by Sr. Katie
“I’m a little nervous…” she admitted quietly. “I’ve got a few butterflies in my stomach, actually.” I smiled and tried to reassure her that everything would be fine. But it’s true, getting baptized in front of a crowd like this when you’re a grown woman can be a little nerve-wracking – especially if you’re as shy as my friend L. But somehow it was worth all the nervousness, because tonight, Easter Vigil, “the night when all things are made new,” Laverne wanted to be “made new” – receiving her Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion in the Catholic Church. She had asked me to be her godmother, and I was honored to say yes, as a witness to the work of the Holy Spirit in her life.
Yet I am only the latest in a long line of friends before me who have brought L. to where she is today. When Sr Regine met her, she was staying in a homeless shelter, far from her family in South Africa. She began to come faithfully to “church” at the shelter, becoming friends with Sr Regina and Melanie. Then we began inviting her over to our house for a cup of tea, up to the ICCC for our annual prayer gathering around Our Lady of Compassion, and eventually to Mass with us at our local parish. Each time, she came ready to continue growing in friendship. Her life is not easy, and every day she struggles – it has been a long journey to today. Last July she finally got her own apartment and a couple of weeks ago when we went to visit her, she was so happy to welcome us. “It’s small,” she said, “but it’s mine.” I think it was this stability in her life and the fruit of our faithful friendship that gave her the courage to begin RCIA classes in October.
That night during the Easter Vigil Mass when she proclaimed before everyone her faith in God and her desire to be received into his Church, it was such a gift to be with her. Her quiet joy and longing to go deeper with God, her simple yes to something new in her life, even here and even now – such miracles in her life. We invited her over to our house afterwards for cake – to celebrate these miracles and the gift of our friendship with each other. Happy Easter!