It is so difficult to employ three women, be so much of a pro-life activist and hear that all three of them are expecting babies! But I AM so HAPPY about each human being that You have cared for and loved from the very beginning of their existence!
If – as they say – when You give a couple a baby, You’ll also provide for it, please, let me – from the crumbs of your generosity – be able to maintain my vet’s office…
On April, 29 we celebrate three anniversaries – very important for The Family Support Foundation.
Firstly – it is the 67th Anniversary of the liberation of Dachau concentration camp, among the prisoners of which was Archbishop Kazimierz Majdański – the Originator and Founder of our foundation. The camp was liberated during the novena to St. Joseph held by Polish priests kept there – in which they asked for rescue. When they initiated the novena on April 22, 1945 – in the face of the planned final extermination – they promised to serve the idea od revival of families (among other things) as a form of thanksgiving for being saved from death.
Hence – the next anniversary: 37 years ago a scientific center for studies on family was set up – now it’s the Faculty for Studies on the Family Science at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, Poland. It is a way to serve families – as promised to St Joseph. The Faculty has been our partner in countless undertakings.
And finally – exactly 5 years ago Archbishop Kazimierz Majdański left for a better place (that time it was also The Good Shepherd Sunday, as it is today).
Is it a mere coincidence or the sign of God’s Providence?
A couple of years ago, during the reatreat for families on the Wolin Island, Poland, Fr. Jay used this metaphor of a river to talk about married life. He said, over a time, sludge deposits in the riverbed. And you have to be able to deal with this muddy staff.
Sledge is whatever hurts us in marriage – misunderstandings, unkind words, hurtful behavior, unfulfilled expectations, etc.
Fr. Jay encouraged us to keep “desludging” our relationship, so that the water might run deep and stay clear. We took to heart this piece of advice. Many of our conversations since then could be tagged “desludging.” I appreciate especially the times when we fight together for a “Better Me” as a wife, husband, mum, dad, friend, … When we talk quite openly about the things that have hurt us or were difficult to accept, and then we can think on the ways of how to express ourselves in a way which doesn’t cover us in sludge, but “lifts us up.”
It’s not pleasant to listen about your mistakes, but such conversations are really beneficial. First of all, I begin feeling grateful that I’m not alone in my struggle for a “Better Me.” That it is not only God, who’s trying to protect and develop as much good as possible in me, with His unswearving patience – but there’s also my Husband, “who cares so much for me.”.
“Desludging” is the method we have tested over the years – a way of being able today to shape our “better tomorrow.”
How good it is to have a place you may call “home”. Even if you are able to feel at home everywhere you are 😉 , it’s good to have such point on the map. When your Home is giving you support, you have the sense of living together with them anywhere you go. And you are not alone in hardships. And you don’t even need Skype to ask for prayer, because it is obvious that your family will keep in their everyday prayer each person who has some special task to do outside. My “family” take part in one-hour adoration and community Eucharist each day, through which we stay deeply “connected” with all the Home members.
The homeward journey took loooong. Of course there were those typical adventures as: the car that was to have taken us to the airport broke down, so we had to get a taxi, some mechanical failure of the plane we were to have flown by (in the end, they replaced it with some other one), some error in the baggage hadling system, so our suitcases didn’t fly in with us, and waiting a very long time for a plane in Amsterdam, because our scheduled plane hadn’t waited for us and departed in due time. So we had to wait for another – and last possible – flight to Warsaw.
That’s very good the journey took so long, because I could take time to thank for all the goodness I could experience. I could also share – with the people unnknown to me before, but so close because of their faith – the experience of faith and God’ love. I could be not only a teacher or shepherd, as usual, but also a brother, who can admire the way the others are able to believe God and fight to stay faithful in their lives. “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever”!
But also in Amsterdam I could feel at home – in quite a diferent sense, though. I could hear this familiar comment from someone seeing a priest in a cassock: “I’m leaving, I’m allergic to a dog collar”. Which reminds me of the universal truth that “nemo prophet in patria sua”. Which does not mean you should leave your country more often. There’s simply still a lot to be done here, too. That’s why I’ve been lecturing today since 8 a.m.
I don’t know how about elsewhere in Poland, but in Wrocław it’s windy. This is good, because we may hope Fr. Jay has been blown back to the country. We were so happy to read what he shared with us as an overseas correspondent. Thanks to that we could be a bit there, in the heart of the “happening” of things that were not quite ordinary. And we are so grateful to Mrs Sue Hilgers for her post – shining with the break of the day – in which we can see so clearly that the Holy Family chooses most surprising and beautiful places to receive guests – their loved children. Right in the middle of a highway!
No less extraordinary did it feel to greet among our Readers the Organizers and Participants of the Educational Program at the Pope Paul VI in Omaha. It is our great wish that you could feel in the Harbour completely at home. We would like you to find here a place of taking a rest before getting back to your chores – a place you can always return to.
We would like all the Readers to feel invited to share your experience and words of encouragement with others. We’re looking forward to the “postcards” from the places – near or far away – where you can live by faith. We’re waiting for your texts which we could post in The Harbour. Please, mail them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each state in the United States has a slogan that represents their state. The slogan for Nebraska is “The Good Life!”. Nebraska is an excellent state to raise a family. It is not a very large state. In fact, there are more cows than people who live here!
Fr. Jay left Nebraska today for his home in Poland. During his time here he was the spiritual shepherd for 100 students from 16 countries and 29 states in the United Stateswho attended our advanced training in FertilityCare and NaProTechnology. These students greatly appreciated his participation as a spiritual father to them.
