Susan Boyle

Parish Diary

Fr. Peter Daly

April 22, 2009


            Thank God for Susan Boyle.

            Just when we need it, she gives our spirits a lift with a taste of “resurrection joy” in this Easter season.

            Unless you have been on retreat with the Trappists, you probably know about Susan Boyle. She is the 48 year old, spinster from Scotland.  She is unemployed, “but still looking.”

            She won the hearts of the world singing on Easter weekend on “Britain’s Got Talent.” In two weeks following she set a record for the most page views ever on the internet, with more than 85 million “hits” to see her sing.

            Susan is the most improbable of celebrities.

            She has the solid figure of a woman whose exercise is household chores. Her hair has rarely, if ever, seen a stylist.

            Susan does not own a car, nor does she have a driver’s license. She walks everywhere in her village of Blackburn. In ten minutes she can reach all the essentials of her world: the grocery store, the Happy Valley pub, where she sings karaoke, and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, where she sings in the choir.

            Susan lives alone with her cat, Pebbles.

            Until her mother died two years ago, she was the caregiver for her elderly parents. The youngest of nine children, Susan lives in the rented row house where she grew up.

She told Scottish television that she has no boy friend, had never been on a date, and, sadly, has never even been kissed.

            The children of the neighborhood admitted on television that they tease her when she walks out in the village.

            Maybe that is why she kept her dignity when she walked out on that stage in Glasgow before a mocking audience. The lions, they were ready to tear her apart.

            The camera captured teenage girls in the audience rolling their eyes. The judges had smirks on their faces. Simon Cowell, the professional serpent on these shows, asked her why she had not achieved her dream of becoming a professional singer like Elaine Paige. She said simply, “I’ve never been given the chance, really.”       He puffed.

            Then she sang.

            What a voice! She sang “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables a sad song about lost innocence and shattered optimism.

            Simon Cowell’s eyebrow went up. He leaned back in shock. The same smart aleck teens who had rolled their eyes were suddenly on their feet, cheering.

            Piers Morgan, one of the judges said, “When you walked out on that stage, everybody was laughing at you. Nobody is laughing now.”

            Amanda Holden, the skinny model judge, said, “Everybody was against you. That was the biggest wake up call ever.”

            I watched the tape over and over again. I cried each time.

            The whole world is cheering for Susan Boyle now.

            But we aren’t cheering just for her.

            We’re cheering for all the girls who had never been kissed.

            For all the people who live alone with their cats.

            For all the unemployed people who are “still looking.”  

            For every child who gave up youth and dreams to take care of elderly parents.

            For everyone who sings in church choirs for nothing more than the love of God.

            We were cheering for all the lonely people around the world who have never “been given a chance, really.”       

            Susan burst on the scene on Easter weekend.  She gave us a little taste of the resurrection joy when the impossible happens, hope is renewed and dreams are realize.

            When the Brits are surprised they say they are “gob smacked.”

            I think the whole world was really “God smacked.”

            Thanks Susan.