June 13, 2014

Newly ordained priest says prayer partner is ‘like second mother’

Newly ordained Father Daniel Bedel blesses Maryellen Scott, a resident of St. Augustine Home for the Aged in Indianapolis, during a reception held at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center after the priesthood ordination on June 7 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. Scott began praying for and corresponding with then-seminarian Bedel eight years ago when he started at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Newly ordained Father Daniel Bedel blesses Maryellen Scott, a resident of St. Augustine Home for the Aged in Indianapolis, during a reception held at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center after the priesthood ordination on June 7 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. Scott began praying for and corresponding with then-seminarian Bedel eight years ago when he started at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

Shortly after Maryellen Scott entered the St. Augustine Home for the Aged eight years ago, she was given a slip of paper with the name and address of a young man who had started attending Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis.

She was asked if she would like to pray for him.

Eight years, thousands of prayers, many letters and several visits later, Scott was a special guest at the June 7 ordination of “her seminarian,” Father Daniel Bedel.

“I was so excited, I was awake at 4 a.m.,” she said about the day of the ordination, which took place at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. (Related: Four men are ordained priests during June 7 liturgy at cathedral)

“She showed up at my door at 7:30 [a.m.],” two-and-a-half hours before the ordination, said St. Augustine Home resident Mary Ann Phelan, who took Scott to the ordination. “There I stood in my pajamas when they brought her down, dressed and ready to go!”

Scott just laughed.

“I couldn’t be more excited if he were my own [son],” she admitted.

The eight-year relationship started with a letter.

“In the first letter, I introduced myself,” Scott recalled.

Father Bedel, 26, remembered receiving the letter.

“I responded because I thought that was the nice thing to do,” he said. “I got a response back, and it just kept up over the years.”

Occasionally they spoke on the phone, said Scott, who is 72. But she continued to write letters encouraging him.

“I wrote just day-to-day things. He wrote about what was going on in the seminary. Sometimes he would come back from a break and somebody would have left [the seminary]. He said that was very difficult,” she recalled.

Father Bedel said Scott’s support was “huge.”

“I wouldn’t have been able to make it without all the prayers I’ve gotten over the years,” he said. “And with Maryellen, it was just something you could bank on. It was continuous prayer.

“And from that, a friendship has developed, and now I know about her and her family.”

Now that the seminarian has been ordained, that friendship will not end.

“I’m glad he’s going to be near us at St. Augustine’s,” she said of Father Bedel’s assignment as associate pastor at St. Christopher Parish on Indianapolis’ west side. St. Augustine Home, operated by the Little Sisters of the Poor, is on the northwest side of the city.

“He’s hoping to come to St. Augustine Home to say one of his first Masses,” said Scott.

During the interview with The Criterion, the two were already discussing dinner at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant just north of the home.

Before giving Scott a priestly blessing, Father Bedel shared his thoughts on the woman he has come to know during the last eight years.

“She’s been a big part of my life, kind of like a second mother, almost,” he said.

According to Scott, whose son died when he was 25, the familial feeling is mutual.

“I feel like he’s my own. I really do.” †

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