Annunciations Continue to Happen

by Sister Julie Ann on December 4, 2008

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.

7 thoughts on “Annunciations Continue to Happen”

  1. Sister David Marie,
    Thank you for sharing this most remarkable story. It presents us with becoming a member of the community without the total support and approval of those we love… at least not initially. I’m so grateful that you were brave enough and cooperated with grace to join us.

  2. Hope par excellence! Sister David Marie, you are proof that ‘nothing is impossible with God’. As your family was enriched by each of its members, so are all of ours as well. What happens to one, affects all. Your presence among us Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity also is precious and significant.

  3. Sister Natalie says:

    Thank you, Sister David Marie, for sharing “how you got here!” You are an inspiration for me. God asked hard things of you as your life unfolded and you continued to respond in faith with a positive attitude and a joyful disposition. God bless you as you live each day serving the One you have grown to love. Thank you for the witness of your “YES!”

  4. Sister Marcolette Madden says:

    Sister David Marie, your story is very revealing. I had no idea you faced such adamant opposition from your Dad. Whether you realized it or not, you must have sensed your vocation as “a pearl of great price” because you risked family support to pursue it. Such strong conviction is striking and inspiring.

    What is your guardian angel doing these days? 🙂

  5. Courtney says:

    These images are very beautiful. Stained glass windows is one of the things that makes churches and chapels so beautiful because of the time people put into making them. I especially like the image of the dove when the sun was shining through it it looked absolutely beautiful and kinda inspiring us all to let our lights shine.

  6. Courtney, you are not alone in appreciating the mysterious, magical and illusionary qualities of glass. Thanks for commenting on these cherished windows.

  7. Sister Rosangela says:

    I had heard in the past that Sister David Marie and some other Sisters had a hard time entering Religious life because of parental opposition. I always thought that must take an awful lot of courage. The call of God must have been very strong. We never know what hard thing God is going to ask of us, but we always know He will help us accept it. I think many times God uses Angels to do this. They are not like the angels in these beautiful stained glass windows, but ordinary people who are there for us.

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