May 9, 2023 // Diocese

Happy Mother’s Day

During the month of May, Catholics pay special honor to our Blessed Mother, Mary. It is also the month of Mother’s Day, when we honor all mothers. In honor of Mother’s Day, we at Today’s Catholic asked our readers to share a memory about how their mom practiced her Cathoålic faith, how she taught them to be faithful, or why her Catholic faith was so important to them. We hope you enjoy these beautiful stories!

Georgia Shape

Georgia and Joseph Shape

“Thank you for your letter asking for måemories of my mother’s faithfulness. At first glance I thought I was not a good candidate for inclusion in your Mother’s Day section of Today’s Catholic. I put your letter in one of the many “piles” on the kitchen counter, to be pondered upon later and then perhaps be sent to the recycling bin. However, the letter with the big red heading of Today’s Catholic just kept coming to mind … and to the top of the ‘To Do pile!’ I had never considered my own mother’s faith journey before this. I began to search my 80-year-old foggy childhood memories. My mother really did share her faith with me in a memorable way. I just wasn’t looking at her actions with my much older and wiser adult eyes! (It was no wonder that I had needed cataract surgery!) I have YOU to thank for prompting me to open those eyes and examine my true opinion that I have about my mother’s faith. She had indeed been my first and best Catholic spiritual example!

So, it was with these new eyes that I began at the beginning of my faith-filled mother’s own journey as a child herself and then with me, her first child of the next generation.

*Please note: I am 80 years old, so it is kind of a long story!

My mother was baptized into the Catholic faith as Georgia Ann Schlagetter. She was the only child of her Catholic mother, Margaret, and Lutheran father, Carl. (Her father’s family had regretted the marriage of their son to a woman they referred to as ‘a papist’.  He nevertheless promised at her Baptism to raise his daughter as a Catholic but he did not, for the sake of his parents, convert to the Catholic faith himself. He faithfully took his wife and daughter to Mass at Holy Angels Church every Sunday and Holy Day, patiently waiting outside the church for them. He supported the church financially and with his talents as well. He built by hand boxes of walnut wood to house a large wooden family rosary and a smaller statue of The Blessed Virgin. Each classroom in the

Catholic school received one of Carl’s beautifully made boxes to be used by students who took them home in turns to pray the family rosary for world peace, the end of war, and the defeat of communism. (This was in 1950.) He created a steel flagpole for the new Catholic high school building and supported generously every fundraiser that the Catholic school sponsored. He did these things for the Church, his daughter, and then for her four children. Carl and his wife, Margaret, were my mother’s heritage and her examples of faithfulness!

That is where my faith began!

But wait……there’s more!

My mother, Georgia, married my father, Joseph Shape, in the Catholic church rectory in December of 1941, just as the United States entered WWII. My dad enlisted in the Army Air Force, leaving my mother at her home with her parents when he left. He had been a member of the Presbyterian faith and had once considered becoming a minister. With my mother’s encouragement and example, he began instructions in Catholicism and became a very faith-filled and, along with my mother, active member of the Catholic Church. (Pope John XXIII was his favorite!) My mother loved to celebrate all the special saint’s days. (Saint Nicholas Day on December 6 was my personal favorite), but she also was partial to St. Lucy, The Blessed Virgin, Saint Joseph, Saint Patrick, etc. Our home was tastefully appointed with sacred art works, icons, and statuary. Every threatening storm was met with lighted holy candles. My childhood was secure, surrounded by this faith and this three-generation family unit I was a part of.

When my father’s job required us to move from Ohio to Indiana, my mother chose our new home in a place that included a strong Catholic identity which matched our family values. The small community of Huntington included two beautiful Catholic parishes with grade schools and a Catholic high school; a renowned Catholic publishing company; the mother house of Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters; Saint Felix Franciscan Capuchin monastery; and the security of the values of the Church and the community. Following mother’s assuredness and faith in God, we settled into a routine that included new friendships, frequent Mass, priest friends joining us for lasagna dinners, and many adventures that were surrounded by the security of our faith.

Being a child born into the anxieties of a wartime era, the fundamentals of faith that I learned at home, especially with my mother’s influence, I was able to survive and thrive in my uncertain world.

