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Patrick Ferraro’s Adoption Journey View Comments
By Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.

In the search for his birth parents, Patrick relied on the kindness of strangers, chiefly Sister Mary Joan Baldino, who played an integral part in the process. She and Patrick became close friends because of this experience.

IN AN AGE when more and more of the seven million adoptees in the United States are seeking the right to unseal records and obtain their original birth certificates, in all but eight states it is frustrating or impossible.

Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and author of Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution Is Transforming Our Families—and America, said in The Huffington Post on January 12, 2011: “Every additional day, month and year that original birth certificates remain sealed, some more adoptees and birth parents who want or need to find each other will give up instead, and some more will die, without ever filling the hole in
their hearts.”

Because Great Britain changed its laws and unsealed adoption records in 1975, the story of Patrick Ferraro’s search for his birth mother is as unexpected as it is poignant. His journey crossed three countries and spanned 40 years. It is a tale about love, family and a series of providential encounters with complete strangers who helped him.

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Sister Rose Pacatte, F.S.P., M.Ed., is the director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Los Angeles. She has been the film and television columnist for St. Anthony Messenger since 2003.

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Jeanne Jugan: 
		<p>Born in northern France during the French Revolution—a time when congregations of women and men religious were being suppressed by the national government, Jeanne would eventually be highly praised in the French academy for her community's compassionate care of elderly poor people.</p>
		<p>When Jeanne was three and a half years old, her father, a fisherman, was lost at sea. Her widowed mother was hard pressed to raise her eight children (four died young) alone. At the age of 15 or 16, Jeanne became a kitchen maid for a family that not only cared for its own members, but also served poor, elderly people nearby. Ten years later, Jeanne became a nurse at the hospital in Le Rosais. Soon thereafter she joined a third order group founded by St. John Eudes (August 19).</p>
		<p>After six years she became a servant and friend of a woman she met through the third order. They prayed, visited the poor and taught catechism to children. After her friend's death, Jeanne and two other women continued a similar life in the city of Saint-Sevran. In 1839, they brought in their first permanent guest. They began an association, received more members and more guests. Mother Marie of the Cross, as Jeanne was now known, founded six more houses for the elderly by the end of 1849, all staffed by members of her association—the Little Sisters of the Poor. By 1853 the association numbered 500 and had houses as far away as England.</p>
		<p>Abbé Le Pailleur, a chaplain, had prevented Jeanne's reelection as superior in 1843; nine year later, he had her assigned to duties within the congregation, but would not allow her to be recognized as its founder. He was removed from office by the Holy See in 1890. </p>
		<p>By the time Pope Leo XIII gave her final approval to the community's constitutions in 1879, there were 2,400 Little Sisters of the Poor. Jeanne died later that same year, on August 30. Her cause was introduced in Rome in 1970, and she was beatified in 1982 and canonized in 2009. </p>
		<p> </p>
American Catholic Blog A mother journeys with her children all the way through their lives. She does not abandon her maternal mission when they are grown, though that mission certainly takes on different characteristics. The Church, too, accompanies us every step of the way. While baptism gives us birth into the Church, the other sacraments in their own way also nurture our souls as needed.

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