On most Fridays, I share a Friday Feature where I hope to bring a little light and encouragement from other Catholics living out the vocation to married and family life.
I love witnessing how others are following Christ and am constantly inspired by them. My goal with Friday Feature is to bring you a breath of fresh air and some community by sharing their stories.
Enjoy, laugh, be inspired, and pray for all those you see on here. We’re in this together!
I’ve known Monica my whole life – as an active member of our parish community growing up, she’s always been present in some way to me. In high school, as my youth minister, she became a real mentor to me as I grappled with the Faith through my conversion. Her wisdom, gentleness, and love has been one of the most powerful witnesses in my life and has guided me through so many trials and triumphs. I’m honored that she’s sharing some of that wisdom with my readers – I’m convinced she’s a living saint and wish the whole world could meet her!
Angie (A): Share a little bit about yourself and your story.
Monica (M): My story is probably not very interesting. I married very young but pretty normal for the time I grow up in as I graduated in 1972 and was married in 1973 with our first child born in 1975. I have always loved going to Mass and being involved with the Catholic Church. I started teaching CCD (parish faith formation) in 1972 and have been working in Youth Ministry almost since that time except for a few years taken off to have our children. We have 4 amazing children, 3 girls and 1 boy ages 39 to 29. We lost a child to miscarriage in 1978 and another to cancer, at the age of 4, in 1979. We also have 6 adorable grandchildren ages 18 to 2! Children teach us so much about the strength that God has given us to live the commitment of marriage and the meaning of the word love. That is a very short version of my story but I hope enough to give you a little idea about me.
A: What do you think young families need most in the world today?
M: A true strong commitment to each other, a shared faith and family/community support.
A: What has been one of your biggest challenges as a mother and grandmother?
M: To realize I am not in control of the choices they make. Some time knowing God gave us free will is frustrating! Of course this is only as they become teenagers and adults. Up to that time the biggest challenge can be remember to take time with them… nothing is more important then the time you give to your children. The house work can wait, the laundry will still be there, but the chance to read another book or play in the puddles will pass very quickly.
A: Do you think there is such thing as Catholic parenting? If so, what ought it look like?
M: Yes! Catholic parenting, to me, means working hard at remember the parenting of Mary and Joseph. Exposing our children to family prayer, Mass, and scripture even if we only share the meal prayer, bedtime prayer or short Bible stories. Letting our children see the importance of parish life and the service we are called to. So much shapes our parenting that it will not look the same for each family but your Catholic faith shared with the children will be great start for their future.
A: How can parents encourage their children to be open to whatever vocation God is calling them to?
M: Prayer… and always letting them know that God calls them to be the best they can be in whatever profession they choose. I know that may sound idealistic but I have told my children several times over, as they have changed jobs for various reasons, that God helped them to learn something at the first job that they will need for the next one. And it may take some time but they have found that to be true. Just the fact of letting our children know that God is calling them and to take some quiet time to pray about that vocation can be very important. Expose them to the possibilities of religious life. Encourage them to pray about whether or not they are being called to serve in that capacity. And pray.
A: What role does mercy play in a Catholic marriage?
M: Mercy me, a lot! My husband and I were told many many years ago at our marriage prep that “it was ok to be a little crazy in your marriage as long as you are not both crazy at the same time”. It takes a lot of mercy to be giving and forgiving as you each get through those times. Mercy helps us to remember that each difficult situation we have will pass and joy is found in the mercy we share.
A: Have you ever witnessed a miracle?
M: Wow this is a loaded question or a simple one by saying just “yes”! Besides my own children, I have held a grandchild that had stopped breathing and felt the miracle of being able help him breath again, I have been given words others needed to hear and knew they only came through the Holy Spirit, I have seen miracles in the laughter of times spent with my Mother as we made many trips to Dr. appointments together and to bathrooms, I have witnessed many miracles with the youth I taken to retreats and conferences, one that was just recently baptized! Miracles surround us!
A: How has the daily Rosary impacted your life?
M: The Rosary for me is a calming meditation each day as I take my walk. It helps me to put the day into perspective and start the day praying for special intentions. I know the Rosary is not for everybody but I find it to be a great “go – to – prayer” through out the day.
A: What is your favorite way to pray?
M: Well that is hard to answer… I love the Eucharist so Mass and adoration are certainly favorites. But I also love the Rosary. There is something soothing about knowing that it goes through the story of Jesus’ life and leads us to Him through Mother Mary.
A: If you could give Catholic families one piece of advice for growing in holiness, what would it be?
M: Pray together…Prayer is what will draw us to love and care for each other with compassion.
Some more Friday Features in case you missed them!