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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fr. Kramer Back to Ireland

 Fr. Kramer Back to Ireland

The last day I was with Fr. Gruner, in Slane, Ireland, 17 March 2015. We had dinner in a local restaurant that evening -- and we would never meet again in this life; something I never imagined possible.
I marveled over his ruggedness -- at age 72 he was impervious to the cold, the wind, and the sleet. I was suffering inside my coat, hat & gloves. He read the Gospel and preached a homily, dressed only in Mass vestments, and no gloves at any time.

I prayed to God, wishing I could be so rugged and strong as Fr. Gruner, ten years older than me. His energy and stamina was beyond incredible. I saw it in New York; I saw it in Tamil Nadu (India); I saw it in Rome, etc. And less than a month later, he died suddenly. One month after that my mother died suddenly at age 91, (like Fr. Gruner, in good health for her age).
When I recieved the terrible phone message of Fr. Gruner's sudden death; I could not bring myself to believe it. Fr. Gruner and I were inexplicably bound together by divine providence since 1972. We were together with the OVMs just outside Rome in 1972. Then we were together studying at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, during much of the 70s. We were together with the Conventual Franciscans in Frigento, in 1976, under Fr. Stefano Manelli; so, I was able to be present on that glorious day of his priestly ordination, 40 years ago today, on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
After 7 years of separation, in Lourdes in 1983, as I prayed to Our Lady before Her statue at the grotto where She appeared to St. Bernadette. I finished my prayers, stood up, turned right, and then literally bumped into Fr. Gruner head on.
Fr. Gruner said, "I thought you were in Italy, with Fr. Stefano (Manelli). I replied, "Yes, I was there for a month, but I"m on my way to Paris, and then I will go to Germany, and I will be appointed to a parish in Hessen." Fr. Gruner asked me if I could work with him in Canada. I said, "Yes", but first I must finish other commitments (in Germany and in the Philippines)
Finally, I was able to go to Canada and collaborate with Fr. Gruner in 1986, after a lengthy illness -- when Bishop Bantigue allowed me to leave Laguna and go to Canada. For the next 19 years I divided my time between Canada and the Philippines.
I retired in 2005, without pension, because my diabetes would not allow me to sit at a desk; and especially because Canada Immigration would not let me stay any longer on temporary basis. So I decided to go to Ireland -- I had no other viable option.
Life in Ireland was not easy. I had practically no income; but Irish Catholics took me in -- most notably, Deirdre Manifold, whose reputation is legendary. When it was not feasible for me to stay in Ireland, I had my alternate home in London, with the equally remarkable and almost legendary Filipino Catholic activist, Sylvia Subdi. Sylvia brought me back to the Phillipines several times.
I finally got well ensconced in Ireland, and only went back from time to time to stay with Sylvia in London and in Portugal -- Sylvia, who was truly my second mother. Then Sylvia's illness suddenly became worse (nobody even knew she had it). I was suffering from an Illness, so I could not come to London before her death.
I must now return to Ireland, and with heavy heart I leave all my Catholic friends in London, and return to my difficult, but blessed solitude in the land of my grand & great grandparents -- IRELAND.

TradCatKnight: Fr. Kramer, " Cork, Ireland (Fatima Conference, 2015)"