My mother did experience her own anxieties and uncertainty as her life unfolded. Not unlike many of her contemporaries, she had become a woman of strength who could endure many things. (After all, she had lived through all the seasons of Lenten sacrifice required by church rules of her time!) The one thing she could not endure to sacrifice was her romance with her cigarettes and her ashtrays. It was the one thing she did not pass on to her children. Standing with her in her surgeon’s office when she was in her 70s and pondering the implications of her chest x-rays with her, she told me she was not letting lung cancer conquer her. She had great faith in the intercessions of the saints and in particular, the intercession of then Venerable Solanus Casey, OFM, Capuchin, who had also been a citizen of her Indiana hometown. As Father Solanus would have done, my mother “thanked God ahead of time” and went straight home to find her small badge with the relic and picture of Father Solanus. She pinned it to her chest, always to wear it there as she endured months of cancer treatments. She had sure faith that, through the prayers of intercession of this now Blessed priest, she would be delivered from the dreaded disease. And she was, as her x-rays later proved! She wrote to the office in Detroit where Father Solanus’ case for sainthood was being investigated and, with much pride, declared herself healed of lung cancer. Once again, her great faith had been her stronghold, as it had been ‘for ages past.’ Thank you, God!

And this has been my heritage of faith from my mother.

‘Thank you, God!’”

Sharon Shape Solloway

Glenda Stover Casey

“My mother, Glenda Stover Casey, was a very special lady. She was a convert to the Catholic faith when she married my dad, William, in 1940. My Dad was a very good man and a devout Catholic. She was very strict about attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days. Sunday was a very special day. We all went together to Mass and wore our special Sunday clothes and when we returned home, we had our special Sunday dinner in the afternoon. The rest of the day we did no work but spent time together. We prayed before every meal and at bedtime.

This greatly influenced me as I became an adult and mother. Mom was a very kind and generous person. She would help others any time they needed it. One thing that stays with me is when I was in grade school and one of the nuns who was my teacher needed someone to mend and make some new parts to her habit. Well, mom ended up doing it for all the nuns and even made new curtains for the classrooms. I can only hope that I can be as generous as mom was. Mom passed away from Alzheimer’s in 2007. God blessed our family with a very special mom.”

Nancy Snyder

Helen Berghoff

“I was blessed with a beautiful holy mom. Her Catholic faith was of great importance in her life and of course in raising her family. I would see her on her knees in the morning and at night praying. She and dad prayed the rosary every evening together. She went to Mass, Benedictions, Stations, and May Crowning because it was good for us. When she could no longer drive, mom moved to an apartment at Saint Anne’s so that she could attend daily mass. Mom gave me the greatest gift, my Catholic faith. I am so grateful.”

Pat Hayes

Barbara Mulholland

“It is ironic that the name Barbara means “stranger” because I don’t think anyone would classify my mother, Barbara, as a stranger. My mother lived out the call in Hebrews, ‘Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.’ The Christian virtue and responsibility of hospitality was alive in our home through my mother. Our home was a place where friends and family gathered. Because of this I got to witness my mother loving serving others and bringing witnesses of the faith to our home. I feel like every Catholic feast day, it was also a feast day at our home. We would attend Mass as a family and then celebrate with our community. People from all walks of life would come and my mother would embrace them with open arms. Our St. Joseph Day table would have new people every year. She is a shining example of the love of God. In so many ways I have learned from my mother. I truly believe she took the verse, ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it’ from Proverbs to heart, because I, every day, hope to create a home like the one she did for us and our community.”

— Brian Mulholland

Loretta Sherwood

“One of my earliest memories of my mother-in-law to be was her acts of charity, patience, and kindness. She and her three sisters cared for their two mentally disabled brothers upon the death of their widowed mother. Their mother died at the age of 57, so they took it upon themselves to care for their brothers while still raising their own families. The sisters helped with housing, meals, medical visits, and made sure that they were at all the family get-togethers. My mother-in-law never complained or saw it as a burden, but more out of love and honoring the wishes of their mother. I admired the charity given by her and grew to love my “new” uncles by her loving example. Her Catholic virtues of charity, patience, and kindness have always been close to my heart. Soon after, I would convert to Catholic faith.”

Barbara A. Sherwood

Claudine Houser

“Both of my parents raised all five of us to go to mass on Sundays and Holy days. We all attended Catholic school at St. Peter’s and Central Catholic. We always said grace before meals. Mom and Dad were good parents to all five of us.”

Elaine Moser

Germaine Kummer

“The memories of mom are always too many to recall. Besides teaching prayers, I recall a story of what I think is uncommon advice. I had gone off to school and things were not going too well. I called home and related all that was wrong: grades, not making friends, food not like home, homesick, etc. I was looking for sympathy and compassion. What I received was the advice, ‘Go to Confession!’ Thanks Mom!”

