A Mother's Story


One Thursday evening back in the late 90's, a young lady and her friend stopped by our charismatic prayer group at St. John the Baptist in Newburgh, Indiana. She introduced herself as Teresa Read. I couldn’t explain why, but for some reason I felt a strong attraction to her. She made an impression on me. Even though our paths only crossed a couple of times over the next few years, Teresa and our daughter Melanie became good friends after meeting at a youth prayer group.

I distinctly remember the night Melanie attended a going away party at Teresa's house. Teresa was entering the monastery of the cloistered Passionist Nuns in the Owensboro, Kentucky diocese the next day. My heart was breaking for her mother, at the thought of letting go of her eldest daughter in this way.

Several years down the road, Melanie received an invitation to Teresa's (now Sr. John Mary's) first profession of vows. Melanie invited me to attend with her. We were both eager to go, but we had a patch of sweet corn to put up first. We worked at feverish pitch, racing with the clock. Finally, as the last kernel of corn was cleared away, we decided we could still make it for the profession ceremony.

Even though we arrived a little late, the impact of that ceremony on me was not diminished in the least. My tears just kept flowing uncontrollably as I witnessed this beautiful young woman become the Bride of Christ, bearing the crown of thorns and shouldering the cross of Christ.

Sr. John Mary's profession ceremony was one of the most profound spiritual experiences of my life. Little did I know that one day our own daughter, Sr. Mary Andrea, would be making the same profession of vows in this Passionist monastery!

Carol Niehaus
October 2007