Tuesday, September 18, 2012


My mom died on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, one month shy of her 93 birthday on October 18 at about 4:50 PM with my sister Elizabeth and me at her bedside something I had dreaded for my entire life. It was a two week roller coaster. On Saturday, September 1st, my sister noticed my mother's breathing was labored and there had been a great deal of fluid buildup. Home health care came and recommended she be brought to the hospital. Up until that my mom had been living on her own in her townhouse and with her monster cat, Kitty, himself about 16 years old. She moved into her townhouse in July of 1991. This was her last day there and the last time she saw her beloved cat.

At the hospital she was in good spirits and was released on Wednesday, September 5th to go to a nursing home rehab center where we had hoped she would then return home. But on Thursday morning, we could not awake her and her breathing became more distressed and so she was sent to the hospital again. Once in the emergency room, she awoke and was very alert, talkative and with her normal sense of humor. She stayed awake until well past 10:00 PM when she got a room at the hospital.

She continued to have the deep sleep problems but moments of great alertness and never lost her appetite when awake! Thursday, September 13 she was sent back to the rehab center, but again on Friday, September 14 she was non-responsive. In the evening we kept a "death watch" as it appeared close. However at about 9:00 PM she unexpectedly awoke, was alert, and ate two small pudding cups and drank water. On Saturday morning, she was sitting up eating on her own a large breakfast of eggs, bacon, grits, bread, orange juice and coffee. She was alert all day. The next day, Sunday, September 16, she remained alert had visitors and her great grandchild, 2 year old Bailey Jo McDonald visiting and great pictures were taken late Saturday, September 15:

I came back from Macon, on Sunday night and went immediately to see Mama. She was awake, alert and fighting with her nurse whom she felt wasn't quick enough in getting her to the bathroom, but the nurse had gotten her out of bed and to the toilet and back to bed and she felt better. I gave her what would be her Last Holy Communion, Viatcum for the arduous journey from death to eternal life although I didn't realize that it would be her Last Holy Communion! I kissed her good night and she told me to feed her cat!

On Monday, September 17, she could not be aroused and by the late afternoon it was obvious she was in a semi-conscious state, occasionally but briefly opening her eyes and acknowledging me and then out again.

Monday evening the doctor told us that she was very critical.

Tuesday, September 18th, we remained all day with Mama. Her breathing was only labored once but then remained consistently shallow but steady. My sister, her husband and two children and two of her grandson's wives were present a good part of the day. Most departed around 4:00 PM except for me and my sister. Earlier I had offered my mom the "Last Rites."

The nurses came in to give my mom something for a fever that had developed and then turned her to her side and that was all it took, she took her last breath! My sister and I couldn't believe it had come to such a relatively easy passage although it was unexpected at that particular moment. I think both of us really thought she would come to again and we would eventually get her home again, but exceedingly sadly it was not to be. This was about 4:50 PM, Tuesday, September 18, 2012, born to eternal life.

Loosing your mom, especially your Italian mom, is a hard one. Italian sons and mothers are an interesting study in family life and cultural expectations! I won't be posting any new posts for a while and may be a bit slow in posting comments, but keep them coming! God bless.

The following obituary is in our The Augusta Chronicle and Macon Telegraph this morning:

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Entered into rest Tuesday, September 18, 2012, Mrs. Isolina (Lina) Clara Sainati McDonald, 92, loving wife of 45 years to the late Donald Joseph McDonald. Mrs. McDonald was a native of Livorno, Italy but then moved to Georgia from Italy in July of 1956 with her husband and three children. She was a member of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity. Mrs. McDonald worked for the Richmond County School System and was a volunteer for St. Joseph Hospice. Family members include daughter: Mary Elizabeth McDonald Smith and husband Robert G. III; sons: Johnny McDonald and wife Deborah, Fr. Allan Joseph McDonald; grandchildren: David Joseph Smith and wife Jennifer, Rebecca Ann Smith, Johnny McDonald, Jr. and wife Patty, Scott McDonald, Lauren McDonald; great grandchildren: Maxwell Smith, Nicholas Smith, and Bailey Jo McDonald and her cat, Kitty. A Funeral Mass will be held Friday, September 21, 2012 at 12:15 P.M. at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity with Fr. Allan McDonald and Fr. Jacek Szuster celebrants. Burial will follow in Westover Memorial Park. Memorial contributions may be made to Church of the Most Holy Trinity, 720 Telfair St., Augusta, GA 30901. A vigil service will be Thursday evening beginning at 6:00 P.M. and the family will receive friends until 8:00 P.M. at Thomas Poteet & Son Funeral Directors, 214 Davis Rd., Augusta, GA 30907 (706) 364-8484. Please sign the guestbook at

Published in The Augusta Chronicle on September 20, 2012


qwikness said...

