I began to frequent the center more often to visit the chapel, talk with the awesome Sisters, and look for books for my wife and me and movies for the family. Sr. Assumpta and the other Daughters of St. Paul seemed to know me well enough that they could always recommend a book that I needed at the time. I talked about my family so often, that the Sisters frequently asked about each by name. As my sons and daughters grew into adolescence and young adulthood, my paternal worries grew and multiplied. I needed many more books from the psychology, self-help, spirituality, and I’m-so-confused-I-don’t-know-what-I-need sections of the bookstore.
After making longer visits to the chapel, praying more regularly, and becoming good friends with the blue nuns, I developed a true desire to not just know my Catholic faith better, but more specifically to know Jesus better. The Sisters taught me that Pauline spirituality is not just knowing about Jesus, it’s simply knowing Jesus. And when we know Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, we cannot help but want to share him with the world.
We have several Bibles in our house, but Sr. Assumpta’s Bible sits on the table next to my chair in the family room. The black leather cover is becoming well worn, as are many of the pages. I read at least a little of it every day. Sometimes I try to read an entire book through (from which I learned that St. Paul’s letter to the Romans is my favorite). Sometimes I simply open to a random page and find myself amazed at how the words speak to my needs at the time.
Sr. Assumpta’s secret is that she never told me that I should read the Gospel. Instead, she showed my family and me what it means to live the Gospel. From sharing the Gospel message with preschoolers at a Birthday Party for Jesus to leading book studies and discussions for the octogenarians in the Senior Lecture Series, she loves the Word of God infectiously. Her non-stop crazy-busy days, her inspirational advice, and her love of every neighbor are all ways she exemplifies a Gospel centered life to the world. So do all the Daughters of St. Paul. They bring Jesus to each of us by living the Gospel every day of their lives and inviting us to share in their Gospel joy.
So in my prayer, I ask myself and Christ how I can do the same. That’s my secret. What’s yours?
Photos: Jeffrey E. Mathews
Jeffrey E. Mathews, MD, has been a Pauline Cooperator since October 11, 2009. He and his wife, Carolyn, live in St. Louis, MO, and consider themselves blessed to have three sons and two daughters, two of whom still live at home. Dr. Mathews, a gastroenterologist, has a love for languages. He has studied French and Chinese in the past and he is currently studying to become more fluent in Spanish.