Xavier Society for the Blind June 2017 Newsletter
June 2017 Newsletter
June has come and gone in a flash, but it kept us on our toes here in New York City. For one, Xavier Review (our quarterly magazine featuring our newest offerings in braille and audio) was sent out to our braille clients across the United States and worldwide. As usual, near the end of this newsletter, you will find many of these titles listed in our "Hot Off the Shelves" section!

If you are a patron of our audio library, or you used to receive our large print services, Xavier Review can be downloaded in audio from our online catalog. Please click here to access our online catalog. There are many other titles available to download as well in both braille and audio format, including our quarterly periodical compilation Catholic Review.

If you do not know your log-in details or you have general questions about downloading, please give us a call and we will gladly provide you with the information. All of us here at Xavier Society for the Blind wish you all a healthy and happy summer!
Message from the Executive Director


So much of what Xavier Society for the Blind has been able to accomplish over the past 117 years is due to the generous contribution of time and talent by many volunteers. These include our Board Members as well as many people who have assisted with many aspects of our day to day operations and special events. 

We are delighted to share the story of one of our many volunteers, Don Sheetz, who started volunteering for XSB in 2010.  Like many of our volunteers, Don graciously gives of his time and talent to ensure our audio offerings are of the highest quality.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Don and all of our volunteers, past and present, for their generous assistance and good work!  Without them, we would not be serving God and the blind since 1900!

Malachy Fallon
Executive Director
Visit to Lavelle School for the Blind
At the beginning of the month, Executive Director Malachy Fallon was joined by Director of Technology Donald Salvato, Client Services Coordinator Christine Moore, and Coordinator of Communications and Fundraising Aisling Redican on a trip to Lavelle School for the Blind. Located in the Bronx, the Lavelle School is an "organization (that) integrates students who are blind and have multiple disabilities, staff and parents in a challenging yet nurturing environment...All students are prepared for lives as respected adults. Lavelle School develops all students to their fullest potential, and provides support and resources to the students and their parents." 
   Caption: Christine Moore, Executive Director Malachy Fallon & Donald Salvato outside of Lavelle School for the Blind 
Lavelle School shares roots with Xavier Society as two of its founders, Rev. Joseph Stadelman and Margaret Coffey, also established Xavier Society for the Blind. The Executive Director, Lorrie Nanry, graciously gave us what she described as the "Cardinal's Tour," as Cardinal Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York had recently paid a visit to the school. We would like to thank Ms. Nanry for her hospitality and the informative tour, and to the rest of the staff of Lavelle School for the Blind for their incredible work with the blind and visually impaired. We look forward to a continued partnership!
Caption: Ms. Lorrie Nanry, Executive Director of Lavelle School for the Blind, gave us the "Cardinal's Tour"  
Rev. Bill Kreutz, S.J. Stops By
Rev. Bill Kreutz, S.J. stopped by our offices in the middle of the month for a chat with Malachy and the rest of the staff. Fr. Kreutz, S.J. is based in the Philippines and also happens to be a patron of our services. We would like to wish Fr. Kreutz a safe trip back to the Philippines, and thank him for his support over the years! 

                      Caption: Fr. Bill Kreutz, S.J.
Update from Father John
Our former Executive Director Father John Sheehan, S.J. has been keeping busy since his big move to Jordan in February! We know many of our readers are curious as to how he is doing so here is an update from the man himself:  
Caption:  Fr. John at Mt. Nebo in Jordan

I arrived in Amman on February 10, after a flight that lasted just over 12 hours. I left in the middle of a blizzard and arrived to a balmy 55 degrees. I was warmly welcomed to the community – there are two other Jesuits and a priest from the Philippines who is trying to start a chaplaincy – and a large part of the building houses a number of programs we run for refugees from a number of neighboring countries. We have large and beautiful gardens, and in addition to flowers we raise a number of herbs, olives (we make our own olive oil and hummus and peanut butter) and a number of vegetables. About two-thirds of our electricity comes from the solar panels on the roof, and we are VERY careful about using water – we only receive water once a week, so we fill the roof tanks and watch our use.


I am Pastor of the English Language Parish in Amman. We have a chapel in the Jesuit Center (the Francis Xavier Chapel, the saint seems to pursue me) and in addition to the six weekly Masses there, we say Mass each week in five other locations. I have to coordinate, supervise and often celebrate at each of those sites. I was assigned by the Jesuit Provincial, appointed officially by the Patriarch’s Office in Jerusalem and on May 13th I was officially installed as Pastor by the local Bishop. I have been told that if all the members of the different congregations were added up, this would be the biggest parish in Amman. We’ve had First Reconciliation, First Communion and on Pentecost we also celebrated a renewal of marriage vows. Of course Holy Week was impressive, and the Apostolic Nuncio (the Vatican Ambassador, an Archbishop) came and celebrated the Easter Vigil with me.


