prayers, both in general and those more personally-related, that include the aims and goals of each of the Twelve Steps.  Thus, the reader is both provided with the groundwork for using the prayers, given general models to begin practicing, and later, encouraged to more personally and intimately relate the prayers to his or her own needs and reflections. 

Of significance and addressed in his book, Dr. Hunter recognizes that we, as people, are human and have fallibilities.  He also recognizes that those strengths and weaknesses make us who we are.  In those individuals who are recovering addicts, Dr. Hunter addresses how he believes people should recognize their weakness and continue onward toward recovery should they experience a relapse.  It is important, therefore, for people to recognize that there is fallibility in our humanity – that’s what makes us human.  Not to recognize it is a danger, as is being too harsh or critical on ourselves for our mistakes, faults, and errors.  

To quote Dr. Hunter regarding relapse in his book, he states:”I have always thought there ought to be a word to describe a relapse that leads to improved recovery.  A word that indicates something valuable has been learned that makes future relapse less likely.  However, far too many people don’t learn from their relapse; either they don’t take the slip seriously and continue on as they had before, changing nothing, somehow expecting that another relapse won’t happen, or they take it far too seriously and are so hard on themselves for having relapsed that their guilt and shame drives them into a binge” (p. 81). 

Of further importance throughout the next two pages of his book, Dr. Hunter describes the manner by which people may grow and develop in their humanity, character, and spirituality, becoming better and more compassionate individuals.  He writes that through our weakness, grief, injury, and/or pain, we have opportunities to grow into people who are stronger and more caring and compassionate toward ourselves and others.  Dr. Hunter also identifies within those pages the needs that we have of God, as well as the hopes, feelings, and actions that we offer to God.  

As an individual who has taken inventory of my own character flaws and about what I would like to change and improve, pages 82-83 of Dr. Hunter’s book are those that most “spoke” to me, personally.  Throughout our lives, everyone experiences good, mediocre, bad, and even tragic situations.  Each of those situations is an opportunity for us to increase our spirituality, become better people, reach out to God and others for guidance and assistance, provide leadership and confidence, and be open to God’s will in our lives.  

In my own life, Dr. Hunter’s book pertains directly to me because I can relate and utilize his writings and developed prayers toward my own faults, including the desire for too much materialism, too little healthy eating and exercise, wanting my own way, being too independent, not being open enough to or trusting of others (but this is also exercised with caution), negative thinking and worrying, having unrealistic expectations, and other flaws.  Dr. Hunter’s book, Conscious Contact: The Twelve Steps as Prayer, thus, has personal and spiritual meaning to me because I can insert my own fallibilities, needs, and shortcomings into the prayers provided.  

Dr. Hunter’s book has given me a much-needed spiritual jolt in my general daily prayers, previous to which I had often given up due to their lack of meaning and eventual belief that little or no good was accomplished from them.  Though I do believe that prayer is helpful, over the years, it had just lost so much personal significance for me, causing me to give up hope that such meaning would ever be re-introduced.  

Conscious Contact: The Twelve Steps as Prayer is another of Dr. Hunter’s books that I will keep closely at hand, referring to it regularly in the redevelopment and enhancement of my own spiritual life and personal daily prayers.  Thus again, Dr. Hunter’s book has provided me with needed rejuvenation and revitalization in my own faith, prayers, and spiritual life.  More importantly for me, by sharing about his own humanity, Dr. Hunter has again renewed my faith in others, showing me that there are those in our world who truly care about the needs, feelings, and lives of others. 

Whether you are a person who is recovering from an addiction, or an individual who is seeking to re-energize your spirituality, Conscious Contact: The Twelve Steps as Prayer is another of Dr. Hunter’s must-reads!  Dr. Hunter has proven, yet again, that truly being “in-touch” with one’s inner self is the key to being in conscious contact with God, themself, and others.   

Source 

Hunter, M. (2012).  Conscious Contact: The Twelve Steps as Prayer.  Charleston, South Carolina: Mic Hunter.

Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center: A Great Place for a Class Trip (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center:

A Great Place for a Class Trip

By: Michele Babcock-Nice

February 8, 2012

Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center Patch

On January 26, 2012, my son’s class at his Lilburn, Georgia school visited the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center in Buford.  What a wonderful place to visit and take a class for an educationally-related field trip!  Not having ever visited the Center before, I had heard great things about it since I have known teachers who attended professional development conferences in science there in the past. 