Father Bill Kummer

Mary E. Voors

“Throughout her entire life, our mom, Mary E. Voors, lived a life of profound faith and encouraged each of her seven kids to do the same. As we were celebrating her life after her death in 2021, each of her children received a hand-signed note from her which is perhaps the best evidence of her ongoing faith:

I hope you know that from the moment of your conception until the day I died, I have loved you. My prayer and hope is that my vocation as your mother has shown you the path to Heaven. And now, (I hope from the wonder of Heaven), you know without any doubt I truly continue to love you. My prayer, my hope, is that one day we are rejoicing together with God in Heaven. I thank you. I love you. And although I did my best to set a Godly example — keep me in your daily prayer — as I may still be in need.

Her kids and their partners continue to celebrate the level of faith mom experienced in her daily life.”

The Voors Family

Sister Mary Laetitia

“My mom was widowed in 2008 when we lost the rock of our family, my dad. In the next five years, we watched our mother grow in her faith and spend most of her time in the Chapel at St. Jude, praying the rosary, at Mass, or helping homeless/needy in the community. She then felt called to join the Poor Clares, who spent their first 19 years at St. Andrews Parish on New Haven Avenue being cloistered. I cannot tell you the transformation that we have seen in our family. I am one of three children (one older and one younger brother), and our lives have been forever changed. At first, we mourned our loss and felt a huge sense of grief. Since then, we have seen, heard, and experienced God’s grace, mercy, and love in abundance! We are blessed to call her mom and we are more than blessed to know that she is praying for us constantly! On December 28, 2022, she moved to Kokomo to join the Poor Clares there along with some of her other sisters. It is rough being so far from her since she was always in Fort Wayne, but we know that God has a bigger plan! Our family, including her 11 grandchildren, are more than happy with her decision to answer His call, although, it isn’t always easy, we are reminded that only God is in control and knows the plans He has for us. We have learned so much from her and watched each of us grow in faith and love.”

Jill Wright

Elizabeth Mary Ketterer Friedel

“Elizabeth Mary Ketterer Friedel was Catholic in all things that matter. Fiercely independent, strong willed, and fair minded, she was a woman to be reckoned with, respected, and admired by all who were privileged to get to know her.

As a member of Most Holy Name of Jesus (MHN) Catholic Church for 70 years, on Troy Hill, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Elizabeth was baptized, confirmed, graduated from 8th grade, married Anthony (Butch) J. Friedel, celebrated their 25th, 35th, and 50th wedding anniversaries with Masses and renewal of wedding vows in Most Holy Name of Jesus (MHN) Catholic Church on Troy Hill, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Plans were made for the celebration of the 60th wedding anniversary in June of 1990, but Butch died in April so the planned Mass was said for the repose of his soul.

Elizabeth (Betty as known to friends) was the 6th of eight children born to Joseph and Katherine Ketterer, and as a child, attended Mass in the pew at MHN bought by her father. While living on Troy Hill in the shadow of her mother’s attic for 70 years, Betty was a member and officer of the Christian Mothers and Catholic Women’s Union groups of MHN. She and Butch had one child, Arthur, who attended MHN school and was taught by some of the same School Sisters of Notre Dame teachers as Elizabeth had been. The practice of the Catholic faith was transferred to Arthur through his mother as well as the same women who instilled the faith in her. As Arthur was a sickly child, there was always a seven-day candle at Mary’s altar for his change to better health. As Arthur is now 85, the Blessed Mother must have answered Elizabeth’s petition represented by the candle.

When she was 70-years-old, with great sorrow, Elizabeth had to leave her beloved Troy Hill and MHN church due to Butch’s ill health. It was the only day that she cried in her life. They moved to live with their son, a chemistry professor at IPFW in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She lived her faith through the help of Father (now Monsignor) Bill Schooler of St. Jude’s Church. Through friends, she became active in the Ladies Group of St. Jude, a member of the St. Francis University Guild, and called Bingo at St. Anne’s Home every other Monday. In her last years, she said her rosary every night, even after a stroke that left her mind slightly impaired. On Thanksgiving of 2002, she was hospitalized with pneumonia, and when released from the hospital she had forgotten how to walk. She was then admitted to the Canterbury Green Nursing home where rosaries were lost in the bed clothes and on a Wednesday night, five days after admission, she confessed to her son that, ‘I have had enough of this life; I am ready to try another.’ When Arthur got a call at 12:30 a.m. that she was dying, he shouted. ‘Even God listens to her.’

Elizabeth is buried in the plot of MHN cemetery where her father bought the lot when their youngest daughter died of diphtheria in 1928. She is buried there with her mother, father, sister, and husband. Arthur’s name is there as well, waiting.”

