Sr. Maggie Gannon
President, Drexel Neumann Academy
One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite people (Pope Francis) is “you cannot worry just about yourself.” Great words, but easier said than done… at least in my experience. BUT, about ten years ago, a Media attorney, Michael Malloy, appeared at our school office with an idea to broaden local support Drexel Neumann Academy (DNA), an independent Catholic school in Chester, PA. He shared a plan for supporting education in Chester because many of his clients had Chester roots. His initiative still helps support DNA all these years later. He, his friends, colleagues, and family have a genuine care for the children of Chester and believe the only way to break the cycle of poverty and violence which impacts our city is through the gift of an education. Their generous goodness has been a blessing to many families at DNA. It is evident they do not worry only about themselves.
You cannot know Michael Malloy and not know about Leroy Evans. Michael sees the injustice in Mr. Evans sentence and is trying in every possible way to right it.
As a Sister of St. Francis, I have held Mr. Evans in my daily prayers and marveled at his sense of peace and willingness to forgive what would have brought many to the depths of despair. Mr. Evans’ constant concern for others, in particular, his family, reflects that he most surely does not only worry about himself.
Mr. Evans has an exceptional family. I know this from first-hand experience as his two nieces, Abby and Ta’Niya, are students at DNA. The girls began school in September of 2018, and they and their family quickly became members of the DNA community.
We are blessed in a special way by the spirit and pure goodness of Ms. Alice Evans, Leroy’s mother, and the family matriarch. It would be understandable for Ms. Evans to be bitter and even mad at the injustice of Leroy’s situation, but that is not in her. My experience of Ms. Evans is that of a loving mother and grandmother, who keeps her focus on God and those she loves (especially her grandbabies). It is evident that Ms. Evans’ umbrella of care is over many, certainly not just herself.
Although he may not identify as such, I feel Leroy is a Franciscan at heart. Franciscans continually grow in an awareness of God’s presence and work among us. For Franciscans, forgiveness is more important than revenge, even though we may have the same feelings as anyone else when we are hurt. We cling to hope rather than give in to despair, for God is with us in Jesus. This most certainly describes a person who cares for others and does not worry only about himself. This most certainly describes Leroy Evans.
In closing, my prayers for Leroy are always joined with prayers for the happy repose of the soul of Emily Leo and consolation for her family.