Part of the ‘Special Collection’ is exhibited here. (Our ancestral home!)
The treasures are slowly finding their way to the ‘Collection’ as the word spreads.
Many of these treasures were recently gathered with the permission of one of the family owners of the SMG Catholic School Corporation just prior to the elementary school being razed during this the summer of 2008! …the march and tradition in the values, spirit and faith of our ancestors continue…an updated composite of ‘Remembrances’ #39!!
In the Post-Conciliar church, Mom and Dad were two of the first Eucharistic Ministers commissioned in Our Lady of the Lake church parish in Lake Arthur, LA. Constance Victoria and Victor Wayne followed soon afterwards and were commissioned as Eucharistic Ministers and Cantor as charter members of Our Lady Queen of Heaven’s (OLQH) Family Choir along with their children in Lake Charles, LA.
Post-military retirement in 1988 Héctor Rafael, myself and Antoine Adolfo became members of the OLQH Family Choir. In 1983 while residing in Springfield, VA (and as members of St. Bernadette parish (!), I began facilitating in my home/s a Silent Retreat Day teaching the ‘Dailiness of Prayer’, ‘Ordering the Home’ and ‘Time Management with a Christian Perspective’; the first weekend of January 2001 after the death of our last parent, I requested of my siblings that I move this ‘Silent Retreat Day’ to our ancestral home of origin, as this is the genesis home and, permission was granted! To date, a total of 621 men, women and young adults have attended this special day, 210 persons on Arthur Avenue! While stationed in Washington, D.C., my pastor of St. Dominic (!) parish, invited me to attend Trinity College 1985-1988 and take advantage of an innovative curriculum of study called “Education for Parish Service” designed to enable men, women and young adults to contribute more effectively to the work of evangelization by providing opportunities for spiritual development, high level instruction in theology, scripture, Church history and methodology for evangelization. Classes commenced three weeks after Dad died! During those years I was humbled to be commissioned as Lector, Eucharistic Minister, Cantor, Wake Service and Communion Service Facilitator in the chapel of the Chancery, Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.
Dominique Joseph www.lakearthurbutane.com and Tina Louise were commissioned as Eucharistic Ministers at Our Lady of the Lake church parish in Lake Arthur, LA where it all began! Dominique Joseph also serves as a parish usher (Minister of Hospitality!) and is a member of Our Lady Immaculate School Board in Jennings, LA doing this the tenure of all three children! They have purchased a second home in Lake Charles, LA in order that their three children can attend St. Louis Catholic High School and for them to be together on the weekends as our parents before us!
Since April 24, 2001 I joyfully serve as a Minister of Holy Communion every Thursday and many Sundays at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital as well as hold membership in the Catholic Daughters and Altar Society in OLQH parish and on July 19, 1998, along with Constance Victoria and Ione Marie, joined the Altar Society as lifetime members of St. Leo 1V Catholic Church, Roberts Cove, LA during their Ladies Altar Society Centennial Celebration Mass with Mom in attendance. My medal along with hers and her mothers rest on the Hensgens Wall on Arthur Avenue; her mother was a member of the Altar Society, a Catholic Daughter and charter member and Director of the church choir! In December 2000, I received from the hand of Most Rev. Bishop Jude Speyrer, the Knights of St. Gregory the Great Diocese of Lake Charles Chapter ‘The Distinction of Monsignor DeBlanc Fellow Award’ in “recognition of outstanding contributions to church and neighbor without material recompense and whose life and work bring honor to the international community of mankind.”