— Dr. Arthur Friedel

Mildred Driscoll

My mother, Mildred Driscoll, joined the Catholic faith after she was widowed with five children at the age of 36. Her children were being raised in the Church and attended St. Bernard School in Wabash, Indiana. She felt strongly she could be more of a mentor to her children if she also practiced Catholicism.

She enjoyed this transition and felt her relationship to God helped her with the daunting task of raising her five children. She felt His presence in the various jobs she took to put food on the table and to guide her throughout her life.

My mother lived to the age of 97 and now lies next to her husband and my father in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Lagro, Indiana.”

Tom Driscoll

Esther Kromkowski

“’Do what has to be done at this time. The good Lord has a plan for each of us. He knows where we ‘fit in’ and if we have faith, He will direct our minds and hearts.’ These are my mom’s words, sent as a support note to my son on a retreat. These words and her numerous acts of kindness were always part of her life. Five of us knew Esther Kromkowski as ‘Mom’; 16 as ‘Busia’; many as ‘Aunt Esther’; and many as a friend at St. Adalbert’s Parish. My mom was a blessing in different ways in each of our lives.”

Ann Marie Szymanski

Carol Jane Martin Zech

“When I was a child, we prayed the rosary as a family once a week. Mom attended Mass for all the Holy Days. She and dad enrolled me in Catholic School, St. Thomas, Elkhart, and encouraged me to be an altar boy at St. Thomas. (About 1950)

With the nuns, mom instilled in me to always do the right thing, never lie, and help at home doing our chores. God was first, then mom, then the job, then me.”

John Zackrajsek

Marguerite Walsh

“I have many vivid memories of my mother’s faith and how she lived it. She was from a strong Irish family which included two priests with customs and traditions from ‘back home.’ She was faithful in all aspects of faith and teaching her children was her main mission. She made sure that we knew our prayers, went to Mass weekly, went to confession, understood the history of our faith, the importance of the saints, the sacraments, and how much Jesus loved us. She had a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother, and we gathered often to say the rosary. She lived and talked her religion daily. As a child, we all witnessed this and followed her beautiful example. She took great pleasure inviting the priest to our home for dinner. The family priests were at our home many times and I remember them off by themselves saying their daily prayers while we played in the yard, fully aware of what was going on.”

Dorothy Korte

Luanne Obergfell

“Mom lived her Catholic faith by regularly attending Mass on Sundays, Holy days, and weekdays, and by spending an hour a week in the perpetual adoration chapel at St. Jude usually in the middle of the night in winter or summer for decades. However, the way she most visibly practiced her faith and taught us to be faithful was by her volunteer activities for the Church and the Catholic schools.

She volunteered at St. Jude Parish in Fort Wayne through her membership and leadership in the Rosary Society. As an early member of the Funeral Dinner ministry, she served the church by coordinating and serving hundreds of grieving families. Some weeks, there would be as many as three or four funerals and she, along with other dedicated women, called volunteers to bring food, set up the luncheons, and serve the families. This service to the church went on for years and she only slowed down when she wasn’t physically able to do it anymore though she still made the calls for volunteers to bring dishes.

Another of her favorite activities was helping out at Bishop Dwenger, especially the Saints Alive activities. She was one of the volunteers in the early years, helping coordinate the students and parents who served the dinner. Saints Alive continues to provide support for BDHS and Catholic education today thanks in no small part to those early ‘pioneers’ who designed and built the event.

St. Joseph Hospital was another recipient of her volunteer work as she spent every Friday in the gift shop waiting on customers. When she transitioned to living in St. Anne’s four years ago, she continued to volunteer serving as the President of the Residents Council.

We learned from mom how to be faithful through her practice of the faith through religious observances as well as through her commitment to the Catholic Church by serving others as a volunteer.”

Ann M. Obergfell

Sarah Shank

“My mom has always been my rock. She has taught me life lessons including staying strong in the Catholic faith. She is consistent, fair, loving, and Christ-centered. I am happy to call her my mother. I love you mom.”

David Shank

Betty Huot

“What a timely and meaningful opportunity this is for me to be able to honor my mother for Mother’s Day. My mom resides at St. Anne Home and Retirement Community here in Fort Wayne, and she has just recently been put on hospice.  On the day that I received the invitation to share a memory about my mother’s faith, I had just come home from spending the morning with her at St. Anne’s.

