Friday, April 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The Catholic Nun and the Jewish Lawyer: Perfect Together!

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The Catholic Nun and the Jewish Lawyer: Perfect Together!

Sister Mary Lydon and her biggest fan, Adam Getson, in the food pantry and clothing room that Sister runs out of a basement room at St. Cyprian
Sister Mary Lydon and her biggest fan, Adam Getson, in the food pantry and clothing room that Sister runs out of a basement room at St. Cyprian

Adam Getson is a Jewish guy with a Christmas dream, and I think it would be a mitzvah if this blog's readers helped make it come true.

The 31-year-old trial attorney at Wapner Neuman has recently gotten to know - and been blown away by - Sister Mary Lydon, IHM, the director of parish services at St. Cyprian Roman Catholic Church at 525 S. Cobbs Creek Parkway.

Sister Mary, who's worked at St. Cyprian's for a decade, founded a free food pantry and used-clothing room out of the church's basement. Open two days a week and manned each month by 18 volunteers, it's not just a mission of love for Sister Mary but an absolute necessity for the working poor whose paychecks cover shelter and utilies but not much else.

Through a former client of his, Adam learned about Sister Mary's mission and felt compelled to meet the pint-sized dynamo (who won't tell me her age, except to say it's "old"). He's now her biggest fan.

"She's one of those energetic selfless people who you just want to help the minute you get to know her," says Adam. "What she does is so important, and she does it with grace and love."

Feh, says Sister Mary.

"I don't do anything. I'm just a conduit," she says modestly, scratching her head that a young go-getter like Adam would be impressed with the likes of her. "Good people donate to the parish, and we turn around and give it away to other good people."

Yeah, y'know, no big deal - except to the people whose lives it saves.

That's why Adam has made it his own mission to raise money to help Sister Mary's labor of love, which is not financed by St. Cyprian's general fund. He's been spreading the word about the pantry and clothing room, colleting financial donations, and plans to present her with a check when he has raised $5,000, or on Christmas Day, whichever date comes sooner.


Right now, he's at about $2,000. Even if he can't scare up another nickel, that's still a healthy donation to Sister Mary's cause, which has never received more than $500 in individual support.

But wouldn't it be great if Adam hit that $5,000, thanks to readers of this blog?

Adam has created a Facebook page to spread the word about Sister Mary, which she appreciates, but she's asked me to correct a point the page makes - that she sometimes finances her project out of her pocket.

"No. Never. I'm a nun," she chuckles. "I have no money."

Anyway, for those who can't get onto Facebook, here's Adam's pitch:


 

"After having a wonderful Thanksgiving, I realized how much I have to be thankful for and want to give Sister Mary a donation. She has never received a donation larger then $500.00. My goal is to raise $5,000.00.

"I have never tackled a project like this in my life, but I am excited to be involved. I plan on keeping those who are interested informed via this facebook fan page.

"Sister Mary has ensured me that upon request, she will give proper documentation for those who donate and would like to receive a tax credit to use when calculating their income tax at the end of the year.

"Should you feel as compelled as myself to donate, please send a check made payable to Sister Mary and mail to my work address:


Adam S. Getson, Esquire
Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer Brecher & Miller
115 S. 21st Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103


"I plan on presenting Sister Mary with the checks received by me when I reach $5,000.00 or December 25, 2009, whichever date is sooner.

"I hope that this finds everyone well and in good health. Should you want to discuss this in greater detail, please do not hesitate to call me on my cell phone at 267.240.2171.

"Lastly, please share this fan page with anyone that may be interested."

He and Sister Mary make a funny pair, says Adam, who's so impressed by Sister's energy and selflessness, he's planning to team up with her for future projects.

"I'm a young Jewish guy and she's an older Catholic nun. Everything says we should have nothing in common. But working with her just feels like something that's meant to be."


Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
About this blog

When my phone rings here at the Daily News, nine times out of ten the caller begins the conversation with, “Yeah, so what happened was…”.

Because this is Philly, the caller doesn’t say, “My name is Bob” – or Mary – “and I wonder if I could have a moment of your time?” Philadelphians are too direct for that. They just say, “Yeah, so what happened was…”, and then tumble into a tale they think oughta be shared with a wider audience. I love getting these calls (even the ones where it becomes clear, after 30 seconds, where the caller sowed the seeds of his own misery), because they give me chance to connect with fellow citizens in a way that no other job allows. Well, okay, no other job for which I’m remotely qualified.

That’s why my blog is titled “So What Happened Was…”. To me, it’s the quintessentially Philly way of saying, “Once upon a time.” When I hear it, I know a good story is coming. And I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Ronnie Polaneczky has been an award-winning columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News since 1999, offering a front-steps perspective on every aspect of city life, from the sublime to the stupid. In her past life, she was the editor-in-chief of Atlantic City Magazine, associate editor at Philadelphia Magazine and a fulltime freelancer published in Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, MarieClaire and others. She lives with her husband, daughter and various pets in the city's Fairmount section, where she dreams of one day singing The National Anthem at an Eagles game. In addition to her column and blog, you can enjoy Ronnie's musings in podcast form here.


Read more from Ronnie Polaneczky at Earth to Philly, the Daily News blog on anything and everything "Green Reach Ronnie at polaner@phillynews.com.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
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