The photo above shows my mother and her sister at their First Holy Communion. They are the two girls on the right. Times were hard. My grandfather was a coal miner. He and my grandmother had seven children. My mother and her sister were the oldest. Then came five boys. Despite a lack of money, my grandparents were very adept at making ends meet. My grandmother sewed clothes. She grew vegetables and canned them. Nothing was wasted.
However, when it came time for my mother to be confirmed as a Catholic there was a problem. The church was miles away. My mother wore out her shoes walking back and forth to receive instructions in the faith. My grandfather patched her shoes with rubber tires, but there was no money to buy new shoes. So, my mother did not finish the necessary preparation and was not confirmed.
Many years later, when my mother was to marry my father in the Catholic Church, the priest asked my mother to promise to be confirmed afterward. My mother kept her promise, but it took her a while. When my brother and I were confirmed, my mother was, too. She did not dress in a rented gown as my brother and I did. She wore a light blue suit. My brother and I were in the front of the church with our peers. My mother was in the back of the church with other adults.
Even though she received her confirmation at a much later age, my mother always had a deep faith and knew the Scriptures, not only quoting the verses but proving her conviction with action. When she learned of hungry neighbors, she gave them food. When someone was ill, she baked for them. When someone needed a ride, she gave them a ride. She listened to the troubles of the neighbors and gave them advice. I always thought she ought to hang out a shingle as the neighborhood psychiatrist. 😊
She may have worn out her shoes as a youngster, but she held fast to her belief.