Aunt Julia lived a counter-cultural life. That’s her in the 1985 photo above, walking on a wood plank over a small stream far up north in Minnesota.
Hard to believe that this tiny rivulet, as it heads south, turns into the mighty Mississippi River, coursing over 2,500 miles, expanding at places to a width of more than two miles and draining a watershed of more than 1.2 million square miles.
It’s kind of a miracle. Like Jesus rising from the dead.
The quietest of lives
Julia was my father’s older sister. She went into the convent in the late 1940s, becoming a Dominican nun. She led the quietest of lives, teaching in grade schools around the Midwest for something like half a century.
She died in late 2011 at the age of 93.
At her funeral at the motherhouse of the Sinsinawa Dominicans in a rural area of Wisconsin across the river from Dubuque, Iowa, I noticed that a listing of her assignments showed her moving every couple years.
“Obviously, she was a trouble-maker,” I joked to one of the sisters.
She laughed, and said the real reason was because Sister Julia was such a gentle spirit that she would be moved around to provide a calming presence in convents that needed one.
Sister Julia turned her back on an American culture that trumpets a selfish materialism. Instead, she followed Jesus. She lived an amiable life of service. She was pretty much happy. She brightened the lives of those she met and taught and lived with.
She lived the resurrection. She embraced the meaning of Easter.
Patrick T. Reardon