Her Own Personal Lent

She was in her 20s, nine months pregnant, desperate to help her young family. They lived in poverty. Real poverty. Not enough rent, not enough food, not enough heat.

Among them there was no path forward. They had no education, no training, no capital of any kind. The baby was coming due as a clock ticking, the pandemic felling people left and right, hunger and cold knocking at their own thin door.

Lent – their own personal Lent – engulfed them. Darkness, uncertainty and doubt each night lay alongside them.

But they did not succumb. By morning – each morning – they summoned forth just enough grit. Grit to put one foot ahead of the other. And so this young woman, on a cold sidewalk, cradling her unborn child in both her hands, searched for a way out.

And found you.

You, in your support of the Sisters. The support that put us and our ministries on that same cold sidewalk. On this morning, it was an AmeriCorps Notre Dame Mission Volunteer, the name of Anna. Anna – steeped in the mission of care for the abandoned.

They came off the sidewalk into a warm room, and learned of one another – the plight of the young family then the educational work of the Sisters. Putting the two together, they made a plan.

The young woman, closer by the hour to her child’s birth, knowing what remained of her energies would soon be given over to the child, threw herself into this plan. It was a plan of education, a plan for a GED. With the GED, when the time came, new avenues would lie before her.

Courses for the GED were online but at home there was no money for Internet. So each morning the young woman made her way to the educational ministry of the Notre Dame Mission Volunteer, to Anna. And each morning she studied and studied. In short order she passed the required courses, save mathematics. There, twice, she failed. If she failed once more she’d have to wait sixty days to try again. But there would be no again, because in sixty days – probably in two or three – the child would be here.

So she studied harder. She cradled her unborn baby leaning close into the screen. Anna quizzed her. They worked the hardest problems.

After the test the young woman sat waiting. It was a two-hour wait. When the results did come – positive results – she broke down and cried. It was a hard cry, a cry of release from weeks of uncertainty, doubt, cold and hunger – her own personal Lent.

That’s how this young woman, on that sidewalk, came to meet you. That day, through Anna, through your support of the Sisters, you became a part of her life. She doesn’t and will never know your name, but her life and the life of her child now born into this world are brighter because of your generosity. With grit, with the love of Christ, and with the surrounding hands of people such as you, they are now in the sunshine.

We are very grateful for your continued your support. By doing so, you walk with so many thousands each of whom can be found in the face of a young, pregnant woman lonely and worried on a cold morning sidewalk.