When Archbishop Timothy Dolan becomes a cardinal on February 18, his second-grade teacher will be there.
Sister Mary Bosco Daly, who met the archbishop when he was a student at the Holy Infant School in Ballwin, Mo., has been there for "all the high points" of her former pupil's life.
“I’ve known him since he was 8 years old. That’s quite a lifetime,” the elderly Irish nun told the NY Daily News.
“He was just a regular boy growing up, but very good in every way.”
Daly was there for Dolan's first Holy Communion and confirmation, and she helped him choose liturgies and songs for his first Mass as priest in his hometown parish. She was also there when he went to Rome in 2009 to be named the Pope's representative in New York.
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Daly, who is in her late 80s but will only admit to being on "the wrong side of 21," is once again making plans to visit the Vatican, this time to be one of the guests at St. Peter's Basilica for the consistory.
“I didn’t think I’d ever live to see him cardinal,” she said.
Daly returned to Ireland in the late 1970s, but she and Dolan stayed close.
“When he was studying in Rome, he came over to Ireland and I looked after him,” said Daly, who now lives in a convent in Tullamore, County Offaly.
“I’m very proud of him,” she said.
Dolan calls Daly his “spiritual mother.”
Without fail, he will call on her birthday, Christmas, Easter and New Year’s Eve, which is also the feast day for St. John Bosco.
“I’m always sure to get a phone call. Or flowers, or some gift,” she said. “I’m just glad to have known him all these years.”