Monday, December 04, 2006

Great Grandfather

Ana and Alicia asked to hear the story of my great grandfather's conversion, so I better tell it.

My great grandfather was a Mason, and a high ranking Mason at that. In fact, some years ago we were contacted by the Masons looking for pictures of him, as they were putting together some kind of anniversary thing.

Anyway, my great grandfather was also rabidly anti-Catholic. Or, anti-papist, as he might have stated. But he fell in love with a cute little babe who happened to be Catholic. Infatuated by her, he was able to overlook that horrid flaw and asked her to marry him.

He allowed her to practice her religion, so long as it didn't affect him. She went to Mass every Sunday while he stayed home. She never asked him to convert, but she did pray for his conversion. Each and every day.

For fifty years she prayed. Then, as he lay dying, she called for a priest without telling her husband. The priest showed up and dear old Great Grandfather went into a rage. The story goes that he used some, let us say, less than charitable words that I can't repeat on a family blog.

But then, something happened. A few hours passed and it was clear the end was immanent. Great Grandpa humbled himself and asked Great Grandma to call the priest back.

Just before he died, he was baptized, received his first Communion, and received the Anointing of the Sick.

The power of prayer is great. The hard part is waiting for God's answer. His time is not always our time, is it? I don't know if I could've kept the faith for 50 years. It would've been much easier to give up. If you're praying for someone special, don't give up. These things take time.

12 comments:

Linda B. said...

Great story Maureen! How faithful your Great Grandmother was. I am sure both your Great Grandparents are praying for you.

Renee said...

I have a friend whose dh is Jewish (non-practicing). He does go to Mass with her on EAster, Christmas, other special occasions... she's been praying for him for almost 35 years.. I hope you don't mind if I share your story with her....

Maureen Wittmann said...

Yes, please feel free to share!

Love2Learn Mom said...

What a great story! Thanks for sharing!

Ana Braga-Henebry said...

So Dostoyevsky scenes become reality. What a story. Reminds one of St. Monica too. Thanks!

Nancy C. Brown said...

A beautiful witness of your great-granmother's patience...very inspirational. Thanks for sharing.

Esther said...

Mahalo for sharing Maureen!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story Maureen.

I am married to a non-practicing Jewish (born) man who prays and worships alongside his 5 Catholic school daughers, and wife of 11.5 years.

I guess there is hope ... I will pray for conversion.

Elaine

Karen said...

My sister prayed for her husband for 20 years. He accompanied the family to Sunday mass, finally converting after his children all went off to college.
Now he is on fire with the Holy Spirit!
God is good, all the time!
Karen

Elena Maria Vidal said...

Great story! We have several stories like that in our family! Perseverance wins the crown!

Andrew M. Fanco said...

I have a friend whose dh is Jewish (non-practicing).

dh? Designated Hitter?

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a story! If I had been in your great-grandmother's shoes, I would have run a mile from Mr. High Ranking Mason Anti-Papist. It is clear that you great-grandmother was far-sighted and patient, as well as faithful.