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Fr. Hardon

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Reflections on Father Hardon

He was quite short, Father Hardon was. He was about 5’5”. When he was preparing for his trip to Russia and Poland, he asked if anyone had some boots he could borrow. We were surprised when he said he needed a size 12 or 13. Mike, my husband, brought in some boots that he had for hiking. They were waterproof, size 12. Father Hardon held them and said, “They are too heavy, but thank you.” The mental giant was of small stature physically. In fact, his doctor told him in the 1970’s that he should stop speaking because his heart could not last. He taught for nearly twenty-five more years. So perhaps you can understand now how frail he seemed, but that never stopped him.

As you probably remember, Father Hardon went to Confession every day. At Domino’s farms, he would be seen sitting over in a corner with Father Downey as they heard each other’s Confessions. Well, when Father Hardon went to Poland, there was a blizzard that made the roads and walkways nearly impassable. Daniel Peper, who recorded many hours of Father Hardon’s lectures in Detroit and around the world, went with him on this particular trip to Europe. Father Hardon needed to find a priest to hear his Confession. Unfortunately, Father Hardon could not speak or understand Polish. However, he finally found a priest who could speak Latin, so he decided to go to him. The only problem was that there was nearly a foot or more of snow outside; it was still falling, it was still blowing. Since Father was in his 80’s by now, he had difficulty tolerating the cold and walking. So he enlisted the assistance of 6’5” Daniel. Father Hardon walked behind Daniel so that Daniel would break the wind and give assistance in making a path through the snow. They bundled up with boots, gloves, and hats, preparing to brave the elements. Out they went. They began to walk, and walk…. Quite some time later, they arrived at the entrance of the priest’s residence. What is truly amazing about this whole story is that it was at least one or two miles to the place where the priest lived. Then they had to walk back as well. Father Hardon was a determined, strong-willed man who loved the Church and the sacraments. What an example he has set for us on the importance of Confession, on the determination we, too, should have to have our Confessions heard regularly.

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