By Father Timothy Gollob
Special to The Texas Catholic
During his public ministry, Jesus would often come to his hometown to visit and to relax. It was on one of these occasions that someone in the crowd cried out, “blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” Lk 11:28 Jesus replied that it is the person who hears the word of God and keeps it in their hearts and in their actions who is the truly blessed one.
As we enter into the month of May (named for the mother of Jesus), it is a time to remember those people in our lives who were the blessed ones that Jesus was talking about. Those people are the ones who really heard the word of God and lived their lives in due accordance.
For me, one of my first memories of a really holy disciple of Jesus was my great-aunt, Annie Pruitt. This stalwart listener to the word of God was a pillar of faith and of discipline during my formative years in Tyler.
She was a teacher of history and of geography at Hogg Junior High. She was one of those instructors that we were blessed to have in our lives. She had rules to be observed by all students. Her homework was mandatory, but interesting. As her students entered high school, they were prepared to be creative.
Alas, it was the rule of the Tyler Independent School District that teachers had to retire at the age of 70. This milestone came and Miss Pruitt was not ready to throw in the towel.
She wrote around and found a school in the Rio Grande Valley near McAllen that needed teachers. So to there she traveled.
And with her she took her eighth-grade curriculum and gifted it on the fourth graders of her new school. They responded with joy and blossomed for five years under her tutelage.
She was so successful that the Texas Outlook magazine for teachers named her the teacher of the month for her classroom discipline and for the enthusiasm of her students.
One afternoon, at 75, she came home from school and took a nap. She passed without ruffling the bed covers! She was wearing a scarf depicting Our Lady of Guadalupe, the favorite saint of her students.
She is buried in the Lone Oak Cemetery in Laneville, Texas. That is a place where she spent many hours during her summer vacation, cleaning the family plots and planting flowers.
As with Mary, she has passed away from our sight but many flowers remain to remind us of her diligent discipleship.
Father Timothy Gollob is the pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Oak Cliff.