My Final Conversation With Father Dick

Many often visited Fr Dick in his chaplains office.

Many often visited Fr Dick in his chaplain’s office.

With Father Dick’s birthday right around the corner, memories of the years I had the privilege of knowing him have been swarming into my mind. As the years continue to pass since Father Dick left this world to enter into heaven, I truly believe that it is essential for older Montrose students to pass down their experiences with him to the younger/newer students who were not able to meet Father Dick. 

Father Dick has pretty much always been in my life. However, he could never quite remember my name. I was called Singer girl, Danny’s daughter, Olohan, and worst of all, Catherine (I can count the times he called me Helen on one hand.) That being said, Father Dick and I shared some wonderful times that I have been able to take many life lessons from. My final conversation with Father Dick will forever stay with me. It started like this:

“Hey Father Dick, you got a minute to talk?”
“Of course I do, Olohan. Take some Skittles and sit down.” 

Well, that was nothing new. It was not uncommon for me to stop by Father Dick’s office to chat and talk about the daily happenings at school. However, I was not planning on stopping by this particular afternoon. I am eternally grateful that I did, though. Unbeknownst to me, or to Father Dick, this would be our final conversation together before he passed on to Heaven. I was making the trip so that I could interview him for a class project on the Beatitudes. To complete the project, I had to interview someone who exemplified my chosen Beatitude. While I cannot recall which one I was tasked with researching, I remember having a feeling that I needed to interview Father Dick. 

Our conversation ended up lasting much longer than it was supposed to, and Father Dick began to tell me stories from his life and the lessons he learned throughout it all. He told me about stories from when he was young and the shenanigans he pulled with his buddies. Of course, he ended each story with: “… that’s probably not something you should do now. I wasn’t the brightest back then.” 

While I could write pages about that single conversation, the final few sentences are what I would most like to focus on. He said: “ The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that it is so, so important to love others just like Jesus did, just like His blessed mother did, and just as Elizabeth did. You two [referring to me and my project partner] are the bee’s knees, and I’ll  see you when I see you.” With a final smile and a fist bump, he poured some Skittles into my hands and sent me on my way. As I began to head back to class, Father Dick called after me, yelling: “Hey, you tell your teacher to give you an A+ on the project. Tell her that Father Dick said so!” 

To know Father Dick is to love Father Dick. It is, and forever will be, a privilege and an honor to have known him. While his presence is certainly missed throughout Montrose, his memory still lives on. It is impossible to walk by his office without glancing in and reminiscing about those old conversations, confessions, and, of course, his afternoon naps. He never failed to put a smile on my, or anyone else’s, face. Even now, any time his name comes up in conversation, there is a wave of joy that flows through. 

Helen Olohan ‘24, Staff Writer