This is the first time in over 30 years of conducting our education programs that we had a priest as a fulltime Faculty member. The Pope Paul VI Institute Faculty and Staff were very grateful that Fr. Jay could come to Nebraska to assist us.
Our program concluded late Saturday evening. This morning, I drove from Omaha to Lincoln, Nebraska and took this photo of the Chapel of the Holy Family* that serves the travelers along interstate 80 that connects much of the United States east to west.
For each of us, we want to live the “Good Life” but, even more importantly, a better life! Certainly, with a focus on faith and family, this will happen! Fr. Jay, and his love of the Lord and sharing with us during his stay here, indeed helped us focus on leading lives that will be not just “good” but better and better.
Thank you, Fr. Jay!
Sue Hilgers, Omaha, April 23, 2012
*More impressions from the Holy Family shrine at the outskirts of Omaha, Nebraska:
In the US people often address a periest – even in those “unpriestly” places as a shop, office, cafe or airport – using the word “Father”. This is how they react when seeing a priest wearing a clearical collar. Sometimes, when they pass me by, like in those miles of halls of American airports, they simply lower their head, saying just this one word: Father.
They can see a priest in a cassock very rarely. And then the reactions are even more interesting. The two described below are from yesterday.
One man (as it turned out later in the conversation – a many-time golf champion) approached me in a farmacy and asked what’s THIS – the thing I was wearing – called, because he remebered THIS from his childhood, but had forgotten the name. I had to spell it. He wrote it down on a piece of paper.
And since the hotel coffee was undrinkable, I always tried to go to the nearby cafe with a very good coffee (of course, for the reasons of social integration, not taste ;-), to remain alert and not to sleep on the lectures or – God forbid – during confessions). I opened the door for a lady who thanked me twice. Once by saying: “Thank you, Father” (for she was a bit puzzled someone opens the door for a woman in this part of the world). Then she said to the person behind the counter that she would pay for the priest’s coffee (here the priest was quite surprised).
Some other time, a woman approached me asking if I where I was from and if I was a monk – because I was in a cassock (that happened a couple of times during my stay). It helps a bit when I say I’m from Poland. And the first that comes to mind when people hear “Poland” is John Paul II and… St. Faustina with her Divine Mercy.
This is how the security gaurd greeted me at the airport while checking my documents: Have a happy Feast of Divine Mercy”, which was the following Sunday.
This year It’ll have been 30 years since I the cassock. And I still like wearing it very much. And it feels great when people smile thanks to that. I love watching the world through the greeting of a cordial smile. So people, keep smiling. Someone’s there waiting to be smiled at from the heart.
You go to a restaurant. The line is long. You get a device that will “call” you once there’s a free table for you. Or you order a meal in a diner (a less elegant place) and at the till you get the same device, which will tell you when you can pick up your order.
So we’re sitting here, a dozen or so of us, happy that this hectic week is slowly coming to an end. We’re chatting about life in general. Every now and then someone’s device starts vibrating and flashing, so he or she disappears to be back in a while and be able to enjoy their meal.
Even though it’s not the first time I’ve been to the US, I can’t resist wondering at how many people here come to restaurants and diners. In Poland it is still some sort of luxury or extravagance, here – it’s the life style. You come here often to have a meal together. Whole families with children, or married couples.
I would like it to be this way in our country, too. I wish eating out didn’t strain the household budget this much. I wish the wives could be happy while someone else took care of them and the meal, and they could just enjoy being together with their loved ones. I wish the families were able to care for the time only for themselves. Fortunately, we love celebrating in our families. That’s good, because… we have another occasion to meet and be together. Just so. Just for ourselves. Because there’s no greater joy than being with those you love.
We tend to associate Creighton Model with an aid in infertility treatment. But CREIGHTON MODEL FertilityCare™ System – is something more. It’s the expression of care for the other person’s whole life. The care for their health together with the truth of his or her vocation. Health is necessary not only for a woman who wants to be a mum. Also a consecrated woman, a young girl, an elderly lady, a mum of five.
The care for a woman’s health, but also caring for getting to know thoroughly the truth of her sexuality. I lookat the lecturers with amazement. They are not only very competent specialists, but also people of great respect for others. Owing to that respect for another person – thetraining takes so long (13 months) and finishes with a very difficult exam.
You can give the others hope only if it’s grounded in truth and solid knowledge.
I look with no lesser amazement at the course participants. I’ve spent the whole week with them. I listened to their confessions and the stories of the hard times they are given by their colleagues. I prayed together with them and we had meals together. I’ve grown close to them, because we hare the same values. We were like a one big family.
Today they had their serious – though not final – exam. They stayed up late at the tables in all the lecture rooms. A German and a Polish woman were studying hard together, Pablo – from Cuba – with his wife, a group from Mexico and Latin America were revising their knowledge in Spanish, and the doctors were going through dr Hilger’s several-hundred-page long book. The seem to be learning for the exam, but in reality – they all see their patients in their mind: there is this woman who’s waiting for help, as she’s been dealing with the infertility problem for dozen years or so, there’s this girl, who’s in pain due to excessive bleeding, there is finally this wife who experiences extremely difiicult PMS (so does her husband – together with her).
In a while we’ll take part in the Eucharist. I would love to tell them that I admire them and that their effort will be awarded in Eternity.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.” (Matthew 25:40)