It had been one of those very warm early spring days and I had wheeled Mom out into the courtyard to enjoy the beauty and warmth of the sun, not knowing how much time she will have left to do so. One of the first things I noticed was the little purple violets just emerging from the ground, and I pulled one up and showed it to mom and proceeded to share with her how these violets so delightfully brought to mind the May altars that she had taught me how make for Mary each year when I was growing up. I reminded her about the violets and the lilies of the valley and and especially the fragrant lilacs that surrounded my Mary statue that I enthroned on top of a doily-covered pile of books. As I shared these thoughts with her, I wondered if she could understand what I was saying. The knowing look in her eyes assured me that she did. And then I sang “Immaculate Mary” to her and asked her if she remembered. She smiled and slowly nodded her head yes.

There are so many other things I could share about my mom’s love of Jesus and Mary, and how she taught my sisters and me what it meant to live out one’s faith in both word and deed. Her compassionate letters to others could fill many a box. Her religious paintings and banners adorned many events at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Elkhart where we grew up.

But for me, I believe the most profound sharing of my mom’s faith will now be that moment with the violet in the courtyard … the time when words were not needed … the time when my mom’s precious soul was closer to Jesus and Mary’s than it ever has been before. What an awesome treasure she shared with me! Thank you, mom. Happy Mother’s Day. I love you!”

Diana Peat

UPDATE: Diana sent this note to us at Today’s Catholic on Monday, May 8:

“I just thought that I would share with you that my mother did pass away on Saturday, May 6. She had been unresponsive for many days, but my two sisters and I spent most of our waking hours with her praying, singing, telling stories, and laughing, anticipating her glorious reunion with our dad and all of heaven. I feel it is so special that my tribute to her for Today’s Catholic will be such a timely way to honor her!”

We at Today’s Catholic send our prayers and condolences.

Dolores Keyes

I started to pray for the right words to come to me for this writing for those to realize reading this about the strong faith that my mother had instilled in me growing up. I am the youngest of five children born to Dolores and Bob Keyes. My father passed away beautifully on December 17, 2016. As a child, we never missed Mass unless we were desperately sick. Growing up, mom faithfully took all five of us by herself. My dad converted to Catholicism when I was 10-years-old. It was a trip to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne. Dad was instructed by Monsignor Thomas Duncan. A day I will forever hold in my heart. I am sure his conversion was brought by the faith shown by mom over the years. One of my fondest memories is when mom gathered us around her bed, and on our knees to pray the rosary together during Lent. We would always honor the statue of the Blessed Mother on top of the TV with flowers and a crown on her head during the month of May, a tradition that I still do today in my home. I was blessed to go with my parents to Germany to live when I was 17-years-old. A cherished memory was going to Easter Mass at the Cathedral of Norte Dame with mom. The crowd was enormous. We never thought we would receive the Eucharist, but we made our way to the priest in the crowd. I will never forget the tears of joy in both our eyes. Mom encouraged me to teach my first religious education class when I was 17. Mom said to me that I should share my faith with the children. They were kindergarteners. That was the start of my 38 years teaching religious education. Whenever one of us kids had issues with friends, boyfriends, making decisions, or heaven forbid someone was arriving home late from curfew, mom would tell me to say a prayer quickly! Mom also shared transportation with our Catholic neighbors to get us to weekly catechism classes on Saturday mornings! Later on, married with my own family, I would call mom just to check on her. Today I phone mom every evening (if possible, I miss a few) to say good night. Her final words every night, ‘God Bless you,’ help me feel her love and bring God’s peace. Mom and dad also enjoyed adoration chapel time at ICC Auburn while they lived in Auburn. She and dad faithfully prayed the daily scripture up until dad’s death. Mom is legally blind so now she listens to EWTN. Mom also has written her own prayer for Lent that she had shared with others when living at Sacred Heart in Avilla. She and dad moved to Sacred Heart home in Avilla when the family asked them to make a change. Both gracious, even though we all knew how hard it is to leave your home, however, it was the daily Mass that drew them there. Mom immediately made friends with the Sisters (Clare and Theresa), who are still her friends today. Mom has now moved to Astral at Auburn, closer proximity for my sister and me to see her. She needed a change with dad being gone now as well. They did not have Mass organized at Astral when we moved mom. I called ICC in Auburn to arrange for my friend, Ann Helmkamp, to bring mom Communion when possible. Ann and mom immediately had a bond of faith. Ann tells me she just did not know what it was, but they felt the presence of God together. Ann faithfully brings Communion not only to mom but the other faithful Catholics living at Astral. Ann also organized saying the Rosary once a week with mom and the others who wish to attend. In conclusion, mom is ready to go home to her Heavenly Father, however, we keep telling her God knows we still need her. Who would I phone every evening at 7 p.m. if she was not here with me? I am grateful to God for the blessing of my mom, her faith, and her ever love for HIM.”