Daddy, Lee Joseph, Jr. www.monlezunmd.com Héctor Rafael, Dominique Joseph and my nephew, Kade Joel, are members of the wonderful Knights of Columbus! Kade Joel is also a member of the School Board for Carencro Catholic Elementary School! Lee Joseph, Jr. was President of the Newman Club (Young Adult Catholic Organization) while in college! Robert Joseph, Jr. attended a Cursillo and is a member of the School Board for Tuerlings Catholic High School in Lafayette, LA! My six brothers were altar boys and in this next generation- Whitney Pierre, lll, Branton Heath, Sye Joseph, Antoine Adolfo, Joseph Wayne as well as Dominique Joseph, Jr., Christian Joseph and the 18th of 18 grandchildren, Suzanne Louise are commissioned altar servers! Also in this next generation, John David, Christ the King Parish in Lake Charles, LA, Katherine Anne while in college in Baton Rouge and presently and Antoine Adolfo, Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish while in college in Monroe, LA are commissioned Eucharistic Ministers. Antoine sponsored and shepherded at Sunday Mass two friends who converted to Roman Catholicism through his church parishes’ Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.) during his junior and senior year of college!
Nique is the founder and outgoing president of Tulane Students for Life Tulane’s University campus, New Orleans, LA. (As of May 2009 he is the Louisiana Students for Life Executive President and works on national policy and legislation in Washington, D.C. with the Students for Life of America’s national office!) Katherine Anne and husband David Charles Dawson, Jr., on faculty at St. John Catholic High School, have recently begun hosting “Catholic Relationships” a one hour weekly Catholic Radio Talk Show in Plaquemine, LA!’ www.catholiccommunityradio.com. Antoine sings baritone in the Sacred Heart Cathedral Choir, downtown Raleigh, N.C. and is readying to sing with the chorus for ‘Handels’ Messiah’ on the campus of Duke University December 2009! Madison Claire was an active member of the ‘Pro-Life’ Organization at St. Louis Catholic High School prior to graduation May 2009!
I am Anchor of the Diocese of Lake Charles, LA Catholic television segment, “Lead, Kindly Light!” www.leadkindlight.net/Lead Kindly Light Diocesan Television Segment which commenced in 1990 during the tenure of Bishop Jude Speyrer, my high school religion teacher! And, in November 2007 was commissioned as a Benedictine Oblate/Rule of Benedict, Obl/RB, Holy Angels Convent, Jonesboro, AR with the Goretti Olivetan Benedictines Sisters!!!”
(3 May 2009, I was commissioned as an Associate with the Congregation of Divine Providence, San Antonio, TX 50 years after I entered their Aspirancy program to become a religious! My Prayer Partner is Sr. Mildred Leonards, CDP residing in Lafayette, LA…our grandfathers are brothers!!!))
…and this is just what I am aware of and remember for this compilation! I trust there is much silent, prayerful and faithful ministry being faithfully administered known only to the servant and tucked in the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts!! This march of servanthood witness continues all the way to and beyond eternal life…O, the power of wholistic healthy witness!
Our German Ancestors Have Prayed Us Forward Since 1694 and those seeds
of faithful study and gratefulness take root! Boy, do they take root!! By His Grace!
Anna ‘Bernadette’ Monlezun-Pontón, fourth child, eldest daughter of ten children!
July 31, 2008 the twenty-third anniversary of Dad’s death. Received 4 August 2008 “…Thanks for all the information in this email! It's amazing how much the Catholic Church has grown because of your parents and their sacrifices. Thanks for taking the time to document all that…I was shocked to learn that Goretti (elementary) school was razed in the summer of 2008, but not surprised. The last time I saw it, it was in pretty bad shape, but I guess I just hoped that somehow it could survive and be used for some other good purpose. That's really the end of an era! But, life is full of letting go of the past and this is just one more example of that. The good work that went on there will live on in the next generations.” Sister Eileen Schneider, OSB ~ My OBL/OSB Prayer Partner assigned November 2007!!! Indeed, Sister! Indeed!
80. 1 April 2009
Dear, dear Mr. Bercier,
Your dear wife, Ms. Sarah, was in my ancestral home of origin yesterday with her friends from the Crowley Rosary Group for an ‘Arthur Avenue Heritage Tour’! It was one of the highlights of my year!
