top of page



Soon we will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Did you know that St. Patrick was rumored to be Italian?!?

In the 1940s, in my all Italian-catholic neighborhood, our priests and teachers (nuns) all came from Ireland. At home we would sing " O Sole Mio" but in school with our Irish nuns we would sing "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling". We knew all about the Blarney stone and everything Irish. However one day a life changing event happened to me.

Sister Mary Louise, all aglow, was showing us a weed she called a shamrock, a symbol of Ireland. She would not stop her praise until I interrupted her and told her that was a weed. All of the sudden her face became all aflame. She grabbed me by the ear, shoved me into the clothes closet and told me to say 100 “Hail Mary’s” before coming out.

After my 100 “Hail Mary’s”, I had to sit in the corner wearing a dunce cap. After class was through and I erased all the blackboards, Sister Mary Louise asked me why I called her shamrock a weed. I told her that every weekend I would go to my Uncle Sal's to pick shamrocks (notice I was already converted) from his tomato garden. She asked me to bring her some samples of my pickings.

     Soon I became her favorite, supplying her with all the shamrocks she needed. It became our secret that when all the other kids got one cookie on Wednesday, I got two.

My next problem was convincing my Uncle Sal that the weeds were actually shamrocks.

Vinny Russo

bottom of page