Cindy Turner

Anna Gora

“The greatest inspiration in my spiritual life was my grandmother, Anna. She left Poland for a better life when she was 16, leaving behind her entire family. When I was a child staying at her house, my little bedroom window opened onto the front porch. Every night I would listen to her praying the rosary in Polish and saying her evening prayers while swinging on the porch swing. She would ask me to join her and say my prayers.  She had a simple faith, always turning to Jesus in times of hardship. She lost her husband and suffered illness but always remained faithful. She set the example for all of our family.”

Cheryl Adams

Joan Nunn

“My dad and mom, Murray and Joan, taught their five children the meaning of Christmas, the meaning of Easter, and the meaning of Good Friday, but we were not baptized. It’s not something that I fault them for because my mom was my biggest supporter when I walked (maybe ran towards is the correct wording) to my baptism into full communion with the Catholic Church at the 1997 Easter Vigil.

My mom taught me how to live my faith when she came to me three months into her battle with inoperable pancreatic cancer to tell me that she thought that she ‘should be marked for Him before I meet Him,’ and was baptized into full communion with the Catholic Church at age 72 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception by Father Stoyle. I have a photo of her with Bishop D’Arcy taken about 20 minutes before she was baptized that I treasure. It wasn’t until her final nine months (May 2007 — February 2008) that we were able to talk about faith. I had never known that she prayed daily to the Blessed Mother for her five children after my dad’s death in 1973. She had never told anyone that she prayed several times a day for anything and everything that crossed her mind. I had never known that the name of her guardian angel was revealed to her when we lost my dad, or that she was revealed the name of my guardian angel as well (not something that I had ever thought to ask to be revealed to me).

My mom taught me how to live my faith when she gave an example of how to die. I asked her how she was able to sit each day and look at her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who were around her and whom she loved and not want to scream out to God and be angry about being told that she would have 30 days of life left (she battled and lived nine months and 15 days total). I asked her if she had ever gotten angry at God and wanted to walk away from everything, did she scream out to Him, ‘Why me?’ Her response to me, “No, I thank Him and say, ‘Why not me?’ would not be completely understandable until nine years later through my grief with the loss of my husband and had to face all that my mom lived through in her life.

Being with my mom the last nine months of her life was a blessing, and having the humble joy of bringing her Communion and looking into her eyes and saying, ‘The Body of Christ’ and her responding ‘Amen’ never failed to have tears falling because, after 40 years of living the life that she and my dad gave me, I was bringing her a piece of Him whom she sought her whole life so that she was able to experience fully His unconditional love for her the last six months of her life.”

Janice Martin WP

Mary Martha Snyder

“My Mother was the most influential person in my relationship with God. Attending Sunday Mass was always of utmost importance. When I was a young girl, my family lived in Zanesville, Indiana. During the war, my father worked seven days a week at General Electric in Fort Wayne. Not having any other way to church, my mother would get the five of us children up at 5 a.m. to get ready and ride with my father as he went into work. We would stand on the corner of Taylor and Brooklyn Avenue, during cold, hot, rain, or snowy weather, to catch the city bus to the Cathedral so we could go to Mass. After Mass, we would again take the bus to grandma and grandpa’s house and wait until my dad got off work. Mom emphasized the importance of learning the prayers and saying the rosary. Eighty years later, when I say the Hail Mary, the Memorare, and other prayers, I remember practicing them while we were doing dishes after supper. Yes, my mother was committed to bringing up her eight children in the Catholic faith and being an excellent influence in their relationship with God.”

Mary Lou Snyder

Carole Elder

Born with a lovely singing voice, our mom was always involved in the liturgy as a cantor or choir member. She often sacrificed her work lunch hours and evening family dinners for rehearsals and practices in order to be prepared for the upcoming weekend Mass. Our weekend Mass obligations and holidays revolved around her liturgy commitments. As we grew, she encouraged our participation in the Mass as altar servers, cross bearers, and lectors. Her steadfast commitment and contribution to the liturgy and our parish with her valuable time and musical talent fostered a strong Catholic foundation in our childhood home. 

Happy Mother’s Day, mom! We love you. Love, Christy, Jeremy, and Joe.”

Jeremy Elder

Sally Hickey

My mom, Sally, raised us in the Church with a Catholic education and afterward encouraged an adult conversion with a Catholic High School education, good movies, frequenting the sacraments, EWTN, and just living Catholic with all the loving sacrifice that implies.