While on the Heritage Tour and in the ‘Back Room’ where the photographs of the ten children of Lee Joseph and Anna Gertrude Hensgens-Monlezun hang, she shared the tender story. You worked for Cooper Tires and were making a sales call with my father in his office at The Sportsman Center in Lake Arthur, LA. She told of you driving upon the unfolding tragic scene of the drowning of my brother and sister Alvin Joseph, age 10 and Veronica Gertrude, age 6 which was behind the office at the new canal dock that had just been dredged; 14 feet of water. It was for the shrimp boats to dock and be serviced. It had just been named ‘Monlezun’s Landing’ for my father who had the fuel and butane business in the area. This was Tuesday 27 May 1965. You entered the water to try to find them. That was 44 years ago; I was 17 years of age now 61 sharing our home of origin with all that find their way there and your wife is now one of them telling your story all these years later!
I thank you from the bottom of my grateful heart for your attempt to find and save them. Ms. Sarah said that you arrived home in your wet clothes; I can understand your grief, tremendous pain and shock. I am so grateful that you were there whatever the Good God’s reason. I believe that the day you arrive in heaven, Alvin and Veronica will be among the grateful greeters embracing and thanking you that you were among God’s own unfathomable design to be there, in that place, at that time and, in an instant you will understand. We all will. It is indeed a mystery but I count you among one of the major blessings of that dark day. Thank you for all you do for others…all will be well…and I bless you today.
You are now part of our story printed in this book “God’s Gifts! A Collection of Short Stories from the Heart of Cajun Country” sent as gift to you and Ms. Sarah in this glorious season of Easter 2009! …His unfathomable timing and design but, O, the comfort of our faith which is secure in Him.
In profound gratitude, dear Sir!
Lead, Kindly Light!
Anna ‘Bernadette’ Monlezun-Pontón,
Eldest daughter, fourth child of ten/six boys and four girls.
81. To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Choir Memories
Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2009
My sister, Bernadette Monlezun-Ponton, sent me an email that you need a few stories about being in choirs.
My mother and father, Lee and Gertrude Hensgens Monlezun, sang in choirs all of their lives. My brothers and sisters followed suit and joined various choirs and singing groups. Each of us sang in the Lake Charles Messiah Chorus when we were Seniors in High School. It was nice to be the only one in the car with Mom and Dad on Monday nights of rehearsals, since there were 10 children and we didn't get many chances to get the back seat all to ourselves! Many of us still sing in choirs, chorales, and shows, including the Messiah. (Thank You Dr. Bulber!)
In 1967, my Junior Year at Goretti Catholic High School in Lake Arthur, I was in the "Glee Club". Our director was the pastor of our church, Our Lady of the Lake, and also taught us Religion. We sang for various functions and had a wonderful time. He had a great voice, and a good ear for harmony. Our director taught us songs with religious themes, but one we loved to do that was different and "struck a chord" with all of us was "Michelle My Belle" by the Beatles! Our director is known in this community as the first Bishop of the Diocese of Lake Charles, Bishop Jude Speyrer! He is now retired and living in Carencro. And so, "I will say the only words I know that you'll understand"...Thank you Bishop Speyrer for blending sacred and secular in perfect harmony.
Constance Monlezun Darbonne
Dominique MONLEZUN (18 Apr 1845-29-Jun 1928)
Married 10 Mar 1873
Louisa Thomasine PETERSON (06 Mar 1855- Abt. 1884)
Dominique was 27 almost 28 when he married. Louisa was just 18 when she married.
She died between age 28-29 years old. Dominique died at age 83. They were married about 11 years.
He lived as a widower for 44 years.
Louisa gave birth to 5 children (1 daughter followed by 4 boys)
1) Anna ‘Josephine’ MONLEZUN-Murray lived to be 76 years old…was 10 when her mother died
2) Joachim Ezador MONLEZUN lived to be 84 years old.
3) Paul ‘Emile’ MONLEZUN lived to be 87 years old.
4) Theodore Joseph MONLEZUN lived to be 86 years old.
5) Antoine MONLEZUN lived to be 88 almost 89 years old…was between 2 and 3 when his mother died.
May 15, 2009 photograph
Gravesite of Louisa Thomasine Peterson-Monlezun (06 Mar 1855- Abt. 1884) Cypress Point, Louisiana
83. …this is a bit of a timing story and how ‘the work of heritage’ comes about…piece by piece and story by story!!
