Annunciations Continue to Happen

Paul Keggington

December 04, 2008

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Stained Glass Windows:St. Mary Church, Appleton, WI; Holy Spirit Church, Kimberly/Darboy, WI; St. Gabriel Church, Neenah, WI; St. Mary Parish, Menasha, WI.

While contemplating magnificent stained glass images on the Annunciation theme, it is reasonable to think that Mary’s ‘yes’ opened the door of our world to God himself; she became the living Ark of the Covenant, in whom God took flesh, became one of us, and pitched his tent among us.” (On Christian Hope, Spe Salvi, Benedict XVI, #49)

Is it possible for someone else to receive a message from God?  Here’s an Annunciation story from Sister David Marie Long, OSF who reflects about ‘her yes’ and ‘the angel ‘ in her life’:

david-marie.jpgBorn in Cardington, OH to Margaret and Murray Long, I was the oldest of six children. After high school graduation I worked two years at Grady Memorial Hospital, Delaware, OH as a diet aide and then I entered Good Samaritan School of Nursing at Good Samaritan Hospital, Zanesville, OH.

Little did my supervisors know, or maybe it was their intent, that sending me to Mass every Sunday to accompany patients would lead me to entering the Catholic Church. An elderly priest gave me instructions and formally brought me into the Church on the feast of the Ascension. I’ll never forget the date. A nursing classmate was my Baptismal sponsor and another classmate my Confirmation sponsor.

A young woman working the night shift with me was interested in entering the Convent in Manitowoc, WI. She would talk to me about it and asked if I was interested. While at Mass praying and observing the Sisters I thought that might be a good idea for my life. Without sharing with any of the hospital Sisters, I sent a letter to the Motherhouse and received papers to complete and return. Shortly, a letter arrived instructing me to come in August. I arrived by train.

After being in Wisconsin for a few weeks I wrote to my non-Catholic parents. My father considered me dead for the first nine years. When my youngest brother had an Army furlough Dad allowed me to come home but never spoke a word to me during the nine days I was there. His only words, “Be good,” came as I was leaving. After that he softened and visited with me when I was on a ‘home visit’. Following Mom’s death, he asked me to call him every two weeks and said he would pay for the call.

During those first years Mom would sneak a letter to me from time to time. She and I had a good time visiting when my brother was home on furlough. My brothers, sisters and myself all had a fun time with her after Dad retired for the night immediately after supper.

Formation time was similar to nurses training so it passed quickly. After Novitiate I was assigned to St. Francis Hospital, West Point, NE as Director of Nursing. During my years of nursing I was missioned to all our hospitals and nursing home. It presented an opportunity to work with many different Sisters and lay people of various cultures.

At times, I wonder how I got here. I think my guardian angel was on a special  assignment and dropped me off. At any rate God’s grace is sufficient.

Do you have your own ‘Annunciation’ story? Who are your messengers from God? Or does your parish church have any REALLY inspiring windows? We welcome your comments.

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