Today is the feast day of St. Lawrence, but it is also the feat day of every Christian bearing the name of Lawrence. I’d like to speak about two fiends of mine who have done honor to the name Lawrence,
Larry Schierhoff from my home parish was two years ahead of me in the seminary. We worked summer jobs together, with Larry amazing me and everyone else with his cleverness in working with machines. Ordained in 1951, he was assigned to a pastor who made fun of him day and night. After he put up with that abuse for two years, the parish secretary came up to him, offering him a job in her brother’s firm where they did inventive things with machinery.
Larry and the former secretary were married, raising five children while Larry worked at such projects as designing coin slots that could issue the exact change for any bill or coin you inserted. They settled in a parish where the grade school was folding up for lack of funds; but with Larry’s wife volunteering her time as school secretary and treasurer, and with Larry volunteering his services for maintenance and improvements, the school became such a success that Larry and his wife were decorated with a papal meddle.
My other Lawrence, Sister Lawrentia, taught school in Ireland for eleven years. Then, she taught for eight years in Jacksonville, and in St. Louis for thirty-four; all the while preparing the next day’s classes before going back to the convent in the evening; and her math students piled up awards over the years. In ways it was a more saintly career than she would have had being thrown to the lions just once. Anyway, it did more people more good.