Today's Date: 7 July 2009
TO: Lee Joseph, Jr., Eldest Brother (LJM)
FROM: Anna Bernadette, Eldest Sister (ABMP)
RE:LJM on Arthur Avenue reminiscing on a Friday evening 3 July 2009 (after a three hour nap)!! … quick notations [plus] by ABMP who hadn't napped! He was there to water his fruit trees which are suffering from a drought of sorts.
Mr. Valdetere built Arthur Avenue in 1904. Porches always painted navy green or blue which deterred dirt dobber’s from constructing nests!
Grandparents on both sides prayer books were in French or German; Mass in Latin. Post-Vatican 11 Mass in the vernacular; kept praying in their mother tongue!
Arlington Drive purchased in 1955-56; renters were Benny and Carol LeCompte. LJM was in the dorm for two years then moved into the Lake Charles home. [That is when Daddy and Mom would gather up the children at 5:00 pm sharp every Friday afternoon and head for Arlington Drive. They wanted their family together on the weekends. Mom would cart us to Krogers and fill 3 baskets of vittles for both homes!!]
Back Room built by Grandpa Antoine Monlezun in about 1945 and held the three cots for the first three boys with Lee J.’s cot by the toy box wall. He lined up his toys under them [I would imagine just like his instruments for surgery, all in a row and perfect! Wonderful thought of his beginning of ordering! I resemble that remark!]
My baby bed was where Grandma Hensgens’s desk is now [and from where I set my laptop every Friday!] Lee J. remembers my infant hands which he would hold. They are the first baby’s hands that he remembers. [He has delivered thousands of babies since but the first hands of memory was in the Back Room!!]
Lafayette home on Cedar Crest …1943-5 with L/RJM; Daddy worked for the IRS…
August 15, 1945 he opened The Lee J. Monlezun, Interests, Inc. with the Magnolia Bulk Plant and Fuel business. Great-grandfather Antoine Broussard owned a corn field south of his home on the corner to the gully. That is the location where Daddy started his ‘Interests’. He sold the family car in order to purchase a jeep with a tank on the back to start the first business of delivering kerosene in 5 gallon cans.
In the 1955’s the state began paving Arthur Avenue into the wonderful boulevard of today. Prior to this gift Lee J. would have to literally water down the road of its dust which wafted into the home on a daily basis all the day long especially when a big truck would pass; Mom would run and shut the front door!
Great-grandmother Aspazie Miller-Broussard told her eldest daughter Victoria at fifty years of age to eat a yam a day to rid herself of hot flashes! It worked!!
1949-50 the three boys moved upstairs into the White Porch Room which had been Dad and Mom’s when they first married. [They lived upstairs and rented downstairs for $15.00 a month! And, she shared ‘the Box’ (refrigerator) with the renter climbing those stairs many times a day!] Lee J. was seven for he remembers identifying with the 7-Up sign!
1950’s Girl’s Room and the pantry were finished.
In 1957 after 12 years in business the Kitchen and Front Porch were finished!
Daddy purchased his first brand new truck in 1960 [the year his tenth child was born! This ‘child’ as an adult had the bright red truck reconstructed bolt by bolt and it is presently utilized for the families Christmas caroling and by others for home town parades!
LJM 1957 left for Immaculata Seminary in Lafayette, LA age 14.
In 1961, 35-40 rice trucks and Our Lady of the Lake church parish parishioners facilitated by Rev. Harry Pelous tanked up at Daddy’s service station and headed for Welsh, LA where a school was taken down brick by brick; the lumber was trucked to the barn of Mr. Hortense Miller for dry storage.
St. Maria Goretti Catholic School was opened with only three grades in 1956; [I was in the third grade, Constance Victoria was in the first!] Father Pelous gathered around him a grand group of men of French and German heritage such as Daddy, Uncle Herman Berken, Uncles Cony and Anton Hensgens and Uncle Paul Gaithe in order to plan and then execute those plans in a responsible way financially, strategically and practically.
