Joan Frawley Desmond, is the Register’s senior editor. She is an award-winning journalist widely published in Catholic, ecumenical and secular media. A graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family, she lives with her family in California..
Princeton University's inimitable Professor Robert George was hospitalized on Dec. 6 for a serious illness. Following is a message he sent to supporters of his organization, the American Principles Project:
Please accept these brief but heartfelt words of thanks from the most fortunate, most richly blessed man in the world.
As you may have heard, I was hospitalized last week for a rare condition known as mesenteric arterial dissection. Throughout the ordeal that began last Sunday evening, my family and I have been buoyed by your kind and generous words, your steadfast moral support, and above all your fervent prayers.
Even at the darkest moment, I took enormous comfort in knowing that heaven was being stormed on my behalf not only by those closest to me personally, but by countless men and women of almost every tradition of faith, including many I have not personally even met.
There is no way I can claim to be worthy of such an extraordinary outpouring of love; but with all my heart I thank you for it, and I thank God for you—each and every one of you. I wish I could reach out and give you a hug.
The amazing doctors who, with God’s help, brought me through this, have now discharged me from the hospital and I am resting comfortably at home. They have assured me that I can look forward to a complete and reasonably swift recovery and return to work.
I will appreciate your continuing prayers, but please make them prayers of thanksgiving to God for his goodness to me, despite my unworthiness, and for the dedication and superlative skill of those physicians and surgeons and the nurses who assisted them.
I described myself a moment ago as “the most fortunate, most richly blessed man in the world.” How could I not? An eagle-eyed young vascular surgeon to whom I may very well owe my life made a diagnosis—of an exceedingly rare condition—that easily could have been missed. He and his colleagues then, in the face of uncertainty, made a series of decisions that turned out to be exactly the right ones.
My wonderful family threw its formidable mantle of protection around me. My closest friends, the people with whom I’ve labored in the great causes I have endeavored to serve, the students and former students I have been blessed to teach, were joined by countless people I don’t even know in offering prayers in churches and synagogues, in mosques and temples, around dinner tables and on their knees at bedtime. Men and women from all walks of life sent email messages or posted comments saying the kindest, most generous things.
I would never compare myself with the great Lou Gehrig except to say that I feel today as he felt on July 4, 1939 when he explained to the fans gathered in the old Yankee Stadium that he was “the luckiest man on the face of this earth.” And for that, dear friends, you have my deep, my undying gratitude. God bless you.
Professor Robert P. George