Gaining and Losing Friends, Part 2

Gaining and Losing Friends, Part 2
by Fred Schaeffer, OFS


No sooner had I written and published “Gaining and Losing Friends” (Part 1), when, on Wednesday January 31, 2018, our Franciscan Brother, Eugene Caldarone (Gene), went to the Father.  As I had written there: Losing Brothers and Sisters in the local Fraternity is always a sad experience. I'm not sure people, especially those who are not Secular Franciscans, understand how much of a close-knit family the local Fraternity becomes, but have come close to one another. Divine Mercy Fraternity (in Vero Beach, FL) is a fraternity very close to my heart since I had a hand in founding it in 1992.”


Gene, Helen’s husband, was a great leader and mentor. We didn’t always see eye-to-eye but that was mostly because I’m impatient with people who have strong personalities. In the end, I have to observe that they are usually right and I am not. From that I deduce that Fraternity life teaches one how to practice humility. And that’s alright. Gene was very kind and a really good person. That is why we were good friends. And Helen, too, became my best friend over time.


Helen and I worked closely together though apart in distance when I was in Religious Life (1996-2002 incl., 1996 the year when the Fraternity received Canonical Approbation); following 2002, Helen was Minister three terms.


I will never forget the visit Helen and Gene made to me in 1998 or 1999 when I was in Petersham, MA with the Monks of Adoration. People who have visited me in faraway places (from Florida) have a distinct spot in my heart. Even then I was writing Reflections for the Fraternity. Helen and Gene have been most kind to me over the years, especially years where I had challenges making ends meet. That is a very Franciscan trait, helping one another, brothers and sisters in Franciscan life. There are several others who still look out for me.


And now, tomorrow is Gene’s Mass of Christian Burial, the burial at the Cemetery, and for him life goes on with the Lord in Heaven. Even though we will all miss him, the thought of Gene experiencing Heavenly rest is itself awesome as we all desire to reach that plateau. For Helen, Gene’s Peace in the Lord, will be solace but she will miss him greatly, as will their close family and friends.


And we, as a close-knit Franciscan fraternity, will miss Gene also. We will think of him often and hold him dear in our prayer life.


Fred Schaeffer, OFS

File: D18-006 Gene C.docx Sunday, February 4, 2018




A Gift of a New Life
A Biography
by Fred Schaeffer, OFS 2019

Secular Franciscan Order
Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis

Divine Mercy Fraternity

Vero Beach, FL


Term expires: 2/10/2022

Fred Schaeffer, OFS

Helen Caldarone, OFS

Mary "Jean" McGovern, OFS

 Jack Reddy, OFS


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