Grandpa Antoine Monlezun built the steeple on the wooden parish church and hand carried the bell to the top for hanging and tolling! He was a big man with a bearing of 6`2`` in stature. [He was also a boxer!]
Once upon a time Lee J. when very young and while at the office heard Great-grandpa Antoine Broussard calling unceasingly for “As-pa-zie! As-pa-zie!” He told Daddy who knew this was out of the ordinary and they walked across the street. Grandpa had propped a ladder on the outside of the cistern and one on the inside as was done during a particularly long dry spell for he was cleaning the cistern. The outside ladder fell and he was stuck inside calling for help!! [Poor thing!!]
At age 7 Lee. J. was given permission to hold Roberts’ hand and that they could walk to Grandpa and Grandma Monlezun’s by going in front of Adam’s Store around the corner and heading west for the very, very far 2 and one half block journey! The grandparents had walked down the ally behind their Iowa Street home and stood as sentries for the two grandsons [who were walking every so joyously toward them!! What a wonderful image of going to the home of the ‘Grands’ as big boys! It must be for it is a cherished memory all the years later for they were waiting for just them!]
84. September 2009…we were requested to bring a story to the birthday party… In Celebration of the Fortieth Birthday of My Twin Nephews Lee Joseph lll and Lawrence Joseph In my vivid memory reside these two wonderful remembrances…
First~ I received a phone call of marching orders from my father/PawPaw to ~ ”gather up Mr. and Mrs. Martin in Lake Charles come through Lake Arthur and pick us up; we’re heading for New Orleans. TWINS have arrived and we’re going to see them!” It was a wonderful trip hearing the entire way as the two GRAND-parents spoke of their ‘children’, your arrival and all the excitement that generated! THE GRANDS resembled teenagers on their way to the prom chatting and thoroughly enjoying themselves the entire trip to and fro! The ‘fro’ trip was even livelier!!
Upon arriving at the hospital and following each other through the maze to the pediatric ward and then THE VIEWING, and there you were brought forth with much fanfare! I stood to the side and watched these grown folk point uttering unintelligible sounds, smiles, giggles, wanting everyone up and down the hall to see you, weeping with joy and…the faces they made to get your attention as you squirmed in the blanket all snug and warm… so small, such potential in two little bundles of joy! And in that moment, upon seeing, their generations were born of two. Our joy was unbounded!
Second ~ Your Baptism Day at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Lake Charles, LA ~ All were gathered for this most solemn of Rites and after Mass we, en masse, proceeded to the altar. After the beautiful ceremony and congratulatory remarks being offered by all present your maternal grandfather Mr. Martin very quietly gathered you up, gently but with purpose tucked you in each arm and proceeded to stand in front of the statue of St. Joseph. There he stood alone for a long while in front of your Patron Saint whispering prayer, looking down at each of you from time to time and back up to the face of St. Joseph. My mother/MawMaw and I solemnly watched with respect from afar as she smiled as if knowing the prayers unfolding. Could-it-be your grandfather knew that he would not live to see you grow to manhood? His prayers are with you to this day for they are eternal.
He knew how to offer, he knew how to pray ~ could-it-be his oblation was for you to be protected by the earthly father of Jesus and all that a grandfather can know; supplication to grow to manhood in the footsteps and reverence of those who have gone before; taking your generational place in the faith of our Fathers which joins the family to those who have prayed us forward since 1694!
Now your father is a grandfather and he continues to offer his prayers for you and yours in reverence of those who have gone before. He too knows how to offer up.
Lead, Kindly Light!
Aunt Anna ‘Bernadette’ Monlezun-Pontón
Your Father’s Eldest Sister Who with Familial Love Offers Beaucoup Remembrances!
Print copies for:
Lee Joseph Monlezun Jr., M.D., Lee Joseph Monlezun lll and Lawrence Joseph Monlezun
Gift ~ ‘Hensgens/Reiners Paternal Lineage’ for:
Lee Joseph Monlezun lll and Lawrence Joseph Monlezun