On the class field trip, my son, his class, teachers, and several parent chaperones, including myself, had the privilege of visiting the Center, enjoying a guided tour of the many exhibits, walking on a short hike through the wooded area surrounding the Center, and having an opportunity to try out the exhibit activities, especially those related to water and outer space.   

My Son Wearing Space Clothing

The tour guide, Miss Heather, who led the students throughout the Center and on the hike was very knowledgeable, professional, and patient.  She provided the students with much useful information about water, water conservation, hydroelectric power, ‘going green,’ outer space, the environment, and caring for and appreciating our environment.  Heather taught the students and answered their questions, while also providing them with opportunities for hands-on experiences about the demonstrations and exhibits she presented to them. 

My son especially enjoyed the outer space exhibit, where he was able to manipulate a mechanical ‘arm’ to grasp an object, wearing a NASA space suit in just his size, understanding about how astronauts eat and relieve themselves while in outer space, and so much more. 

My Son Pushing the Water Wheel

In the exhibit and activity area that focused on water, my son learned about various mechanical devices used for transporting water, the melting of ice, creatures in our environment that are dependent on water as their habitat, and additional activities that I wish we had more time to experience. 

Luckily, the students were able to participate in a short hike in the woods next to the Center.  Though it was a wet day from having previously rained, everyone went on the hike to the circular rest area where Heather taught students about the environment and animals that live in the woods.  Students could view bird and squirrel nests in the trees, currently without leaves during the winter.  

My Son Atop the Frog Figure

Students also learned about various other animals that live in the woods and rely on the beautiful, natural wooded habitat as their living space.  Heather also spoke to students about the reasons for the Center being constructed in the area that it was, due to the expected population of Gwinnett County being projected to continue growing throughout the next decades. 

After students finished their tour of the Center and outdoor hike, everyone returned to eat their sack lunches in the Center’s eating area that provided enough seating for approximately 60 of us.  The eating area was very comfortable with large windows that allowed for plenty of light and a view of the beautiful outdoors behind the Center. 

All in all, I highly recommend a class trip – or a family trip – to the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center.  Admission prices are extremely reasonable, particularly for those youngsters who are under 12 years old.  The Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center is located at 2020 Clean Water Drive in Buford, Georgia 30519, and can be found on the Internet at http://www.gwinnettehc.org.  Consider visiting the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center today!

Scout Sunday: Honoring God and Scouts (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Scout Sunday: Honoring God and Scouts

February 5, 2012

By: Michele Babcock-Nice

My Wolf Cub Scout, 2011

Scout Sunday is an opportunity for Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts throughout the United States and elsewhere to honor and remember God.  Churches and other places of worship set aside this special day for Scouts to remember, honor, pray to, give thanks to, and love God.  Depending on what religious institution with which you and/or your scout are involved, your religious leader may recognize scouts in your pack(s) during Mass or other worship services.  

BSA Scout Sunday Patch 2011

In my area, St. John Neumann Church in Lilburn, Georgia is well-known for recognizing Scouts and their contributions to the community during Mass that celebrates Scout Sunday.  Scouts and leaders in packs associated with the church and surrounding areas come together at Mass, honoring God and giving thanks for what God has provided.  And, in particular, particular Scouts are also recognized at St. John Neumann Church for having completed certain religious activities in order to earn religious medals and emblems, most notably the Light of Christ Medal, Parvuli Dei Medal, and associated religious knots.  This year at St. John Neumann Church, members of three Cub Scout Packs were present and/or recognized during Scout Sunday Mass.

My Tiger Cub Scout After Receiving his Light of Christ Medal, 2011

Additional churches and religious institutions throughout my area also celebrate Scout Sunday, as well as those throughout our country.  Similar recognition may be provided at these places of worship for scouts who earn religious awards, including God and Me, and others.  

BSA Scout Sunday Patch 2012

Scout Sunday is the perfect time during the year for scouts and leaders of all ages and backgrounds to come together to remember and praise God, and to be recognized for all the good works that scouts complete in our communities.  Remember to take a moment to thank your scout and/or local pack(s) for their service and leadership in your community.  By working together, we can all continue to make the world a better place.

