NEW YORK (PIX11) — Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, mourned his mother Shirley Saturday, who died at age 93 in his native Baldwin, Missouri.
“I wanted to let my spiritual family here know that earlier this morning my dear mom, Shirley Jean Radcliffe Dolan, went home to the Lord,” the Cardinal said in a letter to his Catholic parishioners in the Archdiocese of New York.
The Cardinal is the oldest of Shirley Dolan’s five children, and it was obvious to all who met her that her son’s quick wit and faith were passed on from his mom.
Ten years ago, when the announcement came from Vatican City that Archbishop Dolan would be elevated to the position of Cardinal, a prince of the church, Shirley Dolan phoned in to the PIX11 Morning News on Monday, January 9, 2012, to make sure that her oldest child wouldn’t let the title go to his head.
Weeks later, PIX11 News met Shirley Dolan, then 84, in Rome, when she flew to Italy with 50 members of the Cardinal’s extended family for the elevation ceremony.
The video below shows PIX11’s interview with Dolan from 2012:
She spoke to us with Sr. Mary Bosco, Cardinal Dolan’s third-grade teacher who always attended his promotion ceremonies.
The nun said of Shirley Dolan, “I don’t think he’d be where he is today if she hadn’t started him on all his religion and prayers. She gave me something to build on.”
At the time, we asked Mrs. Dolan about talk that her son could become the first American pope.
“We need him in the States,” Mrs. Dolan said at the time.
Sr. Mary Bosco added, “He needs to be among the people; he’d be too isolated (in the Vatican).”
A year later, Cardinal Dolan was among the delegation that elected Pope Francis the first “American” pope — an Argentine from South America.
The Cardinal and his mother shared a love for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.
“My family and I — her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and sister, Lois — thank God for the gift she was, and for her long life of ninety-three years. I’ll head home to Saint Louis… to be with my family and prepare the funeral in the parish where she and dad were raised and married,” the Cardinal said in his letter to the Archdiocese of New York.
“Upon return, I’ll offer a Memorial Mass for her at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on Saturday morning, March 19, the feast of Saint Joseph, at 10:00 a.m., and would be pleased to be able to greet many of you following that Mass. Your own prayers — of gratitude fort her life, that her trust in life eternal is now satisfied, and for consolation among her family, would be appreciated,” the Cardinal said.