THE COUNSELOR'S CORNER: The power of a constant presence

By Fred Cavaiani

A good friend of mine just died, Fr. Rupert Dorn OFM Cap. He was 90 years old and I have known him since I was 14 years old. He was my Provincial when I was a Capuchin-Franciscan. He was the kind priest whom I told that I was going to leave the Capuchins and get a dispensation. He officiated at my wedding a few years later. He also officiated at the wedding of our children. I got the call from my close friend, Barry, who had also been a Capuchin. "Rupert died, Fred." Then I got a call from another very close friend, Val, who also had been a Capuchin. The three of us have been close friends for many years. Val said, " I am going to the funeral in Wisconsin with you." Another close friend, Carl, who also had been a Capuchin said that he wasn't able to make the trip but his heart goes with us. So this Wednesday, the three of us are traveling to St. Lawrence Seminary in Mt. Calvary Wisconsin where we had all first met so many years ago as we started high school seminary together. It was where we first met Fr. Rupert.

Have you ever had a friend who has remained a constant loving and caring Presence in your life? I can still remember his words as he officiated at our wedding 41 years ago: "Marriage is the meshing of the daily routines of life." I can remember his gentle laughter and warm greeting. He would love to sing a song "Daisies and Buttercups, Buttercups and Daisies." We would sing this with him over and over again.

This was a Capuchin priest who was cherished by everyone. He was so loved and respected by his fellow Capuchins. He remained a close friend with everyone who had been a Capuchin and with their spouses and children. He connected the Love of God to all and his love and acceptance was unconditional. Another class mate of mine, Lance and his wife Kay will drive from Florida to attend this funeral. Fr. Rupert had this permanent, gentle influence on all of our lives. My wife Alice tearfully reminded me how Rupert would call us on our wedding anniversary for many years.

It is a privilege to have someone who is a constant loving presence in your life. Rupert was that constant presence which said, " You are always my friend." He took an interest in all of us. There were many dinners and lunches at which we laughed, reminisced and shared our feelings with each other.

Some people in our lives give us an example of how to treat one another. Fr. Rupert was one of those people. He preached by loving actions. His listened carefully. He did not judge or condemn but listened with understanding and acceptance. This gentle man who had grown up on a farm in Central Wisconsin lived such a humble and gentle life. People knew him from all over the world. His quiet, humble and reflective presence subtly challenged all of us to look deeper in life. As one of our friends stated when she found out about his death: "Heaven just got better." When Rupert was present everything seemed better.

It is important to be a constant, loving presence in the life of another. Each of us has known someone in our life that has been a constant, loving presence. They create an awareness of goodness and unconditional love. When we can be a constant, loving presence for others we create an atmosphere for others to discover a deeper meaning about life. Life changes. People and things can change. But a constant, loving presence creates a changeless stability that is always filled with energy and personal growth. Those who create this loving and constant presence bring into the world something that is so necessary and so needed: an experience that there is a depth in life that will always be with us. Some call this God, some call this the Love of God. A gentle farm boy became a Capuchin priest and brought to all of us who knew him a sense of the wonderful Love and Peace of God. Thanks, Rupert. Three of your friends will be spending the next couple of days reminiscing, remembering and expressing gratitude for having you as a constant and loving friend. And at your funeral there will be so many more expressing these very same feelings.


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage & family therapist and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and Henry Ford Medical Center. Fred serves on the Oakland County Senior Advisory Council. He conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeastern Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is

Published: Tue, Sep 30, 2014