Chris Hickey

Marcella Kriss

My mother’s name is Marcella (Sramek) Kriss. While she passed away many years ago (1994), she is frequently in my thoughts and prayers. I am the oldest of six siblings, four girls and two boys, and we grew up in the small town of North Judson, Indiana. Since we lived just two blocks from our church and school, my life, at least, revolved around the Saints Cyril and Methodius Parish.

Going to Mass on Sundays and feast days was always an event and a priority for my mom and dad, even with six children. I remember getting dressed up for Sunday Mass and other special feasts such as Christmas and Easter. For Easter we would all have new matching coats and hats of our favorite color. My mother was a beautician, so my sisters and I always had beautiful hairdos. My mother and her faith were the mainstay of our family. Prayers before meals and praying the rosary together were family traditions for many years. Mom always had her prayer books and rosary nearby. To this day I have a well-worn rosary she used and which I use myself from time to time. I even have a rosary collection of my own!

Even the television shows we watched revolved around our Catholic faith. I remember the family watching episodes of the Fulton J. Sheen show, “Life is Worth Living,” on a regular basis. My siblings and I attended our parish school, where mom was frequently involved in preparations for special events like May Crowing, First Holy Communion, Confirmation, and other parish events. Photos taken by my dad, or family movies recorded by my Grandpa Sramek captured our participation in these special events. The Sisters of Saint Francis of Perpetual Adoration from Mishawaka, Indiana staffed our parish school. Through grade school and high school, I worked with the sisters in the school and as a sacristan. I remember many enjoyable moments working with Sister Jane in the sacristy. She was just a few years older than I was at the time. I often attended early morning Mass to sing in the choir.

The faith of my mother inspired my own faith as a child and through my early life. My mom went through some tough times, but even today her faith inspires me. I am now a member of the Sisters of Saint Francis of Perpetual Adoration serving at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, Indiana.”

Sister Elise Kriss

Dolores Hilligoss

“My Mother, Dolores (Nix) Hilligoss, went to church at St. Catherine Nix Settlement her entire life starting in 1917 to 2001. She said the rosary every day, went to church every Sunday and Holy Day, belonged to the Rosary Group, May Altar in our home every Mother’s Day, and raised four children that are very strong in their faith today.

Thank goodness she was our mother.”

Nancy Josephson

Theresa Gabet

“My mom, Theresa Gabet, has lived her Catholic faith fully. The day started with the morning offering, and daily Mass as often as she could. We said the family rosary every evening. She frequently invoked the help of the Blessed Mother, the poor souls, and another favorite, the infant Jesus of Prague for any special needs. She did all she could to make our home a happy one. Even with nine children, she and dad were charitable to others. A couple examples are that they would pick up children from the orphanage who had nowhere to go for the holidays and take food and treats to the poor at Miss Virginia’s. One time, my mom was visiting a friend in a nursing home and one of the residents who was having a birthday did not have a cake. This made mom feel so bad that for years she would get a list of the residents’ birthdays and make each one an angel food cake for their special day. These are just a few examples of her kindness that impacted us. My siblings and I feel so blessed and are so thankful to God for giving us such a wonderful mother!”

Annette Sisco

Valeria Buchanan

If I was to list all of my memories of my mom, I would need an entire book, so I will condense my thoughts. My Mom was the 5th of 13 children and each had their specific chores, hers being baking. From birth to death, religion was an integral part of her daily life. Growing up, she instilled a strong religious presence in our lives as well. We attended Catholic school through 8th grade even though it was an economic strain with five kids. We always said grace before every meal and attended Sunday Mass, usually as a family. Mom was strong, kind, thoughtful, helpful, and available. I am proud to be her son.”

Dick Buchanan

Marian Herman

My Mom’s name is Marian Herman. She is 92-years-old and a member of St. Joseph Parish in Mishawaka. We are a family composed of nine children, six daughters and three sons. Seven of us live in the South Bend-Mishawaka area and two are out of town. Mom taught all of us to be proud of our faith. We then passed that down to our children and her grandchildren. There are 18 grandchildren, one of whom is deceased. She also has five great-grandchildren, all of whom are strong in their faith.

Mom has had both joy and sorrow in her life, starting at the young age of 13. Her faith persevered and has gotten her through the most difficult times. She was a rosary maker for nearly 38 years and has passed that passion on to her daughters and granddaughters. Mom would make both rosaries and one-decade rosaries and send them to nursing homes. When Bishops Rhoades became the bishop, she even made him a rosary with Notre Dame colors. She has taught all of her nine children to never give up and to always trust in God. He will always be there for you. Be it joy or sorrow, she has taught her family to give everything to God, and He will be there.

