By Jim Smith
BOSTON --- The South Boston home of former Boston mayor and ambassador to the Vatican Raymond Flynn was ransacked and burglarized last Thursday morning while Flynn and his wife, Cathy, were attending a funeral.
Stolen items included personal treasures such as letters and mementoes from Ronald Reagan, Mother Teresa, Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, baseball legend Ted Williams. Also stolen was a cross and rosary beads blessed by Pope John Paul II.
Also taken was jewelry including Mrs. Flynn's wedding ring, a family heirloom, other family treasures and college basketball memorabilia belonging to Ray Flynn whose Providence College uniform was recently retired..
In addition, the burglars made off with cash, a laptop computer, a GPS, an iPod, and coins from around the world.
Flynn - who is an Irish Echo columnist and whose column in this issue includes memories of Pope John Paul - and his wife left their home around 8:15 a.m. Thursday for the funeral of the mother of former Massachusetts House Speaker Thomas Finneran.
The burglars struck shortly thereafter, most likely using a tool to pop open a locked front door after having unsuccessfully trying to break in through a rear entrance.
Flynn told the Echo Monday that Boston police detectives are working diligently to solve the crime and recover the stolen items.
"I taught some of the investigators how to play basketball down at the Boys Club when they were growing up," the former hoop star said.
"They're looking everywhere for what was taken from us."
The Flynn home was broken into about thirty years ago, and the police caught the thieves. Flynn is hoping for a similar outcome this time.
He said that some of his neighbors and friends in Southie have been looking in dumpsters for the stolen goods, thinking that the burglars would realize that many of the cherished personal items would have no value to them.
"The people couldn't be nicer through all of this," Flynn said in describing kind and generous gestures which have helped to buoy his spirits.
"It's been extraordinary," he said.
Irish neighbors have brought scones and Irish bread to his home, while an Italian lady down the street brought some homemade Cannoli.
"I've got so many scones, I don't know what to do with them," he said.
Flynn was Boston's mayor from 1984 to 1993 and was U.S. ambassador to the Vatican from 1993 to 1997.