Richard Fritzky: Author, Survivor to Speak at House of the Good Shepherd

The cover of local author Richard Fritzky's new book, "A Pilgrim's Song: Mary Varick and her Theology of Suffering," about the life and beliefs of his aunt.

“At first glance, Mary Varick’s theology might well have seemed absolutely nuts. After all, she insisted that God’s greatest gifts included pain, denial, suffering, and sacrifice…”

And so begins the intriguing summary of local author Richard Fritzky’s most recent non-fiction book, “A Pilgrim’s Song: Mary Varick and her Theology of Suffering.”

A tale of illness, hope, and spiritual growth, Fritzky will be discussing his new book alongside an exploration of his own hardships and triumphs at the House of the Good Shepherd Retirement Community on Friday, Aug. 28.

He still remembers at age 14, when he was the one pushing stretchers and wheelchairs. At that time, his “saintly” aunt, Mary Varick, enlisted him to join her “Simons and Veronicas,” who cared for a group of severely disabled people on pilgrimage to the great Catholic shrines of Quebec, Canada.

Now, five decades later, Fritzky is himself navigating what many people might consider a cruel fate. He is the one confined to a wheelchair after fighting a fierce battle with Neisseria Meningitis — acute inflammation of the protective membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord — which left him a quadruple amputee.

This long journey included a medically-induced coma, 36 major surgeries, end-stage renal disease, colon cancer, brushes with death, and excruciating pain. Yet Fritzky is filled with a joy that most people could never understand, as well as a strong belief that God has blessed him with the “gift of suffering.”

This talk, which is sure to be powerful and memorable, will be held at The House of the Good Shepherd, located conveniently at 798 Willow Grove Street in Hackettstown.

This free talk will begin at 2 p.m. on Aug. 28 and is open to the public. Plenty of accessible parking is available. Light refreshments will also be served.

For more information about the event or to make an RSVP, which is appreciated, please call Chris Garofalo at The House, 908-684-5900. Directions to House of the Good Shepherd are available to

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