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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.


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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James of the Marche: Meet one of the fathers of the modern pawnshop! 
<p>James was born in the Marche of Ancona, in central Italy along the Adriatic Sea. After earning doctorates in canon and civil law at the University of Perugia, he joined the Friars Minor and began a very austere life. He fasted nine months of the year; he slept three hours a night. St. Bernardine of Siena told him to moderate his penances. </p><p>James studied theology with St. John of Capistrano. Ordained in 1420, James began a preaching career that took him all over Italy and through 13 Central and Eastern European countries. This extremely popular preacher converted many people (250,000 at one estimate) and helped spread devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. His sermons prompted numerous Catholics to reform their lives and many men joined the Franciscans under his influence. </p><p>With John of Capistrano, Albert of Sarteano and Bernardine of Siena, James is considered one of the "four pillars" of the Observant movement among the Franciscans. These friars became known especially for their preaching. </p><p>To combat extremely high interest rates, James established <i>montes pietatis</i> (literally, mountains of charity)--nonprofit credit organizations that lent money at very low rates on pawned objects. </p><p>Not everyone was happy with the work James did. Twice assassins lost their nerve when they came face to face with him. James died in 1476 and was canonized in 1726.</p> American Catholic Blog Let us never tire of seeking the Lord—of letting ourselves be sought by him—of tending over our relationship with him in silence and prayerful listening. Let us keep our gaze fixed on him, the center of time and history; let us make room for his presence within us.

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