Cardinal-designate Dolan’s sister thrilled for her big brother
Debbie and Fred Williams speak with CNA in Rome on Feb. 17, 2012
Debbie and Fred Williams speak with CNA in Rome on Feb. 17, 2012
By David Kerr
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Over 1,000 Americans are arriving in Rome for the elevation of Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York to the College of Cardinals. But few know him better or love him more than his sister, Debbie Williams.

Williams described Feb. 17 how “wonderful” it has been to travel to Rome for her brother’s elevation on Saturday.
“It’s a little hard to comprehend when it’s your brother, and that’s who he is to us first and foremost, our brother, but we certainly realize the importance of all of this. For us it is just a great family reunion and a chance to share in his honor and his joy.”

“We’re ecstatic. It’s exciting,” Williams told CNA.

She is in Rome this weekend with her husband Fred and another 20 or so immediate Dolan family members. That includes the archbishop’s other sister, his two brothers and their 83-year-old mother Shirley.

“My mom is great. She’s kind of laying low today so she’s ready for the big day tomorrow. She just had a little jet lag yesterday, so she stayed behind today and rested,” Williams said.
This morning Cardinal-designate Dolan was addressing his fellow cardinals-in-waiting as part of a day of a day of reflection and prayer at the Vatican, which was presided over by Pope Benedict. Meanwhile, the rest of the Dolan family took to the sunny streets of Rome for a day of sightseeing.

Williams said her brother has always been a “family man first and foremost.” She summed him up as “happy, joyful, just (a) great personality.” She is confident her brother’s elevation to the College of Cardinals means that “there will be someone as a spokesman for the Church who is down to earth and can relate to people and hopefully let everyone see a better face of the Church.”

The Dolan family grew up in Ballwin, Mo. – a western suburb of St. Louis – where they attended Holy Infant parish. Their late father, Robert, was an aircraft engineer with the St. Louis firm McDonnell Douglas.

When she was asked if she ever imagined her big brother would be a Prince of the Church, Williams said, “in some ways, no, because it’s just so big, you know.

“But it doesn’t surprise me either because he is definitely cut out for what he does. So we are not shocked – but it is hard to imagine.”

After being ordained a priest in 1976, Fr. Timothy Dolan spent several years at churches in the St. Louis area. Many of his former parishioners have also made the pilgrimage to Rome for this weekend’s consistory.

“Archbishop Dolan is a friend of the family from his days at Little Flower Church in St. Louis,” 39-year-old attorney Mark Mueller explained to CNA.

“He’s just a big teddy bear, stands by his principles, and is everything good you’d want in a Catholic bishop or cardinal.”

Tags: Cardinal Dolan, Consistory, Vatican

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Liturgical Calendar

January 27, 2015

Tuesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 3:22-30


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 3:22-30