Good morning. My name is Cathie Schneider and I’d like to tell you a story. It’s a true story and it happened here at St. Clare. When I told my son I was going to tell a Resurrection story, he said you don’t have a story. What will you say?
After giving it much thought, I think a resurrection story is about your personal relationship with Jesus. What Jesus asks of us is so simple, exceedingly difficult often times, but simple. We are asked to love, serve, and forgive others and ourselves and to trust in our Lord and have faith. We are asked to do this on a daily basis. Sometimes this faith journey is smooth and easy, and at other times it is full of delays, detours and pot holes.
When we moved here from Milwaukee twenty-three years ago, we were guided to buy a home on a truly wonderful block filled with families and lots of children that is also within walking distance of St. Clare. We have been blessed with kind, caring neighbors, many of whom are St. Clare parishioners. It was our former next door neighbor who introduced us to St. Clare by recommending the co-op preschool for our then almost 3 year old daughter. We immediately joined St. Clare where we have gotten to know so many great people. Being active in a co-op preschool gave us an opportunity to get involved and feel a part of the parish community. I am reminded so often how truly good the people of St. Clare are.
Our three children attended religious education at St. Clare from preschool through 8th grade. During that time I was a catechist for many years at several grade levels. I was a teacher in a Catholic school many years ago and attended Catholic schools for every grade except kindergarten! Being a part of a parish and being actively involved has always been an important part of my life. After our last child was confirmed, I decided to “retire” from teaching religious education. I was fortunate to have been a stay at home mom and was able to volunteer in many capacities over the years. But now the question was, what should I do next, now that my children were almost grown.
After much searching and praying, asking our Lord to lead me in the direction He wanted me to follow, I went back to school at almost 50. It was not easy, especially having to take Anatomy and Physiology over the summer! My college aged daughters and I used to commiserate about how much time we had to spend studying! There were so many times over those 3 years that I would get discouraged and hear a voice very clearly telling me to trust and have faith. Somehow every obstacle placed before me was pushed aside and I was able to successfully complete the program. I just needed to continually trust and have faith.
I truly believe our Lord placed me with my clinical instructor to lead me to the job I enjoy now. I used to say I wanted a part time job I didn’t have to search for that required no documentation or medical reimbursement and involved wellness! Not too much to hope for! My ideal job was created for me before I graduated from the program. Again, trust and have faith. I have been there almost four years now working with elderly people who speak little to no English but they all understand the language of kindness, respect, and love. Many of them are Christian Iraqi refugees. I think about how difficult it would be as an older person to have to move to a country with a completely different language and culture. I am reminded daily to do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Love, serve, and forgive.
I have been involved with the Christian Service Commission here at St. Clare for the past several years. We have the best group of people and I’m so grateful that I responded to an invitation in the parish bulletin. We are actively involved in programs that serve the needs of the parish as well as the community and beyond. We also have fun as we serve and it has been another great way to get to know some wonderful people. As I said before, there are so many good people here at St. Clare.
My husband and I were so fortunate to be able to travel on the pilgrimage to the Czech Republic and Poland with Fr. Andrew along with a group of people from St. Clare, Canada, and other parishes. When we talked about going I reminded my husband that there would be daily Mass. He assured me that he could handle it. For both of us, the trip exceeded our expectations. We were both in awe of the numerous beautiful Churches we visited and the holy Masses our group was able to celebrate. He loved the history and I loved witnessing the deep devotion to Our Blessed Mother and the prayerfulness of the Polish people. What an amazing group of people that has displayed such trust and faith throughout history. Learning about many Polish saints and witnessing the love of our Lord and the Blessed Mother has helped me grow in my own faith. Praying the rosary on the bus as we were half asleep and saying prayers I hadn’t said in years has helped me strengthen my relationship with our Lord and the Blessed Mother. Since then I answered the invitation to participate in the 33 Days to Morning Glory program during Lent. It was another opportunity to learn more about Our Lady and two great Polish saints, St. Maximillian Kolbe and St. Pope John Paul 2 as well as other great Marian saints. We concluded the retreat with a consecration to Mary and a renewed relationship to Jesus through her.
I try to begin and end each day with a prayer and look upon each day as a gift. I have so much to be grateful for and thank God for the blessings as well as the difficulties. When I get fearful and disheartened, I pray that Jesus will lead my family and me in the direction He wants us to follow and to remember to trust and have faith. St. Clare is a warm and welcoming parish. We are so blessed.