Services were held today at Johns Hopkins (Interfaith Center) for the father of a friend of mine from law school – Francis Rourke was a professor of political science and apparently had quite a dry wit. It was good to see Steve and Cindy and Shana and Gabe, their kids. I felt so bad for Mrs. (Lillian) Rourke, although she did very well speaking at the service – as did Steve, his sister Kathy (hope I spelled that correctly), and his cousin Christopher B. Steve’s other sister, Ann was there, too. Apparently Dr. Rourke died 6/18/05, but the memorial service was held today – his birthday. Ironic it was 9/11. Dr. Francis “Frank” Rourke advocated very strongly for desegregation in the sixties and maintained his liberal ideals until his death. Right on! I let Steve know that the conversations we all had in law school were the starting point for my long journey of questioning my own politics and beliefs – a journey that continues to this day. Steve is definitely his father’s son and I know Dr. Rourke is proud of him. May this legacy live on!
On my way to the service the Peace Path on Charles Street was in full swing. All along the way from the Inner Harbor to the Johns Hopkins Interfaith Center in the Baptist Church on Charles and University were people from various churches, groups, denominations and the ubiquitous “Women in Black” with signs urging the end of the war in Iraq. I think Dr. Rourke would have been pleased the “Peace Path” led to and surrounded his memorial service. There was no music at the service, but the occasional honking car horn in support of the protesters provided an apt accompaniment. His wife, Lillian, however, told me he would have hated all the attention.
The service itself was very moving. I was there for the most part just to support Steve and Cindy, but I found myself sorry I had never really known Dr. Rourke. He sounded/sounds like the kind of person it would have been an honor to know. I think Steve is a lot like him – he has that dry sense of humor, kindness, self-deprecating, and writes beautifully. By the way, Cindy is like that too, so she and Steve really are a match made in Heaven:) On a lighter note, Father Bozzelli, who used to be a priest at St. Louis in Clarksville, presided over much of the service. Apparently, he was a student at Hopkins. He was also an attorney before entering seminary – and not a bad one at that. I told him I would be very interested to learn how he made that transition. He laughed and said he’d have to write a book.
Here are some pictures of Steve and Cindy and family:
Cindy and Gabriel on the left.
And below are Gabriel, Cindy, Steve and Shana.
I cannot get over how much the kids have grown up:)!
I feel so bad – I kept telling them to “smile” and this poor fellow’s father had died. They are such a beautiful family. Steve was busy talking with his father’s friends and relatives, so Cindy and I caught up. She and Judith T., another immigration lawyer, have so much in common. They are both so kind and very very good attorneys – and of course look out for the interests of the underdog – my kind of people:)Shana is now working as a linguist for a government agency. She even knows Hindi! Gabriel is attending Drexel. They must be so proud of their kids.
I was so grateful and so touched and honored that the Rourke/Rosenberg clan allowed me to share in such an intensely personal time in their lives and grateful to God for such wonderful friends in my life!
To finish up – there was a beautiful poem on the back of the prayer card that I would like to share here – by William Butler Yeats. I will most likely lose that card and I don’t want to lose the poem. Selfish perhaps, but true.
WHEN YOU ARE OLD
When you are old and gray and full of sleep, And nodding by the fire, take down this book, And slowly read, and dream of the soft look Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; How many loved your moments of glad grace, And loved your beauty with love false or true
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, And loved the sorrows of your changing face; And bending down beside the glowing bars, Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled And paced upon the mountains overhead And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.