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January 18, 1991     The Message
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January 18, 1991 II The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 By ZIBA GRAHAM JR. Guest Columnist A wise man speaks to grandparents It is ironic that over the last two weeks I have met two sets of grandparents with identical prob- lems. The grandparent years are traditionally thought of as enjoyable times of life when the wet, crying baby can be handed back to the parents who have the primary child-rearing responsibilities. After talking with the grandparents mentioned above, it was obvious that this ideal did not coin- cide with reality. When your children get married, it is natural to think hypothetically about what you would do if your new in-law left the family, abandoning your child and grandchildren for some other lover. After seeing this happen all too frequently in our socie- ty, there is a renewed appreciation of the fragility of marriage. It is natural to have certain apprehensions about your new in-laws because they never measure up to your ideal, and you don't know them like you know your own child. The hypothetical situation would be that the "bum" leaves, then you help take care of your devastated child and granchildren as best you can considering your limited financial and physical abilities.. This scenario takes on heroic proportions and becomes one of uniting the whole extended family in pursuing a common goal against a well- recognized foe. It becomes a test to make every sacrifice in helping the family in need to preserve and protect those unfortunate ones who are truely injured by such a situation. It is easy to imagine the shock and heartache that occur when it is the grandparents' own child who leaves a spouse and abandons the children. To further complicate the situation, this child who "knows better" and "wasn't raised that way" is usually living in the same community, often with a lover who is also married to someone else or maybe even of the same sex as the child. In this situation, there is no common foe and no consensus on what to do in trying to resolve the problem. As one distraught grandparent said, "I finally realized that any problem that can be solved by money isn t really a problem." Upon confrontation, thesesons and daughters who have abandoned their spouses to take up with Someone else, usually describe themselves as hap- pier than they have ever been in their lives, and they have trouble understanding why their parents are so upset because the parents often told them that all they ever wanted was for their children to be happy. It isn't hard to see how this type of situation can lead to much anguish and many sleepless nights. It addition to the moral implications of see- ing your child leading a sinful life are the ever- present social implications that are raised. What do you do about the traditional family gatherings at Thanksgiving and Christmas? What do you do when your child wants to bring their lover home to meet you? What do you do for the grandchildren and your ex in-law? These kinds of questions are beyond your worst nightmares. It was easier to imagine what you would do if your child was killed or had to come home with the children than to try to make sense out of the situation described above. Being unable to respond to this type of prob- lem, I asked a wise man what these grandparents should do, and this was his answer. He said, tell them this: "The first thing to do is to surrender the whole situation to God. "These children and grandchildren do not belong to you; they belong to God. They are just loaned to you for a short period of time, and they will return to God according to a timetable unknown to you. "Stop trying to fix things up and just accept them as they are. "We always think we can fix things through counseling, talking, advising, punishing, begging and acting. This is not to say give up; it is just an admission that you are powerless to fix the situa- tion. You must let go because your actions in this case won't work. "After surrendering, the second step is to forgive. "Maybe the hardest person to forgive is your child's lover. It is important to remember that God loves this person as much as he loves anyone else in the world. "Forgive your child and your in-law. Forgive your granchildren. And most of all, forgive yourself! "It is easy to feel like a bad parent and that somehow you failed to guide your child properly because this wouldn't have happened if you had been a better parent. You must resist this thought and know that under the circumstances you did the best job you could. "The third step is to look to Jesus for guidance and what to do and how to act in any situation, Jesus is your model and you have Him to imitate. 