I have heard it said, "Behind every good man, is an even better woman." It is always so intriguing to hear a person's life story, certainly that of highly accomplished people, and learn how they came to be the person that they are. In Florida, we are fortunate to have some really great elected officials. Through observation of two of them, one person began to emerge in my mind as a woman I would really love the opportunity to be able to meet and come to know.
Watching these two brothers and their leadership abilities, knowing they came from a large family, it struck my interests even more. If these two men were able to accomplish so much, what have her other children achieved? How was the mother of these people able to raise them with such amazing success?
The woman I am speaking of is Sandy Sully Rooney. Recently, I was able to have a lovely conversation with her, and I can tell you that it was a very enjoyable experience; I laughed and I learned. She gave me great insight into how these two men were molded into the leaders they are and the strength the Lord gives to a Mother who would seek His counsel. She is a devout Catholic and has raised her children that way.
Mrs. Rooney is the mother to 7 children, and helped raise another niece that she was blessed with when the child was 5 years old, (her sister had fallen ill, and was not able to care for her full time, but was an active part of her life) bringing the total up to 8. By today's standards, this is a truly amazing accomplishment. Just being able to raise 8 children in and of itself is an accomplishment, but that they have all gone on to be successful in each of their chosen professions, as well upstanding citizens is truly remarkable. This charming lady has gone above and beyond in the raising of her children and has made her family and marriage her life's success story, her legacy for the world, and I am so thankful to be able to share the secret of her success with you.
Mr. and Mrs. Pat Rooney, Sr. recently celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in Georgia, with all of their children and grandchildren in attendance. Between Pat, Joe, Terry, Chris, Brian, Tom, and Molly, she has 24 grandchildren including one on the way, due in October and the oldest turning 21 in May. She grew up with only one sister, and marrying into the Rooney family, she immediately gained 4 brothers in law and one big family!
As she reflected back on the experiences they shared as a family, she told me that her first born Pat Rooney, Jr. was the first baby born on her side of the family in 30 years, and there was never a time when he was not being tended to. Someone was always there to hold him, chase after him, and he was treated like the Prince of all Princes. She spoke of his birth as him being "the experiment" since neither she, or her husband had previous experience with babies, and were very young at the time; “…he was the first one and the only one I devoted my whole time to.” She told me she bathed him often, laughingly adding that “the poor kid stayed puckered from bath water.”