In Remembrance of Flavia C. Gernatt (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

In Remembrance of Flavia C. Gernatt

(April 2, 1921 – November 27, 1995)

By: Michele Babcock-Nice

Flavia C. Gernatt (Undated Photo)

Psalm 23: A Psalm of David: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou annointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever (The Holy Bible, 1979).

Flavia C. Gernatt was born Flavia Schmitt in Langford, New York – a small farming community near Buffalo – on April 2, 1921.  Before age 20, she was married, and founded with her husband a dairy farm in 1938.  In the 1950s, she was a partner with her husband in owning and managing the largest milking cow herd in Erie County.

Following World War II, Mrs. Gernatt’s family began to provide bank-run gravel to the community from their property.  Beginning with one truck, this endeavor grew into a large multi-company corporation that currently boasts nine sand, gravel, cement, and asphalt enterprises throughout Western New York State and Eastern Pennsylvania.  These companies are now known as the Gernatt Family of Companies, headquartered in Collins, New York.

In the 1960s, Mrs. Gernatt and her family began investing in race horses, while on a golfing vacation in North Carolina.  This investment grew into a business of breeding and racing harness race horses – mostly identified with the name “Collins” to represent the locale where Mrs. Gernatt and her family lived – in Western New York and New York State.

A couple of the most well-known of Mrs. Gernatt’s family horses were Sir Taurus – my personal favorite as a gentle, powerful stallion – as well as Elitist, a spunky and speedy stallion.  For many years, Mrs. Gernatt and her family also sponsored a horse race named for Elitist, one of the family’s champion stallions that earned $250,000 in winnings in just his first two years of racing with them about 25 years ago.

Very well-known about Mrs. Gernatt, her family, and the Gernatt Family of Companies is the financial support provided by them to the Roman Catholic Church, locally in Gowanda, New York, as well as to the Diocese of Buffalo.  In 1992, Mrs. Gernatt and her family donated a newly-constructed rectory for the family’s main local parish of St. Joseph in Gowanda.  The maintenance and upkeep of the St. Joseph campus, including the church and school, is much a reflection of the generosity of Mrs. Gernatt and her family.

Mrs. Gernatt, her family, and the Gernatt Family of Companies are also well-known for their generous financial contributions to and being benefactors of St. Joseph Church, St. Joseph School, and Roman Catholic education in the Diocese of Buffalo.  Her family members as well as dozens of extended family members have been blessed by attending a variety of Roman Catholic schools in the Buffalo and Western New York area throughout approximately the past 90 years.

Mrs. Gernatt’s husband has also been honored and recognized by receiving the highest award from the Bishop in the Diocese of Buffalo for supporting Roman Catholic education.  The powerful financial and social influence of Mrs. Gernatt and her family in Catholicism and Catholic education have been profound.

As active and supportive members of the Republican Party, Mrs. Gernatt and her family have also had a very powerful impact on law, politics, and government at the local, state, and federal levels.  Supporting government leaders in all areas of government – particuarly members of the Republican Party – are those endeavors important to Mrs. Gernatt and her family.

Many charitable organizations have also enjoyed the financial support of Mrs. Gernatt and her family through contributions directly from her family and those from a foundation created in she and her husband’s names.  Providing monies to assist organizations with feeding those who are less fortunate, as well as those that support healthcare – including the American Red Cross – and local endeavors – such as creating a helipad at the local hospital – have also been causes championed by Mrs. Gernatt and her family.

Throughout most of my life, I knew the Gernatt family and extended family; and I came to know Mrs. Gernatt only in the last eight years of her life.  An avid walker in later years, Mrs. Gernatt walked between 1.5 to 4 miles each day, nearly every day of the week.  Thus, she and I had something in common since I typically jogged the same route that she walked.

Flavia C. Gernatt (Approx. 1990s)

After having seen her walk through my neighborhood several times, I asked another community member who she was.  That individual stated to me that she was simply “Feggie.”  I thought it interesting that the person who identified her to me expected me to know who she was, particularly at my age of 16 at the time.

When I expressed to the community member that I did not know her, she was then identified to me as her son’s mother and her husband’s wife.  I then realized who she was.  Therefore, because she was so often known in the community as her son’s mother and her husband’s wife, I have purposely not identified them here to provide her the honor of focusing on and appreciating her as a person.

