Love Is Stronger Than Pain


Love Is Stronger Than Pain


“Love is Stronger than Pain” is the title of Michael O’Brien’s book memorializing the legacy of his mother, Irene Corcoran O’Brien. She lived a life of daily sacrifice, tending to the critical needs of two of her children stricken with a rare, debilitating, painful disease which causes blistering of the skin and deformities. Her faith and unconditional love of John and Maureen enabled them to experience joy in life and inspire others to do the same.

WIVB-TV’s Rich Newberg covered the O’Brien story for years,
capturing the spirit of John, who honored the wish of his late sister and helped raise funds for a play about her life. “Hit Me Again” was in presented in Buffalo in April 1991.

John died in 1992 at the age of 39. He was the oldest survivor of dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. Maureen was 27 when she passed away in 1984. She died as her mother was changing here dressings. Both brother and sister appeared much older than their years. At John’s funeral it was said by his brothers that “he made friends out of strangers and family out of friends.”

The series of reports ends with the tribute to Irene. Newberg interviews Michael who recalls Mother Theresa giving Irene her rosary. There is a scene of the brother and sister in the audience during Mother Theresa’s presentation at Niagara University. Speaking of his mother’s spirit, Michael says, “It was genuine humility…” He added, “She just thought that she was fulfilling God’s will and purpose for her life.”



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Buffalo & Erie County Public Library (publisher of digital)


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