There was a rhythm to Joe’s way of working, a rhythm that reached far beyond the confines of his studio. I could hear the gentle, careful tap of chisel and hammer on delicate stone fingers and then in contrast, the crashing sounds of large chunks of falling stone. The gentle tap and heavy beat were enriched by the music that came from Joe’s dusty tape deck. Jazz was Joe’s favorite music, music that complemented and gave momentum to the rhythm of his hourly tapping. There were times when his tools became drumsticks as he joined in with the beat of the music.
A dusty black leather chair supported some of his silent moments as he studied his work, did further drawings, or napped a little. Always the tapping would resume with renewed energy and determination.
His studio is silent now. Thy rhythmic tapping has ceased. Yet there are times when we hear their echo and remember Joe.
Reprinted with the permission of the Liturgical Press, the Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota, from Divine Favor: The Art of Joseph O'Connell. Editor, Colman O'Connell. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, c1999. CSB, SJU and SJP Libraries Oversize N 6537.O265 D58 1999.