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Let?s hear it for the nuns

By Natalie Plumb

This week marks the week when we celebrate our sisters in Christ: National Catholic Sisters Week.

And boy are they a dynamic group to celebrate.

God uses His children particularly in their uniqueness…

From the Little Way of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who taught us how beautiful simplicity can be…

To the big ideas of Mother Angelica, who penetrated a media otherwise dominated by secular broadcasts…

To the contented hearts of the nuns we haven’t even heard about yet.

This column originally appeared in the Arlington Catholic Herald.

By: Christina Capecchi, Catholic Herald Columnist

When Mary Margaret Gefre’s boyfriend drove her to the train station in their small North Dakota town, the 19-year-old farm girl didn’t tell him where she was headed on that brisk December day, clutching a small bag containing a rosary, her childhood prayer book, a few dresses and a pair of shoes.

Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of JesusShe was bound for a cloistered convent in St. Paul, Minn. She was going to become a nun.

Today, at age 84, she marks the passage of that heart-wrenching winter by three feast days.

It was Dec. 28, the feast of the Holy Innocents, that her boyfriend, Baltzer, took her to the train station, giving her a peck on the cheek before driving away. The dark-haired young man had won her over with his deep faith and gentle ways. “I was sure he was going to be my husband,” she told me. “I could envision a happy life with him, babies.”

It was Feb. 2, the feast of the Presentation, that Mary Margaret officially entered the Sisters of St. Joseph’s community, a bundle of hopes and fears. In the open fields back home, she could see for miles: Every sunrise engulfed her, every cloud floated overhead, every star pierced the midnight sky. But in the city, trees crowded in on her. “I felt imprisoned,” she said. “It was sort of like the end of world.”

It was Feb. 14, the feast of St. Valentine, that Mary Margaret received a love letter from Baltzer. Her superior, Sister Sara Claire, already had read it and handed it to Mary Margaret soberly. The sight of his neat cursive and urgent plea to come home opened a floodgate of emotion. “It all came back to me. I had to do lots of thinking. It was very hard to give him up, but I just knew my call by then. In my heart I felt that this was my home.”

Click here to continue reading this Arlington Catholic Herald column.

This article has been reprinted here by permission of the author after original publication at Encourage and Teach, published by the Diocese of Arlington.

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