The Mounts

For years as children growing up in the Catholic tradition we read story after story about the lives of the saints. They were noble people from all walks of life who embraced the total dedication to God. Many gave even their lives as witnesses to the beauty of the life of Christ. I would never dismiss the value of these stories but they seemed so distant and far from the life I was experiencing in the parish. However, I did not have to hunt high and low to see the heroic lives being led in the fullness that Christ promised in the Sermon on the Mount. One of the clearest examples of this spiritual fulfillment came through the lives of the Mount family.  They at one point appeared to be the all American family. Five healthy children and the  economic benefits of a thriving automotive business Then without warning tragedy struck, Their eldest child Aldine lost her sight and was plagued with seizures and every conceivable side effect from the illness and the medications. Each day Aldine lost more and more of her physical and mental abilities and only a parent who has been there can understand what Jeanne and Chet were experiencing. When Aldine should have been enjoying the wonder of being an adolescent she succumbed to her illness and died. This tragedy  as awful as it was occurred two more times in the Mount family. Neal and Tommy lost their sight and all of the horrors of the illness again were heaped on the Mounts. For some reason Chip the second oldest was spared the blindness but not from the suffering of watching his sister and brothers wither and die. Peg the youngest had not reached the dangerous age when blindness would strike so that was also hanging over the family.

Despite this unbelievable series of tragedies Jeanne and Chet Mount lived their lives to the fullest and the love in that family was a magnet, I never once heard them complain and whatever those children could experience the Mounts supported. Tommy was a love who lived his live with all of the zest that every child wishes to experience and his parents supported every opportunity that he wished to explore.  You would think that the Mount home would be off limits for the squeamish but not only adults were inspired by them, but also teen agers flocked to their home to participate in the care of those who needed help. In reality many came to help but also their living room was always filled with persons who drew strength from the Mounts.The word saint is rather other worldly but in my life I had never found more spiritual and loving persons. Almost every Saturday night after confessions I would go to the Mounts and play cards,sing songs but most of all to bathe in the beauty despite all of the hardships left had left at their doorstep. My life was  so
enriched by the love and beauty that lived in the Mount home.

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