A charism of accompanying others

As thoughts and prayers about our charism continue to churn in my heart, I thought of two stories showing how our charism accompanies individuals and families through the joys and sorrows of life.

Story #1

Meet Frank and Jessica. They are a young couple at the parish where I work as the Pastoral Assistant. They are expecting their first baby. SHE is named after a saint, but that’s all they will tell me. As Pastoral Assistant, one of the many hats I wear is helping with Baptismal prep class for new parents. So, Frank, Jessica and I met a few Sundays ago to review the Rite of Baptism, picking godparents, and the theology of the sacrament. It was a beautiful moment because during the course of my class both parents were visibly moved at different moments of the teaching, and I was there to witness and accompany them in their awe, not only of a new life, but the reality of that same new life in Christ through water and the grace of Baptism.

The next part of that conversation is what pleasantly surprised me. As I was wrapping up, Jessica turned to me and said, “So, let’s talk about how we can get more young couples like us involved in the parish.” I didn’t come with notes on this one. “Yes, let’s talk about that,” I said. “What did you have in mind?”

We spent the next 45 minutes brainstorming how to reach out to the other young families at our parish. You see, Frank and Jessica have begun their life together. They are welcoming a little one into their hearts and home this May, and at the very core of things, they are apostles. They are already thinking about how they can bring their faith life into their family life, what traditions they would like to begin, and how to bring others into this same dynamic of faith and family life. Impressive. This is a charism at work, and I look forward to accompanying and helping them to be the dynamic apostles that God has called them to be.

Story #2

Meet the Hurd family. Scott, Susan, and their eight children in order: boy, boy, boy, boy, girl, boy, boy, boy. That’s seven boys and one girl in case you lost count, the youngest being 10 years old.

On March 31, I attended Scott’s funeral Mass. He was diagnosed with cancer about six months ago and it progressed rapidly. It took his life March 27th.

It’s hard to describe being there in that Mass to pray for Scott and the family. I know Susan well and I also know Britta, the only girl sandwiched between her brothers. I guess what impressed me the most was the entire Regnum Christi family that made themselves present for this event. We had two Legionary priests, one who got the last seat on a standby flight into Kansas City, and then got a ride with an RC man who drove him the rest of the way (three hours) to Ames, Iowa, and the other who drove from Chicago. Then we had two Legionary brothers in Chicago who picked up several apostolic boys in Indiana, who knew the Hurd boys, and then there were three of us consecrated women, two who drove all the way from Atlanta in one day, and me who drove from Chicago. The RC members from Des Moines and Omaha were there; one family drove all the way from Texas.

After a funeral like Scotts, I’m convinced that our Regnum Christi family is a gift for the Church. In moments of joy and moments of deep sorrow and grief, we are a spiritual family built up and firmly planted in Jesus Christ. We’re not perfect, we’re not the best, but nobody can argue that we’re not a family.

All of us were faced with the mystery of suffering and yet there was such a spirit of hope, I would say even joy. How can someone rejoice at the death of a man who leaves behind his wife and eight children? We rejoiced because as many put it “Scott can do his mission better from heaven, and he still has quite a lot of work to do.” Many friends and family members shared stories during lunch about Scott and the impact he had on them, their families, their businesses.

Scott, like Frank and Jessica, was and still is an apostle. It has been a privilege and a joy to accompany the Hurd family for part of their journey. There are many more chapters to come, but I pray they know how much this family loves them and encourages them as they face the future without Scott by their side.

 

About Eleanor Segraves

Eleanor Segraves is originally from Atlanta, Georgia and has been consecrated now for 7 years. She currently resides with her community of ten consecrated women in in Chicago, IL. Before her consecration in Regnum Christi she attended Franciscan University of Steubenville and graduated with a degree in Theology and Catechetics. She completed her formation at Mater Ecclesiae College in Rhode Island and has served in Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska before being assigned to Chicago. She is the Pastoral Assistant and part-time Youth Minister at Immaculate Conception in Highland Park, IL.
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