Guest Post by Kathy Neumann (Sr. Christina’s Mom)
When Sr. Christina asked me “what was/is it like for you to be the mother of a sister,” I didn’t ponder too long before I began thinking about the good times, and the trying times, of Sr. Christina’s growing-up years; now looking back, I see how our Lord used it all in preparation for her vocation.
I asked all of our children three or four times in their junior and senior high years if they had ever thought of being a religious sister or priest. I wanted them to be at least open and aware that God may call them to another vocation besides the most common vocation of marriage. Sr. Christina always answered, “No!” But one summer when she was home from college we went to Adoration and as we drove home, she said, “something happened in adoration, I think I might be called to be a sister.” I was delighted! You see, Sr. Christina’s optic nerves were not developed when she was born and through the years of fighting for her special needs to be met, the teasing, and the various trials I often wondered: Lord, what do you have in store for “this one”?. I could see how her trials taught her compassion and care for people. So the thought of her being a bride of Christ thrilled me!
However, the day her dad and I dropped her off at the convent in Hankinson, ND, I clearly remember both of us walking down the long tile hallway of the convent as we were leaving, with tears in our eyes and with the overwhelming feeling that life will never be the same – she will not be celebrating Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, or other family events with us anymore, but at the same time it was okay because Jesus would be with her in a special way. In a sense, it was like the day when she was only four months old and we heard she would be blind or, at best, legally blind.* It was like a death, a death of the life parents unconsciously dream of for their child. At that time (when she was four months old), we didn’t know if she would ever see colored leaves, Christmas lights, or the beauty of nature. Yet here at the convent it was yet a different ending to life for our daughter as we knew it – here at least she’d have Jesus and He would protect and love her – she would be okay. She would have a new and enlarged family, the sisters, the Church, and Jesus!
Now ten years later, after final vows, I rejoice like never before, because clearly she is more joyful and peaceful than ever before. What more could I possibly want for my daughter but for her to be doing God’s will and to be happy? I knew here she would fulfill the purpose she was created for. I see God’s hand so clearly in her life and I see her “soul magnifies the Lord, And [her] spirit rejoices in God [her] Savior; for He has looked upon the lowliness of His handmaid…”
Her life here on earth is not meant to be easy, but yet, we rejoice in it for we are truly blessed – blessed by our Father, who created us for a purpose: to glorify the Lord forever!
How blessed am I a mother of not just a beautiful sister but three other beautiful children as well. And my soul too “magnifies the Lord.”
Rick and Kathy Neumann just celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary this past February.
*Thankfully, the vision condition was not as severe as expected.