> Heartfelt “Dad” Stories told by our Sisters

Heartfelt “Dad” Stories told by our Sisters


We celebrate Father’s Day this Sunday, stirring many to reflect on “dad” memories and family stories we hold dear to our hearts. To honor their dads, our Sisters share these heartfelt stories of their fathers. We are sure these lovely, cherished memories will stir your hearts.

Dad Shows Actions Speak Louder Than Words

By S. Margaret Toohill

My Dad, as I look back, was a wise man and a great father. I see that so much more now in my older years.

One experience I had with Dad, among others that seem timely, is this:

On Saturdays, Dad would do certain necessary errands since he was the only driver in the family at those times. He would bring me along (probably to help my mom) since I had two younger siblings at home. I was with him on one of those Saturdays, and we stopped at a neighborhood bar. Dad got me some orange pop and pretzels and sat me at a table. He went back for his drink, and I heard him speak in a stern voice to the bartender, “If you won’t serve him, you do not need to serve me.” We left then, leaving orange pop and all. As I looked back, it was a man of color my dad was talking about. It is something I will never forget.


A Cherished Letter From My Dad

Christmas Eve: First Mission: St. Rose Convent, N. Syracuse, New York

By S. Jean Barrett

Dad was ill; thus, my mom and brother came to the convent with gifts and a letter from Dad:

“Dearest Jean, These gifts are only tokens of the real gifts which are in our hearts. We know of your order’s restrictions on receiving worldly goods. (This was back in 1954!) Never a day passes that your name is not mentioned – as I pray for you at weekday Masses. God will take care of you just as He has rewarded us all with the knowledge of your vocation. When we find Sisters of your vocation so satisfied with the little we have to offer, we are proud of our daughter…………. Love, Dad”

Years later: When my Dad was a patient at St. Camillus Rehab Center, suffering from a form of dementia, he thought he was home. One day he asked me to lift him out of bed as he had to go to work.  He said: “I own this place.”  I thought ‘you wish,’ as I had just paid the monthly bill, roughly $850 less than current fees. On another occasion, he asked me to pull him up in bed and was shocked when I told him I’d get the nurse. As the nurse pulled him up in bed, Dad turned to me and said, “Jean, take note of these life-saving skills!”

It was a privilege to take care of my Dad in his later years and I continue to rejoice with him as he celebrates another Father’s Day with our loving God.

My Dad

By S. Eileen Magill

My dad was a wonderful and loving dad and husband. He had a quick wit and could have the whole room laughing with “one line!”

He offered words of wisdom and insight when you talked to him.

But most of all: “His Love of the Neighbor” was very high!

My grandfather Magill and his family were strong Scotch Presbyterians until he married my grandmother.

My dad was Roman Catholic all his life; as a matter of fact, he attended St. Paul’s Cathedral Grade School. But my dad’s sense of “care for the neighbor” was powerful and lived out by him. He was an excellent example for me.

I was his D.O.D (Dear Old Daughter). He was my D.O.D. (Dear Old Dad).

I was blessed!



My Father – A Faith-Filled Man

By S. Rose Ann Reichlin

My father was a faith-filled man who lost his wife to cancer in 1951. At the time, my twin brother and I were seven years old. Then, five months later, his best friend, his own twin brother, died.

Dad was a loving and devoted father. He never remarried and was able to keep our little family close and faithful to our Catholic heritage. Once, when he had to have surgery, he wrote this letter to my brother and me, but we never saw it until after he died and we were going through his belongings.

Dear Rose Ann and Joseph,

Although I am having minor surgery tomorrow, something could always go wrong. If I don’t wake up – don’t take it too hard.

Remember, no one lives forever in this life.

Lead a good Catholic life always,


For me, Dad was like Job in the bible – he suffered quietly and deeply but never lost his Faith and Trust in God. I am blessed and grateful to have many fond memories of my Father, which I hold forever in my heart. 

A Knight of St. John – My Dad

By S. Fran Gangloff

Memorial Day always brings to my mind the many years we went on this day to the Knight of St. John Mass and procession at Pine Ridge Cemetery in Cheektowaga, New York. There’s a memorial in the center of that cemetery where the Mass is held. The monument lists the names of the deceased members of each commandery of the Knights. My Dad’s name is there.

This cemetery – United German and French Cemetery at Pine Ridge – is the same place where our WNY sisters were buried from the 1860s to 1930s. Unfortunately, my Dad is not buried there, but rather at our home parish.

It’s more than 60 years now since Dad died. He was laid out and buried in his Knights uniform. Knights, two at a time, stood guard at wakes. And so too, Knights stood guard at our Dad’s wake.

We went with him to many occasions where the Knights turned out for special events – both in our home parish of Our Lady Help of Christians in Cheektowaga and many parishes around Buffalo and the suburbs.

We still fasted from midnight for Communion in those days, and it was often hard to last through the long ceremonies. Nevertheless, it was interesting and chilling to watch processions go through under the arched swords of the Knights.

For our own special events, Mom (or Grandma) took photos of us with Dad in his uniform.

“Oh, My Papa”

By Sister Kathleen Murphy

Do you remember that song, made popular by Eddie Fischer in 1954? I do. Although we didn’t call our father papa, our Daddy met the descriptions of the “papa” in that song.

Born the youngest of three daughters, I fell into the role of my father’s son, whom my parents never had. He and I soon developed similar interests: going for walks together, listening to classical music, enjoying the lakes, rivers and canals in western New York, and watching the “Little Three” college basketball teams over television. He always chose Canisius. For the fun of it, I would choose the opposite team, either Bonaventure or Niagara. When it came to boxing or wrestling, we made our choices by the color of the athlete’s shorts.

My father found it very difficult when I entered the convent. On a walk a few nights before I did so, he told me that if I ever wanted to leave, the doors of our home would always be open to me. I never did leave religious life, but the daughter that he gave over to God was the one who held his hand as he exhaled his final breath.

I always felt it significant that my father was thirty–three years old when I was born into this life and that I was thirty–three years old when he was born into eternal life.

Daddy, I miss you and Mother. Give my love to her and tell her that we shall all be together soon in the light of eternity.

My “Stay at Home” Dad

By S. Rose Jerome Kenlon

My Father was probably the model of a Stay at Home Dad. He sustained a severe back injury on his job at the Westchester County Water Department substation in our home city of Mt. Vernon, New York. It wasn’t easy, with many long hospital stays and surgeries, but he never complained. Our house on Third Street was a mecca for all of our friends. When dad began to feel better, all were welcome, and this was still the case after I entered religious life. My friends still remember Pop Kenlon as someone who accepted everyone as an individual and their ideas as well. He also was a fantastic cook, so food might have entered into the picture just a bit. My Mom, by the way, became the primary breadwinner at a time when women usually didn’t work outside their home.