Oil on Linen
20 x 24″
ER: Where did you grow up? Where do you call home?
JD: I am originally from Brooklyn. I was 10 when we moved to the suburbs. I loved growing up there. It was a neighborhood. When I was older I backpacked across country. I went everywhere. I loved Colorado. The Rockies are beautiful People are wonderful there.
ER: Where are your parents from? How did they influence you today?
JD: My dad , Luigi Vincenzo, was first generation Italian. He spoke 6 languages, two dialects of Italian. High Italian and Sicilian. He was the general manager for a construction company. He learned Portugese when he was in his 50’s. Self taught all the languages. He worked for the OSS which was the forerunner to the CIA. My mom spoke 3 languages. Interesting folks. My mother looked Italian. She was beautiful and modeled clothes in Manhattan.
Our house was quite diverse. Mom was Jewish. Dad would come home early so meals could be prepared before sundown. Mom prepared meals to honor the Catholic traditions. We celebrated both religions. My parents had respect for each other. They told me, “you will become what you will become but we will give you all the information to make that choice.” I went to Hebrew school and Catholic church. I learned everything. Family, food and religion are things that Jews and Catholics have in common.
ER: What is your heritage (ethnicity)?
JD: Italian and Eastern European, Jewish. Mom has Scottish roots.
ER: What is your favorite color?
JD: Blue and Teal or Periwinkle
ER: What is your passion? What are you doing when you are most happy?
JD:: I love music and art. I love old rock, jazz, Dianna Krall. I listen to chants and everything.
ER: Do you have a mission? A reason for doing that which is your passion?
JD: To work with prisoners and/or their families. Serving time is merely superficial compliance with the law. Rehabitiation, however is about becoming a self sustaining productive member of society. This is my mission – to assist families of those who have been incarcerated. To be able to provide a supportive environment that encourages growth and success.
ER: What is / was your profession? Is this profession what you were meant to do? Why?
JD: I have a masters degree in mental health counseling and have worked in various areas of mental health counseling. I was indeed meant to do this. It always fascinated me how in counseling, a thought or word can help someone change the course of their life.
ER: What makes you feel like part of a community? Why?
JD: I’m glad I live in a religious community. It helps me introspectively but I can pass it along. That is how we change people, by example. By listening and sometimes just being quiet.
The Anamchara fellowship is Celtic in origin. Anamchara means soul friend. We take simple vows not solemn vows like the other orders. Not chastity, poverty and obedience, rather simplicity, fidelity and obedience. We live with the community, fall in love, are married or single. There is an openess yet we are devout. We believe in simplicity. I used to have a materiality that I have given up. I am much happier for it. Life is simpler. I like the commandery and respect between the brothers and the sisters. We do good works and a lot of contemplative prayer. We learn to center, to settle down. My order is very comfortable for me.
ER: What is the most interesting thing you have ever done?
JD: Working in a mobile crisis unit gave me an opportunity to prevent someone from driving 75 miles to go to his mother’s funeral while threatening to car jack anyone after his truck ran out of gas. He had been drinking and was gathering up weapons to take with him. While I was de-escalating him the swat team checked out his location in his home. A female detective went to his door which he answered. They arrested him and discovered an arsenal of semi-automatic weapons.
ER: What is your greatest accomplishment?
JD: Becoming a Deacon.
ER: What are your regrets?
JD: In my life I have:
Become a professional musician at age 10.
Was offered a contract to tour the US at age 16 as a singer in a band (Dad said, “NO WAY!!!”)
Worked at a mobile crisis center in a large metropolitan city.
Became an ordained Deacon.
Earned a Masters Degree.
Had a 28 year relationship (lost to cancer) and helped raise three children.
Have met writers, politicians and people of faith.
I am currently an aspirant working toward taking vows as a sister in a dispersed religious community.
The answer is NO! I have no regrets whatsoever!