December 5th is the tenth anniversary of Mary Risacher’s death. We were married for 28 and ½ years. She was an extraordinary woman and filled with delight those of us who were privileged to spend our lives close to her.

A large measure of what I believe made her extraordinary was her enthusiasm for others and the sheer joy she took in being with them. I can’t emphasize this enough. Some may describe her attitude as the desire to be of service to others. But it was far deeper and much simpler than that. She genuinely esteemed and enjoyed other people, and it communicated. People knew right away that they were special in her eyes and that there was no sham or “acting-as-if” about it.

This was truly extraordinary even among professionals — religious and secular — whose careers were defined by “listening,” or “being available” to others. In my experience, despite their sincerity, there was always a distance, always the feeling they were “doing what was right,” even when carrying morality to its ultimate expression — being “perfect.” In that respect, I got the sense their eyes were always focused on what they were doing. Mary, however, looked only at you.

She was not interested in “perfection.” Her respect and affection put her relationships into a different category altogether. I never met anyone whose emotional life was so genuinely in tune with the religious values we define as “love.” If the point of it all is to love one another the way we believe “God” loves us … Mary came as close as anyone I knew.

I miss her terribly.

Tony Equale


8 comments on “DECEMBER 5th

  1. Paul Knitter says:

    Tony, your memories of Mary touched me deeply. Thank you. For me, if there is any such thing as a “proof of God’s existence,” it’s when you meet God in another human being. You did. We did. Thank you.

  2. Virginia says:

    In gratitude for your honoring and honest emotions. Wish l had known Mary more tgan than just in passing. You have been blessed.

  3. Mike Matyniak says:

    I have come to the conclusion that God is not usually found in a church, temple, mosque or any other place of worship. God is found in relationship with creation and most importantly other people who have touched our lives by their selfless love. Hopefully, we too will touch someone and that will bring true meaning to our lives and more importantly to theirs.

  4. Richard L Walters says:

    Tony, your comments about Mary were very moving and reflect what Anne and I have experienced over the past 54 years. I can not imagine what it would be like to be without her.
    Thank you.

  5. Joe Gibbons says:

    Such a good way to remember your love. I share your thought and feeling.
    Christmas can be a dark time for singles but the recollection of a loved one brings light.
    As an aside I want to say that your search has torn my life into bits but I am slowly rebuilding.
    Merry Christmas Tony and thanks for the blessings.

  6. charlie pyle says:

    Found you on the internet. It’s a long time since cathedral hs. I am retired in NH; if you are interested in making contact I’ve sent you my e-mail.
    Charlie Pyle

  7. Garth Cheff says:

    Hey T. Mary lived love. I can see her smile and hear her voice right now. Blessed are you for having found such a jewel…

  8. Joe Gibbons says:

    Strange to say but she seems very familiar to me.
    Thanks for everything Tony.

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