When Jesus and a Franciscan Share a Birthday

Paul Keggington

December 25, 2011

On this Feast of the Incarnation, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity ask God’s blessing of peace and joy on all of our families and friends. Christmas also marks the personal birthday of  our Sister St. Agnes Stuttgen, Sister Mary Fidelia Mindemann, Sister Carol Seidl and Sister Elizabeth Ann Miller. Sister Carol reflects on what it means to share a birthday with Jesus.  

Christmas Birthday is an Honor

Franciscan Sister Carol Seidl's family: back row-Sister Carol, Jerry, Dennis; middle-Gene; front-Donald, David, Sue

Having a birthday on Christmas is an honor. I didn’t always think this though. I grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin with five brothers and one sister. At Christmas time we would let our parents know which spot under the tree was ours so Santa knew where to put our presents. Our presents for Christmas were never wrapped-I am sure it was due to money and the time to wrap seven children’s presents. We each were allowed to ask for three things. Being a child I would say, “But where is my birthday present. Today is my birthday and I don’t see any present in birthday paper?” My parents soon learned to wrap one in birthday paper.

After entering the Convent and becoming a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity, I wasn’t concerned about getting a birthday present. I saw the true honor it was to be born on the birthday of Jesus. I will never forget how blest I was as a novice to have the privilege of carrying the Baby Jesus after the Midnight Mass into the outside Mary grotto. The novices and I sang Christmas carols at that hour of the night and I had the privilege to lay Baby Jesus in the manger because we shared the same birthday.

Specialness of Sharing Birthday with Jesus

Besides myself, my brother, Gene, thought it was an honor to share the birthday with Jesus. I was only missioned one year in Green Bay, which is 25 miles from my hometown of Luxemburg. That Thanksgiving, my brother Jerry, who is a diabetic, announced that he needed a kidney transplant to avoid going on dialysis. I was the one he asked if he could have one of my kidneys. I was so shocked and not happy. I am the one who always had perfect attendance in school. Did I want to take a chance of getting sick, of maybe someday my one kidney being injured and then I would be in trouble? My sister readily volunteered to donate her kidney. We both were tested for compatibility. I was shocked that I was the perfect match. My brother, Gene, calmly said to me, “I knew it was going to be you because #1 You never wanted to be stationed close to home as you like to travel. #2 You are a nun and #3 You were born on Christmas.” There it was again-the specialness of sharing your birthday with Jesus.

Many years I am in the choir for Midnight Mass and as we are singing away I look at my watch frequently to check the stroke of Midnight. When it is midnight I whisper to Jesus-“Happy Birthday and Happy Birthday to Me.”

Learn more about Sister Carol’s life as a Franciscan Sister by following her Sierra Vista Sister-Franciscan Blog. Click here to read her latest posting. 

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