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50 Hours With God View Comments
By Kathryn Begnaud

EIGHT DAYS before our mother died, on April 4, 2011, we finally heard the truth. Or rather, the truth had finally been spoken to us in a clear, concise and unvarnished manner. Prior to that afternoon, Mom, Dad and we 11 children had each been living privately with the truth of Mother’s illness nibbling away at our minds. Only rarely did we acknowledge to one another where these diseases generally lead: to the church cemetery. To speak of death aloud would have been a betrayal to our mother. Instead, by way of tacit agreement, an unspoken understanding developed among us — an agreement that occasionally prompted us to make secretive and worried eye contact in a way that neither Mom nor Dad would detect. We were in the fourth week of Lent when truth arrived — a little over halfway through the miseries and mysteries — and we would not realize until after her death that we were about to experience the most honest Lenten preparatory time of our lives, the holiest and most profound Easter and, most of all, a glimpse of Pentecost. But before those many graces were poured over us, we dug in our heels. Firmly. Resolutely. Nobody goes willingly to a cross. Even the disciples argued vehemently against it. And so, for
20 months, we tiptoed around the truth in a sort of dream state, praying that truth would not rise up and find our ears.
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Kathryn Begnaud is a freelance writer from Woodbury, Minn. She is married with five sons.

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Angela Merici: Angela has the double distinction of founding the first teaching congregation of women in the Church and what is now called a “secular institute” of religious women. 
<p>As a young woman she became a member of the Third Order of St. Francis (now known as the Secular Franciscan Order), and lived a life of great austerity, wishing, like St. Francis, to own nothing, not even a bed. Early in life she was appalled at the ignorance among poorer children, whose parents could not or would not teach them the elements of religion. Angela’s charming manner and good looks complemented her natural qualities of leadership. Others joined her in giving regular instruction to the little girls of their neighborhood. </p><p>She was invited to live with a family in Brescia (where, she had been told in a vision, she would one day found a religious community). Her work continued and became well known. She became the center of a group of people with similar ideals. </p><p>She eagerly took the opportunity for a trip to the Holy Land. When they had gotten as far as Crete, she was struck with blindness. Her friends wanted to return home, but she insisted on going through with the pilgrimage, and visited the sacred shrines with as much devotion and enthusiasm as if she had her sight. On the way back, while praying before a crucifix, her sight was restored at the same place where it had been lost. </p><p>At 57, she organized a group of 12 girls to help her in catechetical work. Four years later the group had increased to 28. She formed them into the Company of St. Ursula (patroness of medieval universities and venerated as a leader of women) for the purpose of re-Christianizing family life through solid Christian education of future wives and mothers. The members continued to live at home, had no special habit and took no formal vows, though the early Rule prescribed the practice of virginity, poverty and obedience. The idea of a teaching congregation of women was new and took time to develop. The community thus existed as a “secular institute” until some years after Angela’s death.</p> American Catholic Blog I hear far more people discuss the presence of evil in their lives than they do the supreme power of grace. God is bigger than evil!

 
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