One year ago was one of the hardest days of my life. It was the day my dear friend Brother Richard Jonathan passed away. It was a day I will always remember because he was a man I will always remember.
I first knew of Richard Cardarelli (that was his secular name)because of his ministry and his activism. He was on the east coast and I on the west. We got to know each other through letters (later email) and phone calls and through an internet group that I founded many years ago. Eventually, when Ricky (that's what I always called him) moved to San Francisco, we would finally meet face to face and spend many years marching and praying and being part of candlelight vigils and rallies and generally working with each other toward the same goal of equality.
Brother Richard Jonathan was always an inspiration. I remember when he made his life profession the spirited address he made. I remember those nights standing with him in San Francisco's Castro district. I remember the Dignity events and the masses at San Damiano and holding picket signs on the steps of City Hall. He didn't just inspire me, he touched the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands of people in his lifetime. Brother Richard Jonathan was someone who certainly made a difference in this world.
As my mother lay in bed fighting lung cancer this past spring, I thought of his fight against the same disease last year. Just as I prayed for Mom, I prayed also for Ricky - we all did, but on June 22, 2012, the lung cancer won and our dear sweet Richard Jonathan was born to eternal life.
I will carry so many memories of Brother Richard Jonathan with me. It might be difficult to pick one thing that made the biggest impact, but I will always be glad that he came my way.
One Christmas a few years ago I received a card from him with a quote from German Dominican monk Meister Eckhart. Those words really speak to my greatest memory or Richard Jonathan: "We are all meant to be mothers of God. What good is it to me if this eternal birth of the Divine Son takes place unceasingly but does not take place within myself? And what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace, but I am not also full of grace? What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his Son if I do not also give birth to him in my time and my culture? This, then, is the fullness of time: When the Son of Man is begotten in us.”
Rest in peace dear Ricky. Thanks for coming our way.