'Ask yourself, "What would Jesus do if He were me?' Then read your New Testament and see what He did in various situations and what He told peo- ple to do. "Read your Bible expecting an answer and it will be forthcoming. As parents and grandparents, you were chosen by God, and you have the unique patience and abilities to help move the problem to its most satisfying conclusion. "The fourth thing to do is to love uncondi- tionally. Love everyone as God loves you. Can you find it in your heart to even want to love your child'S lover? Can you love your child despite the heartache that has been caused? Can you love a person even though you know he is willfully con- tinuing to worsen an already bad situation and hurting those closest to him? -,"Tell the people involved in the situation that you love them. Tell them often and try with your whole mind and soul to really mean it. Jesus always loved the sinner. "The fifth thing to do is pray. Pray during those nights you can't sleep. Cry out to God to help you when you really don't know what to do. Pray in groups with those involved. Pray with ex- pectant hope and a knowledge that your prayers are heard and will not go unanswered. Get on your knees and pray as you did as a child. Prayer and sacrifice will help an impossible situation where nothing else will work." The wise man said to do the five things listed above and the situation will be resolved in the most perfect way that it can be. He said he was finished giving advice because anything more would just be repetitious. ] thanked him for his insight and left him, feeling that his five-step program was an answer to most any problem. Sister Anna Scheessele elected Abbess of Poor Clares Sister Anna Scheessele, O.S.C., was elected Abbess of !he Monastery of St. Clare, EVansville, at the Trienniel Chapter of the nuns at the Onastery, Jan. 7. She succeeds Sister Mary Martha Blandford, O.S.c, who has completed a three-year term. " 1 don Sister Mary Joseph ta'g , O.S.C., was elected Vicaress;  Sister Blandford, First Coun- cilor; Sister Jeanne Maffett, O.S.C., Second Councilor, and Sister Mary Francis Lindenschmidt, O.S.C., Third Councilor. Presiding over the Chapter was Father John Sullivanl O.F.M., representing, Father Robert Karris, O.F.M., Minister Provincial of the Sacred Heart Province of the Franciscan Order in St. Louis, Me. POSITION AVAILABLE RE-OPENING SEARCH FOR SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS DIOCESE OF FORT WAYNE-SOUTH BEND Must be practicing Roman Catholic and have a graduate degree in education or educational ad- ministration. Diocesan Central Office experience is preferred. EXTENDED APPLICATION REQUEST DEADLINE FEBRUARY 8, 1991 PLEASE CONTACT: Catholic Schools Office P.O. Box 390 Fort Wayne, IN 46801 (219) 422-4611 Equal Opportunity Employer Sister Anna celebrated the Golden Jubilee of her profession of vows last October. In a letter to her friends on the occasion of her jubilee celebration, Sister Anna com- mented briefly on her previous years of service to her com- munity as abbess, at the time when the new monastery was being built. She served as ab- bess for three terms, a total of about nine and one-half years, in the 1980s. Sister Anna entered the monastery in 1938, and made her profession of vows, Oct. 4, 1940. "I always thought I would be a helper some place, in the kit- "chen or in the laundry," said Sister Anna, commenting on her .early years in the monastery. "I had no dreams, no ambitions." She had not gone to high school, she said, and had no thoughts that she would ever be in a position of leadership at the monastery. Sister Anna is the daughter of the late Fred and Elizabeth Forler Scheessele. Her family attended St. Rupert Church, Red Brush. She has one sister, Benedictine Sister Freida Scheesele, at Beech Grove, Ind. One brother, Henry, died at age 16. Another brother, Ed Scheessele, is the contractor who built the new monastery which was completed three years ago. After completing grade school, Sister Anna said she stayed home to take care of her mother, who was ill. She left home at age 19 to take a job as a cook at a restaurant in Hatfield, but she responded to a calling she had felt for some time -- to be a Poor Clare. "On the first Sunday I was away from home, I wrote to the monastery, and they accepted me," she recalls. Three months later, she entered the monastery. Many years later, she said, she completed high school Please patronize Message advertisers! i "Funeral Pre-Planning Since 1940" Miller & Miller 424-9274 equivalency work and earned her G.E.D. certificate. It was during her term as Ab- bess in the early 1980s that the Poor Clares made the decision to stop pumping money into the old building in the central part of Evansville, and to build a new monaster west of the city. The project was completed in five years, said Sister Anna. "The Lard worked almost faster than we could keep up," she said. The Poor Clares moved to their new home in January 1988. Looking to the next three years and her new term as ab- bess, Sister Anna said the em- phasis would be on more spiritual things in the com- munity which currently numbers 20 women religious. "We have our home now," she said. Since the temporal matters have been taken care of, the focus will be on "how can we live our spiritual life better." [ [Ma/n Street 1 Pharmacy [ 217 E. Main St. - Downtown Washington | Phone: 254-5141 . |