Thursday, August 1, 2013

Doing His Duty

"Knowing that he is the Son of God and will one day 
have to give his life up for the World."
      The Christmas deed that made me the happiest was, I think, the following: About sixteen years ago I took into my care a poor little crippled boy. He was only one among the many whom I have tried to shield and shelter when there seemed no other place in the world for them, but I always felt for him an especial affection and pity because of the physical affliction which made it impossible for him ever to mingle with the world upon an equal footing.
      He was always a good boy, willing to help with the children smaller than himself, and do what he could to make life in the Sheltering Arms better and brighter. I grew to love him very dearly, and many a night I spent hours thinking and planning about his future, for I could not give him the education I longed to, and when it came to supporting himself by manual labor I felt that he would have a very poor chance with others who were stronger and better able to make their way in the world.      
      One day, however, a new building was begun on Market street, and as I watched it growing nearer completion, a thought occurred to me. Shortly before Christmas I went to the owner's office and sent in my name. Five minutes afterward I was admitted to the presence of one of the wealthiest men in our State, and he received me as courteously and kindly as if I had been a princess of the blood.
      I told him the simple little story of the poor, deserted, crippled little boy whom I had adopted, and asked him if he would not give him a chance to earn his living in that fine new building. I knew he would be faithful and trustworthy, and the millionaire believed me when I said so.
      "he shall have the place," he said decidedly, "on Christmas day," and I thanked him from my heart.
      As soon as the Emma Spreckels building was completed my boy went there to work. His salary is generous and he is treated well by every one. Each month he is enabled to lay aside a part of his earnings for less fortunate days which may come, and he is earning his own way and doing his duty. I shall always feel that in giving my boy a the place that has proved so beneficial to him Claus Spreckels did one of the best Christmas deeds I ever heard of. * Sister Julia, Sheltering Arms, 1898
Joseph's Lullaby by Willy Dolan.

* Sister Julia, Sheltering Arms, 1898 - Sister Julia was one of many nuns working in the Sheltering Arms a charity for those children placed on orphan trains beginning as far away as New York City. Her charitable institution is referenced in "The Orphan Trains: Placing Out in America" by Marilyn Irvin Holt. The Sheltering Arms was the end of the line for many; it was located in San Francisco.

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