Amman is a lovely city, and with my GPS turned on, I can explore anywhere. I have Arabic classes twice a week (and I learned there is Arabic braille, something I find hard to imagine), and I have explored Machaerus (where John the Baptist was beheaded) and Gadara (where Jesus drove out the demons into the pigs), I performed a Baptism at the River Jordan (and most scholars today agree that John baptized on the Jordanian rather than the Israeli side). I’ve been to Madaba and Mt. Nebo and eaten camel and have gotten to meet ambassadors from five countries, although not the American Ambassador yet. I received a welcome present from one of the royal Princesses but have not yet met the King. And wonder of wonders, I have so far intentionally lost 17 pounds and am hoping to lose a couple more before I return to the States in June for a month. I have to finish disposing of too many “things,” and I will celebrate the 25th anniversary of my ordination while I am there.


The clients and staff and supporters of the Xavier Society for the Blind are in my prayers every day, and I am pleased that my schedule allows me to continue being able to celebrate Mass at the request of the XSB. Mal and the staff are doing great work, and I am delighted that this wonderful agency is in such outstanding hands.

PS - My website (www.basorundei.com) has more reports, adventures and even pictures. 

Caption:  Father John in one of the six places where he and the other priests say Mass.
Volunteer Profile: Don Sheetz
Caption: Our volunteer reader Don, lectoring at a past St. Lucy's Mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral
This month we are pleased to profile a volunteer who has done a lot for our organization. Many of our patrons who receive our audiobooks often compliment his reading style and distinct voice. Don started volunteering for XSB in 2010, and he has been an invaluable asset to our organization ever since. He is married to his wife of 49 years, Julie, and they have two adult sons. Here is a little more about Don:

I had been in the maritime industry for the majority of my career, having graduated from the US Merchant Marine Academy. My career took a slight detour for about 6 years into the oil industry working in Chevron’s supply and distribution department, then into international crude and petroleum product trading with Chevron in London and then New York.

Another slight detour, but still in the oil business, when for about 5 years I brokered crude oil and then petroleum products. To be honest, I absolutely hated that job. It was at this time when I found my “recording” voice, working as a volunteer with CRIS – the Connecticut Radio Information Service, reading the newspaper for the blind and then with Literacy Volunteers recording a book for the blind. 

Then came my final career move in 1991 when I joined Vanuatu Maritime Services as the Vice President -- Safety, rising to Executive Vice President of the company, and contemporaneously Deputy Commissioner of Maritime Affairs, Republic of Vanuatu, a small country in the South Pacific, on which the play and movie South Pacific was based. Vanuatu Maritime Services ran the country’s ship registry and I was responsible for the daily operations of the company and registry from New York.

After I retired, when I first joined XSB, I would commute down to 23rd Street once a week. In the years since I have volunteered over 1200 hours recording magazines, books, and other material. When XSB moved and I moved to Florida I continued recording from home. For a number of years now the Jesuit magazine America has been one of the regular weekly, and now, bi-weekly, recording work I have been involved with.

In addition to XSB, I have continued to work as a volunteer with Learning Ally, another blind reading service, where we concentrate on textbooks and occasional novels. But I have also narrated on-line courses for the National Cargo Bureau and Seamen’s Church Institute, and 2 videos, one for Handy Dandy Handyman, a non-profit organization helping people in need in western Connecticut, and one for Holy Family Passionist Retreat House in West Hartford, CT.

For the last 6 years I have also been involved tutoring/mentoring children in second and third grade, mainly with reading and comprehension. When still living in Connecticut I worked at one school in Bridgeport and one in Stamford. Here in Florida I spend 2 half days each week at Hope Rural School, a Catholic elementary school mainly for the children of migrant workers and immigrants in Martin Country, due east of Lake Okeechobee.

We would like to thank Don for his years of service and the countless hours he has dedicated to our patrons and our organization!

Hot Off the Shelves!
For patrons interested in some of our most recent titles, we have braille and audio materials to meet your every need!


SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: For our braille clients interested please note that we have The Vatican II Documents. It is 16 documents in 14 volumes (the volumes are quite thin) and they are the official documents of the Vatican II Council which addressed relations between the Catholic Church and the modern world in the 1960s. We have a limited quantity left so please get in touch to reserve your copy today!

- The Ear of the Heart: An Actress' Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vows by Mother Dolores Hart (B1564, 6 volumes): Fifty years after a successful Hollywood career as Dolores Hart, Mother Dolores gives this fascinating account of her life, with co-author and life-long friend, Richard DeNeut.