Therefore, it was at that time when I was 16 that I came to know Mrs. Gernatt.  Occasionally, I would walk with her throughout our neighborhood, conversing with her about daily living, our families, exercise, the weather, and other general topics.  I especially appreciated her great wisdom, insight, and spirituality in regard to people and life.  I once inquired with Mrs. Gernatt about certain questions I had in relation to my brother, and she put me at ease with her answers, which I appreciated.

An extremely intelligent woman, Mrs. Gernatt and I had an understanding about each other.  Have you ever looked at a person in the eyes and just knew that they understood you?  That is how Mrs. Gernatt and I interacted during our time walking together.

Upon inquiring with Mrs. Gernatt and her husband one Christmas holiday when I was at home from college and my vehicle needed repairs, I asked if she and her husband could give me a ride to and from daily mass at our local church.  Since I was old enough to drive, I had attended daily mass at our church for a more in-depth religious and spiritual experience, and also attended as much as possible during holidays.

Therefore, Mrs. Gernatt and her husband very kindly transported me to and from daily mass several times during that holiday season.  I also got to know them better by eating breakfast with them at church following daily mass on one morning, at which time both Mrs. Gernatt and her husband showed the utmost kindness and courtesy to me by including me in their gathering.  Feeling somewhat uncomfortable and undeserving of being a part of their group, Mrs. Gernatt conveyed confidence and authority in her inclusion of me with her, for which I am also forever grateful.

What struck me most about Mrs. Gernatt was her love for God, and her dedication and faith in our shared Catholic religion.  As a generally quiet woman who kept to herself, Mrs. Gernatt was a daughter, sister, wife, mother, successful businesswoman, devoted fellow Catholic, and honorable friend.   Mrs. Gernatt served as Eucharistic Minister in our church, and she was a member of the Power Elite of business owners and entrepreneurs in New York State.  Being a board member of her family’s highly successful, multi-million dollar corporations, as well as serving as a spiritual guide and moral compass for her family, Mrs. Gernatt always made time to give thanks and praise to God.

As the matriarch of her family, Mrs. Gernatt was also a wonderful role model for everyone, including her family, those whom she knew, members of her parish, and individuals within the community.  As a person gifted with the power to do so much good for others, Mrs. Gernatt was a person who was fully present in many endeavors to strengthen and improve the Roman Catholic Church, Catholic education, and her community.

In the days before her death, I remember the strength, dedication, and perseverance of Mrs. Gernatt in continuing – not only to attend Mass – but to walk, independently, to the altar to receive Eucharist.  I am witness to Mrs. Gernatt’s strength, faith, spirituality, character, dedication, and perseverance at a time in her life that was most difficult.  Her strong will, honorable nature, and moral and ethical direction continue to be an inspiration to me in my life.

In good times and in bad – including while battling the illness that took her life – Mrs. Gernatt continued to have her strong and unyielding faith in God that compelled and guided her to the altar to receive Communion.  As a fellow Catholic, that is profound in itself, and says multitudes about her faith, beliefs, and spirituality.

I am thankful for the opportunity I had to get to know Flavia C. Gernatt, and discover for myself that she was a “real” person – not necessarily one who was on the pedestal on which others placed her.  So often, we may feel so unlike people of enormous wealth, however this was not the case with Mrs. Gernatt.

Though my socioeconomic status was and is far at the other end of the spectrum from Mrs. Gernatt, she always made me feel as ease.  Her confidence and authority caused me to feel comfort.  Her wisdom, insight, and intelligence spoke to my soul.  In Mrs. Gernatt, if even for a short while, I found a kindred spirit.  I am grateful for that, and know she is looking down on me with those same qualities today.

Sources

“Gernatt’s Horses Plug Collins,” (Harlan C. Abbey) 1984, The Buffalo News, Buffalo, New York.

“Gowanda Area Chamber of Commerce Spirit of Gowanda” Newsletter, February 1996, Gowanda, New York.

“Obituary of Flavia Gernatt,” November 29, 1995, The Buffalo News, Buffalo, New York.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church (Pictorial Directory), 2003, Gowanda, New York.

The Holy Bible (1979).  Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Villa Maria College, Grants Office, Recent Grants, Buffalo, New York.  Gernatt Family Foundation Grant.  From http://www.villa.edu/grants_office.html.  February 3, 2012.