Saturday, February 28, 2009

Grandparents and Catholic Culture

JP Sonnen posted a nice little bit on the role his grandfather, aged 90, has had on his life as a Catholic. He couldn't have timed it better as today my Grandma turns 90!

JP writes:
Makes one think of this line from the Scriptures: "I handed on to you as of first importance what I myself received." (1 Cor. 15:3). Our parents and grandparents give us the Faith. Religion is often handed down from one generation to the next. We are each an heir and upon us devolves the duty of perpetuating this gift."

My Grandma is an amazing woman - who, needless to say, I love very dearly and has been a great influence in my life.

There are many beautiful stories of the role of faith in her life. She converted from Protestantism to the Catholic faith as a young woman. She suffered a good deal of pressure and criticism from her waspish family. As a girl, going up in Detroit, her mother strictly forbade her from ever entering a Catholic church, especially since she had a number Catholic friends. However, one bitter cold day (in February, I think) when she was in her teens, one of her Catholic friends, with whom she was spending the day, wanted to go to Mass. My grandmother told her she would just wait outside. After awhile (and I love my grandmother's smile every time she remembers this part), after awhile, well, it got cold. :-) So my grandmother decided to just slip inside the vestibule.

That was enough! Her face still glows as she recalls her first Mass - the incense, the music, everything - it was all so beautiful! She knew that this was what her heart had been longing for for so long.

She respected her father's wishes and waited until she was in her twenties until she converted. Easter 1944 she was received into the Church.

Besides being responsible for nurturing my mother's formation and strong commitment to the faith, my grandmother has always taken an active role my life and that of my siblings. While her childbearing, computer, and fighter pilot skills differ from JP's grandfather (as I hope at least the latter would!), the joyful upbuilding of the Church, and the fierce loyalty to faith is the same. There is no way that I could do justice my grandmother's unfailing witness on this blog or anywhere else.

Happy 90th birthday, Grandma!

Here she is, an adorable baby in 1919!

1 comment:

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