Finding Abel

Posted by Censor Librorum on Jan 1, 2007 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

I will be traveling to Chicago this week. I like Chicago – it’s a city with a lot of texture. The great lakes are right there–a gateway to the north. Lake Michigan is large enough to console me on a loss of proximity to the ocean.

During some future trip I would like to stay a few extra days to do some family research. My father was born just outside of Chicago, and his mother was from there. She left as a little girl for Colorado, where her parents were killed in an avalanche. The kids ended up back in Chicago in a Catholic orphanage. Her older sister became a cloistered Carmelite nun. I have a picture of her, and a small picture of the Blessed Mother with “Always Love Our Lady” written in a spidery hand in the back. I remember my grandmother saying when she went to visit her sister she had to talk to her on the other side of a grill. My grandmother asked her, that if she had to do it all over again, would she become a nun. She paused for a long moment before answering, and told her sister she would not change a thing about her life in the community, but if she had to do it all over again, she would not have become a nun. She was honest about her life without regret or remorse. It’s a quality I appreciate.

I might have another relative in Chicago from my mother’s family. According to one story, when my great-grandfather, Frank Pavloske (or Pavlosky), emigrated from Prussia in the 1880s one of his brothers, named Abel, went on to Chicago. The black sheep of the family, he was supposed to have become a gambler, a card player, and met an unknown end. I would like to find out whether or not Abel existed, and if he did, what became of him.

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