I've written a lot about our friends at the Gift of Grace House. Run by Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity, this is a home in Atlanta for women with HIV/AIDS. It is also where Ross and I had a part of our first date, where we considered our "home" church to be, where we brought Mary Kate for Mass as a baby, where we attended when I was on bedrest. The sisters were one of the first calls when we found out we were pregnant with Mary Kate and Thomas. They have been the first call when we needed prayers. They came to the hospital when MK was born and came to pray with me when I was in pre-term labor with Thomas. I knew them before I knew Ross. These special women (the sisters and the ladies they care for) were my family before Ross and Mary Kate and Thomas. They watched me grow my family and have been an indescribable source of encouragement and inspiration every day of this new vocation.
We have known for some time that we would be losing Sister Brunetta. We know her better than the other sisters since, while not customary, she has been there since 2005. She was one of the first sisters I met and has been the closest to us. Having her for so long is unusual and was a gift. But in some ways, it makes knowing I'll likely never see her again even harder. The Sisters strive for their attachments to only be to Jesus. For this reason, they don't have personal possessions and do not maintain direct contact after they have been reassigned. We will ask special permission to send letters and pictures but may not be able to do so. We are excited for a new challenge for her, and happy that the difficulties she faced in Atlanta are over for her. We have met her replacement, Sister Justice, and it took Thomas all of .2 seconds to smile and laugh at her. I know the Gift of Grace house and the special sisters will remain in our lives. But oh, oh how we miss the ones who have already left and how we will always, always, always remember and love Sister Brunetta. She has our most fervent prayers for all the intentions on her heart and we know she will always pray for us and our babies.
Lots of these are repeats and are out of order but I am happy to have them all in one place.
|the convent chapel and their "MC knees" (toughened from praying many times each day with their knees directly on the concrete floor. I can barely make it through one Mass in their home on the concrete)|
|puffy and pregnant with Mary Kate. The Sisters and Rabi, one of my former Grady patients and mine and Ross's goddaughter.|
|snuggles with Sister Abelet, waiting on Father|
|Sister Brunetta meeting Thomas for the first time|
listening to Father's Homily next to Sister Brunetta
|one week old Mary Kate with Sister Anunciela|
|on cooking duty, pre kids (maybe not even married here??)|
|Chocolate on MK ("no sister, please don't give Mk a cookie.") and a scared Thomas :)|
|playing with Sister's glasses|
|A 5 month old Mary Kate, ever so thrilled at the idea of this vocation|
|7 months later, at the 1st birthday party the sisters threw for her|
|Since MK routinely woke before dawn, we'd often head down for 7am daily Mass. Picking flowers with sister at a year old (still in pj's from the early rising!)|
|Mary Kate meeting her sisters for the first time|
|playing peekabo, 2 years old|
|Telling Sister "I'm so big." Ironic, because Sister Dominique is 4'9 (and the tallest in her Indian family!!) |
|Sisters Dominga and Brunetta, meeting sweet Thomas|