Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Telling Our Stories

By Mary Ann Hughes
Mary Ann Hughes

I was talking with a dear friend recently, and she told me about the night that she met her husband.

It was fun to listen as she talked. She’s quite elderly, but as she was remembering that happy moment she became animated; in fact, she was transformed into a lovely young woman who was right on the brink of something wonderful.

Like any other couple married 60-plus years they faced many hardships together, particularly with health concerns; but I think the stardust from those early courtship days helped them in hard times.

We each have our stories. At my age, I have lots of them. How I met my husband. How we purchased our home. The births of my children and my grandchildren. Weddings. Baptisms. Funerals.

It’s funny. When we tell the important stories of our lives, when we reach back and touch those moments, we can feel the happiness because the in-between years dissolve away.

I think it’s important to stay in touch with those memories, and good friends let us do that. They listen as we share. And we listen to them as well.

But what about our faith lives?

Those memories are important too.

I vividly remember standing at the altar and looking into my bridegroom’s eyes.

My husband’s uncle, Father Bert Wilzbacher, was a Jesuit missionary in India. We had scheduled our wedding around one of his visits home to Indiana. It was such an honor to have him officiate at our marriage celebration.

About 10 years later, he was home again the month that my son received his First Communion. I still remember our parish priest graciously stepping aside so that Father Bert could be the one to give the Eucharist to his great-nephew.

My Catholic faith has sustained me in good times, and it has carried me through some very hard times.

Over the years, I have evolved from being a Catholic who attended Mass to being a Catholic who loves the Mass.

I’m in a spiritual-direction group, and recently we were talking about our blessings.

I mentioned two recent morning that had the most glorious sunrises, all brilliant golds and oranges, which filled the entire sky.

One of the women quoted the words from Psalm 118: By the Lord has this been done. It is wonderful in our eyes.

We agreed. At our age, we know with certainly that all good things come from God.

As we all nodded, someone cited the next sentence in Psalm 118: This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad.

That sweet moment is now a memory.

Noted Catholic theologian Father Henri Nouwen once suggested that our futures depend on how we remember our pasts. It’s a good suggestion.

Perhaps it’s time. Time to remember our faith stories, to share them, and to be strengthened by them.