- Fatima in Lucia's Own Words: Sister Lucia's Memoris  Edited by Fr. Louis Kondor, S.V.D. (B1565, 4 volumes): The memoirs of Sr. Lucia, the longest surviving of the three children of Fatima, translated by the Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary.

-  Around the Table: Retelling the Story of the Eucharist through the Eyes of Jesus' First Followers by Our Sunday Visitor (B1566, 2 volumes): Endeavors to help the reader come to a richer understanding and deeper gratitude for this tremendous gift by which we are healed, strengthened, renewed, and challenged to become the loving persons God has created him or her to be.

- Univeral Letters: James, 1 and 3 Peter, 1,2, and 3 John, Jude by  William A. Anderson, PhD. (B1567, 6 volumes): Probes several New Testament letters that were addressed to the "Catholic," or universal, Church. General in nature, these letters welcomed and addressed all Christians.

- Anna's Talking Hands: An Exciting Story about Deaf Friends by Sr. Marie Godreau (B1568, 1 volume): A book written for children about the adventures of a deaf girl who wants to join a circus.

- How Can I Understand the Bible? by Bill Bright (B1570, 4 volumes): Written by the founder of the Campus Crusade for Christ, this is a resource to help unlock the rich resources of the Bible.

- The Jesuits: A History From Ignatius to the Present by John W. O'Malley, S.J. (B1571, 2 volumes): An accessible introduction for anyone interested in world or church history. Provides a timeline, a list of significant figures, photos of important figures and locations, recommendations for additional reading, and more.

- The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere by Pico Iyer (D1153): The Art of Stillness considers the unexpected adventure of staying put and reveals a counter-intuitive truth: The more ways we have to connect, the more we seem desperate to unplug.

- Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Rev. Richard Rohr (D1154):  Seeks to help readers understand the tasks of the two halves of life and to show them that those who have fallen, failed, or "gone down" are the only ones who understand "up."

- Connected Toward Communion: The Church and Social Communication in the Digital Age by Daniella Zsupan-Jerome (D1155): Traces the Roman Catholic Church's contemporary thought and practice of social communication, to the church's approach to communicating faith through social networking today.

- Seeing Home: The Ed Lucas Story  by Ed Lucas (D1156): The incredible true tale of a beloved Emmy-winning blind broadcaster who refused to let his disability prevent him from overcoming many challenging obstacles and achieving his dreams.

Books for Every Season
Next month heralds the Feast Days of Saint Thomas and Saint James, Apostles, as well as the Memorials of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha and Saint Ignatius of Loyola. It is also the month where we celebrate America's Independence. Here are some books for these occasions!

- Kateri Tekakwitha by F.X. Weiser, S.J. (B1243, 2 volumes): Biography of Kateri Tekakwith, the Native American Saint, the Lily of the Mohawks, the Iroquois maiden.

- Ecclesia in America: The Church In America  by Pope John Paul II (B7450, 1 volume): Pamphlet for the anniversary of the appearance of Our Lady at Fatima, giving some history and prayers.

-Kateri Tekakwitha: The Mohawk Maid by Evelyn M. Brown (B1299, 1 volume): Life of the saintly North American Indian.

- Saint Ignatius and the Company of Jesus by August Derleth (B1187, 2 volumes):  Biography of Saint Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits, the Society of Jesus.

- The Spiritual Exercises: A Heart-Centered Approach by Fr. James Kubicki, S.J. (D1096): This innovative Ignatian retreat that uses a unique heart-centered approach to help you apply the Spiritual Exercises to your daily life.

-The Twelve: The Lives of the Apostles after Calvary by Bernard C. Ruffin (D0460): The author weaves together Scripture, Tradition, and historical documents to re-create and outline the lives of each of Christ's closest followers.

- By Post to the Apostles  by Helen Walker Homan (D0057):  With a slight tongue-in-cheek style, the author writes letters to the Apostles to reveal their human side.

- Saint Kateri: the Lily at the Foot of the Cross by Ellen H. Wallworth (D1032): The first Native American saint, St Kateri Tekakwitha was noted for her brave confession of the Catholic faith in the face of persecution, her fervent prayers and intense penances.