God Bless Father. We're praying for your mother.

Marc said...


Please be assured of our continued prayers for you, your family, and your mother.

Hammer of Fascists said...


Unknown said...


May God keep your mother close in this time of need.

I will offer my rosary for your intentions regarding your mother for the next week and that we come to understand God's will.


Pater Ignotus said...

Allan, May the angels lead her into paradise. Holy Peace.

+wordphan said...

"And with the morn, those angel faces smile, which I have loved long since, and lost awhile."
John Henry Newman

My condolences to you, Father, and your family. You are in my prayers.

Militia Immaculata said...

Father, I offer you my condolences and prayers. And I pray for your mother too. Eternal rest, grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her!

Carol H. said...

Father, I pray that the Lord bless and comfort you in your time of sorrow.

I will pray Rosary and Divine Mercy novenas for the repose of her soul.

Anonymous said...

May she enjoy now that eternal happiness in Paradise.

You have been a dutiful, and faithful son and a true example to all your sheep.

God Bless you.

Sheila K. Shah

Anonymous 2 said...

Dear Father McDonald,

I have only just seen this post. I join with others in offering you my heartfelt condolences and in wanting you to know that we are praying for your mother and for you and your family.

Yes, please don’t worry about the Blog. It, and we, will still be there when you are ready to post again.

Gene said...

May God work in her the purpose of His good and perfect are in my prayers. Gene

Henry Edwards said...

May her soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Unknown said...

Fr. McD;

It is in a time like this that we are reminded of our own mortality and that is a hard thing to deal with, regardless of one's "closeness" to death, as a priest is. It cannot be an easy time for you, losing your own mother, but know that your prayers are being heard and God has them answered in His time. While you may not feel the effects of them immediately, His will is done!

As I was told by my mentor, Mons. Richard Schuler on the occasion of his only sister's death, "Andy, I am sad. Jean was my best friend and my relationship with her was a close as two people could be. BUT I HAVE HOPE! I know that God's salvific work was completed on the Cross and I know that we will rise again, just as Christ rose from the dead."

"Heaven is a real place," he went on to say, "because there are physical bodies there. Christ Jesus and His blessed Mother there."

He went on to share with me Wisdom 3:1-9.
[1] But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment of death shall not touch them. [2] In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure was taken for misery: [3] And their going away from us, for utter destruction: but they are in peace. [4] And though in the sight of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality. [5] Afflicted in few things, in many they shall be well rewarded: because God hath tried them, and found them worthy of himself.

[6] As gold in the furnace he hath proved them, and as a victim of a holocaust he hath received them, and in time there shall be respect had to them. [7] The just shall shine, and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds. [8] They shall judge nations, and rule over people, and their Lord shall reign for ever. [9] They that trust in him, shall understand the truth: and they that are faithful in love shall rest in him: for grace and peace is to his elect.

I take great comfort in that one passage from Sacred Scripture, as he did. Just as it got him through the passing of his sister, it got me through his passing. This is proof that God's will is done.

Eterno riposo, concedere a loro, o Signore,
e lasciare che perpetua risplenda ad essi la luce
Maggio le anime dei fedeli defunti
attraverso il ricordo di Dio, riposa in pace, AMEN.

Robert Kumpel said...

Please accept my condolences.

I'm sure it must have been a great comfort to your mother to have a son who is a priest and to have you there at the end.

TCR said...


The loss of my mother was life's greatest sadness, but the hope of seeing her again is one of Heaven's perfect joys. Until the day when all tears will be wiped away, my prayers are with you, your mother, and your family. God bless you.

Tammy Rowan

William Meyer said...

Father, the loss of my mother was wrenching. After 25 years, I still miss her, and keep thinking of things I should have asked.

You, your mother, and four family will be in my prayers.

Gerbert d' Aurillac said...