Happy Mother’s Day to our mom who is a wonderful mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother! God Bless her and may He continue to be at her side. Love you mom.”

Kathy Wisniewski

Ruth Hoffman

“My mother, Ruth Hoffman, was a very beautiful, strong, faith-filled woman. She taught the four of us to be respectful and kind by the way she lived and treated others. It was very important to her that we learn more about our Catholic faith by attending Sacred Heart Catholic School and Bishop Luers High School. Sunday Mass was an important part of our lives. Because of her strong devotion to Mary, we prayed the rosary as a family daily.

Mom passed away in 1984. I still miss her.”

Maureen Ousley

Cheryl Hickey

We all learn from our parents, but we learn something special from our mother. Whenever we find ourselves in challenging times or difficult situations, we can confide in our mother who seems to always provide a comforting embrace or words of wisdom. I believe this is where my devotion to our Blessed Mother first came from — seeing the example of my own mother. There have been many cases in my life where a challenging situation presents itself and I instinctively turn to our Blessed Mother who provides the same comfort and wisdom my own mother provides. One situation still remains clearly in my mind where I found myself at a grotto praying during a challenging time. While walking at the grotto in front of a statue of the Blessed Mother, I called my mom on the phone, and it brought such peace and serenity. I turn to our Blessed Mother in times of need because of what I first witnessed in my own mother, and they are both instrumental in my vocational discernment. May our Blessed Mother continue to look over you, mom, and surround you with her love. I love you!”

— Michael Hickey

Betty O’ Shaughnessey

“My mother, Betty O’Shaughnessey, was born a Roman Catholic in 1929. She has spent her entire life  living and praying her faith. She and dad shared that faith by providing a Catholic education for their children.

Mom can be described by many words that begin with the letter C.

Catholic — Mom always led by example.

Caring — Mom loved each of us unconditionally since the day we were born and helped us to be happy and successful.

Courageous — Mom raised 10 children as a stay-at-home mother. Our dad, Kenneth, died in 1994. Mom continued to lead her family of grown children.

Considerate — Mom always thought of helping others first.

Clean — Boy did we!! We did laundry, washed dishes, and shared in the farm chores.

Calm — Mom never raised her voice, yelled, or said a bad word.

Complimentary — It never mattered how bad a situation may seem, she always had a positive word.

Charitable — Mom was a volunteer organist for nearly 50 years at St. Rose in Monroeville and shared her love of music at the school with the children.

On Mother’s Day, her 10 children, 10 in-laws, 29 grandchildren, 37 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren are proud to show her their love. Happy Mother’s Day!”

Donna Hazelett

Mary Lou Rahr and Mia DeBock

Our Catholic faith was always a big part of our life. My mother, Mary Lou Rahr, was born in the Netherlands to Mia and Jacque DeBock. They attended Mass every Sunday and Holy day. They had photos of Jesus and The Blessed Mother in their home, as well as a statue of Mary. They immigrated to the United States when my mom was 14. They moved to a house in a small Pennsylvania town that was within walking distance to the only Catholic Church. They continued to attend Mass every Sunday and Holy day and they were very active in the church. My Opa (Dutch for grandpa) even helped with the accounting. After my Opa died, my Oma (Dutch for grandmother) retired, and she then went to Mass every day. Watching their devotion to the faith left a life-long impression on me.

My mother married my father, who was Christian but not Catholic. He agreed to raise any children they had in the Catholic faith. When he was transferred to Huntington, Indiana, for his job, my mother immediately found St. Mary Catholic Church and loved the church and the people. My younger sister and brother and I all went to St. Mary Catholic school. We attended Mass every weekday, Sunday, and Holy Day through our grade-school years.

My mother was thrilled when I chose the University of Saint Francis for college. She never failed to tell me how proud she was of me! When I got the job as Secretary for Communications here at the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, she cried and told me that it was one of the best days of her life.

I know she missed going to Mass when the pandemic hit. In late December of 2021, my beautiful mother ended up in the hospital with COVID. While in the ICU, she prayed her rosary many times a day. Father Thomas Zehr was such a blessing for us during this time. We were not given much time and knew that she was not going to make it. Father Thomas came to the hospital to spend time with her, offer confession, the Holy Eucharist, and last rites.

My mother died on December 23, 2021. I miss her more than words can ever say! I am beyond grateful for her faithfulness and for teaching me how to love and live my Catholic faith. Happy Mother’s Day!

–– Nicole Hahn

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