- The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola by Brian O. McDermott, S.J. (D9186): Translation of the Ignatian 30-day retreat.
Please consider sending a gift today to help our ministry grow in 2017 and beyond!
In order to expand our ministry's reach and donor base, our organization embarked on an acquisition appeal in order to help offset the cost of our embossing of braille books and production of our audio materials. Our summer appeal has also been mailed out in order to help reach our budgetary goals. Some of our braille books can often cost upwards of $500, taking up to 6 months to produce. Yet on a weekly basis, Xavier Society for the Blind ships reading materials to people all over the United States. Please help us continue this important ministry by sending your gift today. 
Dear Friend,
I want to introduce you to a wise, spunky little girl named Mara, a confident fifth-grader at a Catholic school who also happens to be a pro at making videos. With a deep love for Jesus, she wanted to be part of her warm, loving church community in a special way - she wanted to be an altar server.

The problem is, altar serving can be tricky for many kids! There are so many words to remember, so many deliberate movements at very specific times. And Mara had another layer of difficulty in her quest to be an altar server - Mara has a visual impairment. 

She cannot read the small print found in most instruction manuals.  When even kids with full sight can find altar serving a daunting task, imagine how much more difficult it would be if you have a visual impairment! 

This is where Xavier Society for the Blind stepped in. Armed with materials - such as the  Guideline for Altar Servers  and  Propers of the Sunday Mass -  transcribed in braille from Xavier Society, Mara was able to study the intricate details of altar serving. In fact, she even got to serve a school Mass for her pastor, Fr. Jerry, with two of her best friends! And in her Catholic school, instead of being in a separate classroom, braille helps Mara stay in step with her peers. 

Mara starred in her own self-made video to our donors, which you can view below. "I'm grateful to Xavier Society for the Blind. I'm a great server now," she says in her video, adding with an impish grin, "not to brag!"

Mara served her first Mass with confidence for a newly ordained priest, Fr. Agustin, at her parish. "It was such an awesome experience, not only for her, but for many who were there to witness it," said Mara's mom. "We had so many people come up to us after mass commenting on how fantastic it was to see her up there on the altar just like any other fifth-grader."

Stories like Mara's have inspired friends of Xavier Society since its foundation in 1900 by Fr. Joseph Stadelman, S.J., and a devoted group of women. Praise God, our work is still going strong 117 years later! Clients of all ages, thanks to support from people like you, can fully participate in the Christian life through FREE materials that include (but are not limited to): Bibles, worship materials, story books, inspirational calendars, Church documents, newsletters and magazines. We even offer audio downloads from our website, and interlibrary loan services! Impressively, the success of our work is due to the sole support of our loyal and generous donors, since Xavier Society does not receive any federal, state, or city funding. 

However, our current level of funding lets us reach only a small percentage of those who are eligible for our services. The gap between what we need to do and what we are able to do is very wide. It is a gap that your gift will help us close!

Our ability to share the Faith rests on people like you who want to help brighten the world for a person who cannot see with their eyes. Since our services are free-of-charge, any donation, big or small, directly impacts their lives. Your gift will help another child like Mara grow in her Faith.

We humbly ask you on behalf of people like Mara for your financial support. Your gift of any amount will provide materials for the blind and visually impaired, which helps bring Jesus to life in a very tangible way.

Thank you and may God Bless you,
  Malachy Fallon
Executive Director 
Other Ways You Can Help!

If you wish to donate, but prefer to do it over the phone y ou can always call our office at (212) 473-7800  or (800) 637-9193 .

Masses may be said at your request not only when someone dies but also to celebrate a special event. And the stipend for the Mass card helps support the work of the Xavier Society for the Blind. If you are a client or would like to send one to someone who reads braille, we can also do a braille overlay on the Mass card. Call us at (212) 473-7800 or email us at info@xaviersocietyfortheblind.org for more information.

If you use Amazon.com for any of your purchases, help out Xavier Society for the Blind at the same time. Go to www.smile.amazon.com and sign up. Or use the direct link http://smile.amazon.com/ch/13-5563026

There is no charge to you, and when they ask you what charity you wish to support, type in Xavier Society for the Blind. Any time after that, if you go to Amazon through the smile entry, a percentage of whatever you spend comes to us.

Follow Us!

To keep up to date on all that is new and going on with Xavier Society for the Blind, please follow us on Twitter  @XavierSociety  and like our Facebook page  by clicking here  or searching for Xavier Society for the Blind. Help us to spread the word about our mission!
Calendar of Upcoming Events
July 3, 2017  - Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle - XSB Offices closed

July 4, 2017  - Independence Day (U.S.A) - XSB Offices closed

July 11, 2017- Memorial of Saint Benedict, Abbot

July 14, 2017  - Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin

July 22, 2017  - Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene

July 25, 2017  - Feast of Saint James, Apostle

July 26, 2017  - Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

July 29, 2017  - Memorial of Saint Martha

July 31, 2017  - Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Priest
Xavier Society for the Blind
2 Penn Plaza Suite 1102 
New York, NY 10121
(212) 473-7800 // (800) 637-9193