Fr. you have my most sincere condolences, and my prayers are with you and your family. I lost my mother in 2002 I still miss her, especially when I hear her favorite song "Nesum Dorma" great aria, but so difficult for me to listen to. Pax Christie

Joseph Johnson said...

Dear Father McDonald,
I am so very sorry to hear of your mother's passing. My family and I will remember both you and your mother in our prayers. Thanks for everything you do.

Nicole Stallworth said...

We will keep your mother, and you and your family, in our prayers, Fr. McDonald.

Jenny B. said...

Dear Father Allan,
Having a loss is very personal, and each one experiences their loss in their own way...there is no time period for grieving, and the journey is very much yours and yours only. We have hope in Christ Jesus our Saviour, and the Blessed Virgin Mary that we will see her again! The angels sang her into Paradise, and though we miss her physical presence, she is with us still in the Church Triumphant. Alleluia, what a Saviour, and how blessed am I to have you for an earthly Shepherd. We love and support you now, in this time of greatest need. Jenny

Mr. C said...

by Henry Vaughan

UNFOLD ! unfold ! Take in His light,
Who makes thy cares more short than night.
The joys which with His day-star rise
He deals to all but drowsy eyes ;
And, what the men of this world miss
Some drops and dews of future bliss.

Hark ! how His winds have chang'd their note !
And with warm whispers call thee out ;
The frosts are past, the storms are gone,
And backward life at last comes on.
The lofty groves in express joys
Reply unto the turtle's voice ;
And here in dust and dirt, O here
The lilies of His love appear !

Tom Makin said...

Fr. I lost my Mom just shy of 2 years ago. You are so right about the unique relationship that exists between a mother and her son. No matter how old we get, as long as Mom is around, we are still, in many ways, a little boy. In truth, we like it that way. I'm sorry for your loss and though we all have great faith, it really does stink. Period!

Shelly said...

My condolences and prayers.

Malav Shah said...

Dear Father Mcdonald,

Please accept my deepest heartfelt sympathy and condolences for you and your family.

Your mother was here to enable the divine purpose of God to unfold. That's how important she was!. That's how important we all are!.

Malav Shah

Yankee Padre said...

May she rest in peace, and may those who survive know the peace that this world cannot bring. My prayers are with you Fr McDonald.

Vox Cantoris said...

May she be lead to the Kindly Light and rest in His arms for the wonderful faith and life she had.

God bless you Father.

Anonymous said...

May the soul of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. And may God you & your family His Peace, which passes all understanding, during this time of sorrow. -Pgal

Mr. A. said...

My prayers for your mother's soul and comfort for you and those who knew and loved her.


ytc said...

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Chris Vicari said...

I am so sorry for your loss and have, your mother, you and your family in my prayers. As the son of an Italian mother your post touched my heart and also dread that day. I didn't know your mama but know you were here pride and joy. I can only imagine how much more special mass must now be with her celebrating with you in eternal glory at the right hand of the father.
Chris Vicari

Anonymous said...

Rest in Peace, I am sorry for your loss and would like to add that I am quite confident her passing was much eased by your presence with her in her final moments.

Lee said...

I'm sure your mom is very proud of you and is bragging about you to Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother right now.

John Nolan said...

Losing a mother is different from any other bereavement; she is the only one who knew you before you were born. Sadly I lost my mother (aged only 54) when I was 23. Still, a bona mors after a long innings is the best we can hope for this side of martyrdom. Anima ejus, et animae omnium fidelium defunctorum, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace.

Anonymous said...

dear father Allan, condolences to the family Agostinelli from Livorno, the disappearance of Isolina Sainati.Mio father was the son of Piero Agostinelli, which I host 'your father and mother you Livorno during guerra.Se send me an e-mail contact, I can send pictures of the time. a greeting and a hug from Livorno, Alessio, Fabrizio and Tiziano Agostinelli

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

CaroAlessio, Fabrizio and Tiziano Agostinelli

Come meraviglioso per ricevere la sua nota sul mio blog. Il mio indirizzo e-mail è
Ricordo per visitare lei circa 9 anni fa con Giovanni! La e-mail di du mia
sorella Elizabeth è

è l'anno prossimo di visiterò Livorno in ottobre. Sarò in Roma da settembre a novembre! Dio benedice, il Padre Allan McDonald