Xavier Society for the Blind
Vol. 10   No. 4
  April   2016

What's New at XSB
Often when a loved one dies, friends and family want to remember them in a more meaningful way than flowers. For those who would like to give a gift to the Xavier Society for the Blind in memory of a loved one, that can now be done online with a credit card payment. 

If you go to the Contributions page, click on "DONATE" and after you indicate the amount at the top of the page, there is a box that follows "To the following." If you click on that box, there is a line for "Memorials" and the space to write a name. 

Of course, you may always contact us directly by phone or email, or write a letter and enclose your gift and who you want to remember. And as always, thank you for your generosity. 
*    *    *    *    

The Xavier Society for the Blind is a registered library in the National Library System (NLS) of the Library of Congress. That means that XSB clients can borrow books and recordings from NLS through XSB, and those who are NLS members may borrow from the XSB collection as well. NLS has many thousands of items in braille, large-print and audio, however it is a library and all items must be returned.

In the recent edition of Talking Book Topics from the NLS, three items caught our eye as recordings our clients might be interested in:

THE GREAT REFORMER - MAKING OF A RADICAL POPE (DB 0866 - 18 hours 18 minutes) A look at the life and development of Pope Francis.

By Harold Kushner, read by the author, who also wrote WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE. What it means to live a good life, from a Rabbi in the 21st century. 

THE FUTURE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WITH POPE FRANCIS (DB81669 8 hours 38 minutes). The author of WHAT JESUS MEANT and PAPAL SIN examines the role of Pope Francis in ongoing changes in the Catholic Church.

*    *    *    *    

Our phone lines are open from 8:30 to 4:00 PM each working day, eastern time. If you call before or after those hours, or if staff is busy outside of the office, you will get our answering machine. Please leave a message, with your phone number, your name, and what you are calling about. If you are requesting a specific book or item from the catalogue, we will only return your call if there is a problem. Otherwise we will return your call as quickly as we can. Thank you for understanding.  


15 brave souls ventured into the wilds of Ireland from April 7 to April 15th. As Father John said, "We are going to visit all the holy shrines of Ireland - the Bushmill's Distillery, the Teeling Distillery, and of course, Knock." We also celebrated Mass in a different Church each day, visited a farm where several of our group got to feed the lambs (and we all got to sample the scones fresh from the oven), enjoyed the medieval banquet and music at Bunratty Castle, visited Kilkenny Castle, the Rock of Cashel, the Giant's Causeway, the Titanic Museum, attended the Merry Ploughboys show and ate way too much food throughout. 

There will be more pictures of our adventures, and some recollections from some of the other travelers, but here is a sample of what we got into. (And for those who say it never snows it Ireland, we managed to get both hail and snow, and the next morning it was still on the ground. In April!) 

Photo: Our merry band arriving at Dublin airport.
Photo: Even before visiting the tomb of St. Patrick, we stopped for a snack. 

Photo: This was in the Tasting Room at the Bushmill's Distillery. The official story is that NOT all of the glasses belong to her. 
Photo: We're not sure who is enjoying this more, the lamb who was being fed or the one doing the feeding.
Photo: The guide holds forth about history at Glendalough, while the tower of St. Kevin looms in the background. 

Photo: Part of the group at the tomb of St. Patrick

Photo: Enjoying the Giants Causeway

Photo: Tasting Irish whiskey is serious business.

Photo: Swans on the Church door where Yeats is buried.
Photo: Part of the group at the banquet at Bunratty Castle. Most of the food had already been consumed and the scraps taken away.

Photo: Fr. John sitting on the Bishop's Throne at St. Canice's Church in Kilkenny, circa 12th century. (The throne, not Fr. John.)

and ways you can help
Caption: A yellow smiley face with dark glasses. 

Use Amazon smile. 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:

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.

*   *   *   *  
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. 

Call us at (212) 473-7800 or email us at info@xaviersocietyfortheblind.org for more information. 


I warned you in the last issue that this edition would be late, and I am true to my word. We arrived back in the U.S. from the pilgrimage on Friday afternoon, and after nine days away, there is a lot of catching up to do. 

But it was an extraordinary trip, and in the next edition, in addition to more photos, I hope to be able to share with you some of the words of members of the group. Going on a pilgrimage is a little like going on retreat - you leave your normal environment, you have time to think and observe and share with others that our busy lives often does not provide, and we are sometimes challenged about our beliefs or our preconceptions. We did the usual sightseeing and visiting tourist spots, but we celebrated Mass each day, sometimes just our group and sometimes in a shared public setting, and we spent a lot of time learning about each other and sharing something of our own lives and experiences. We ate a lot, we laughed even more and many of us learned a little bit along the way as well.

Photo: Christine Moore joined Carlos and his parents for part of the visit. 

The second day I was back we had a visitor, Carlos IBay, and his parents. Carlos had visited us a while ago, when we were at 23rd Street, and he was in New York to sing and play piano for students at the Juilliard School. He is an accomplished internationally recognized singer, who also happens to be a fine pianist. I gave him two of my CD's, and we had a lovely visit, talking about the fine points of music and enjoying each other's company. Unfortunately my schedule was already booked solid, so I didn't get to attend of his Juilliard concerts but some of the XSB staff did, and they were greatly impressed. 

I suppose I should mention that he is blind - but it has little to do with his art. 
Photo: Carlos and his parents in my office.

Thank you for all you have done for us in the past, please remember us in your will, or if you win a major prize in the Lottery, and thank you as well for whatever God might inspire you to do with us and for our clients in the future. 

Caption: A photo of 
 Fr. John Sheehan, SJ 

Fr. John R. Sheehan, SJ  
Xavier Society for the Blind
Two Penn Plaza, Suite 1102      
New York, NY 10121
Phone: (212) 473-7800 

(If you would like to donate directly online, you can go to


May 2-6
Staff training - computer systems

May 22-26
NCCL Conference in Jacksonville, FL

May 28
Ordination of James Dennis, Owensboro KY

May 29
First Mass of Fr. James Dennis

May 30
Fr. John appears in 
at Feinstein's 54 Below in New York City

June 23
XSB Board of Directors Meeting

June 30 - July 5
National Federation of the Blind
National Convention - Orlando, FL

July 1-9
American Council of the Blind
National Convention - Minneapolis, MN

July 31
Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola

August 1
XSB Offices closed in honor of the St. Ignatius Feast

August 18-28
World Union of the Blind International Meeting
Orlando, FL

September 5
Labor Day - XSB Offices closed

September 22
XSB Board of Directors Meeting

October 21
Father John's Farewell Bash
The NY Athletic Club

October 21 - 23
American Council of the Blind - NY State Convention
Buffalo, NY

October 28-30
National Federation of the Blind - NY State Convention
Albany, NY

November 11
Veterans Day - XSB Offices closed

November 17
XSB Board of Directors Meeting

November 23
XSB Offices close early - re-open November 28

November 24
Thanksgiving Day

Secure Server
On our web site, we have a secure server connection. This means you can contribute money to the Xavier Society using your credit card in perfect safety. When you get to the web site, there is a button "Donate." If you click on that, you will be taken to the Secure Server area where you can make any contribution in complete safety. (If the server is not working, please call our office at 212 473-7800 and ask for Donald.)