Saints We Love

Monday, March 7, 2011

COMING HOME - Terry and Tom hand in hand

                                                     COMING HOME 

My husband, Tom, and I were taken into full Communion on February 3, 2004 when I was 71 and he was 76!!!!! (Are you smiling?) We are a young old couple! We were Lutherans most of our lives, even before we met, and later when the Lutheran Church started taking the inerrancy of the Word out of their constitution, we left. We had seen it coming. We were in strong Bible studies, knew the Word, taught the Word and loved the Lord. We tried Presbyterian (this was in the early 80s) and then it became Pro-choice. 

All of that made a strong difference to us! It was difficult. We could not make it work. Although we never missed attending Church, we began missing real worship. We spent some "time" in a former Southern Baptist gone Seeker Church. In all three of these churches there were wonderful people – greatest of friends, who all loved and served the Lord and studied His Word. We both had great leadership roles and we both taught the Bible. We sort of “fell into” the Baptist gone Seeker, as it was autonomous and, as bad as that seems, we knew we would see, and could see, the "falling into the pit" as it came and could do something about it. It would not be hidden.

My husband was always an elder and always very active. When the phone rang and it was the church, I always would ask, “What do they want you to “be” now?" He was a beautiful leader. I was always active in the education of the Church as well as in Bible Studies. We were both in leadership positions in everything, leadership training, teaching the Bible, as well as starting classes in California - later other states. These studies were the very best studies in the country and they gave the very best training for teaching the Word. We kept so busy loving and serving the Lord that it just 'almost' worked except God would not let go. Tom would talk about how much he was missing worship and then, about the time I began studying Church History, finding a 1500-year gap, I fell and broke my leg. 

That day, when I crawled into my bed, where I would spend three long months, I said, "Lord, what are you going to teach me now? What is this all about?”

There is a wonderful story told about how a shepherd cares for his sheep - especially for the one who does not stay close. To preserve the life of that sheep, the shepherd goes out and seeks the straying sheep to save him from danger and harm. He does this over and over to save the life of that poor stubborn sheep. Finally the shepherd brings him back and very carefully breaks his leg. He wraps the leg carefully in strips of cloth and then places him on his shoulders around his neck. The shepherd carries him until the leg heals. During that time the injured sheep smells the shepherd, he feels the pulse beat of the shepherd's neck and begins to feel the concern the shepherd has for him - he knows he is protected and loved. When the leg is finally healed, the shepherd unwraps the leg of the sheep very carefully and puts him down along side of him. The sheep never goes away again.   

I have told that story so many times in teaching so I remembered it when I had the broken leg. In truth, that is what the Lord did. He broke my leg, kept me close to him for three months. I had vertigo, which is why I fell. I could not have anyone around because I had problems with the vertigo and I needed quiet. I had no friends over because I am most animated and would get dizzy. I could not talk on the phone because with the vertigo my ears were too sensitive to sounds. So quietly, the shepherd carried me around his neck. I looked forward and watched the Catholic channel EWTN and was taught day after day by the greats on that program. I watched Journey Home and saw myself coming and going in every program. I taped them for Tom who watched it later in the day. I ordered every book they mentioned and read them. One was Scott Hahn's ROME SWEET HOME. That did it. My husband read it and brought it in to me – stood with tears brimming in his eyes, gently closed the book and said, "They are right!"

Then it happened. It was a Sunday morning – Tom stood up and stretched- arms outstretched, like a cross, and said, "Do you know what I want to do today? I want to go to San Francisco to the Cathedral and worship our Lord." I said, "Yes!” We went. It was the Candlemas - the day with all the candles - February 2, 2003, the Feast of the Presentation of Christ at the Temple. It was like our birthday. It was glorious in every detail. We worshiped and went forward, arms folded across our chests and received the blessing. When Mass had ended we sat a few minutes. I turned and said, "This is worship." Tom said, "Yes, and we are coming back!" We went out and at the door met the Priest, and Tom said, "We are going to become Catholics!" Simple as that. 

We came ‘Home’ together - the two of us. We were two people who had a Savior but now had found beautiful worship, early Church fathers and Truth. We were blessed with an abundance of grace! After one wonderful year of study, both of us attending Mass daily, with hands folded across our breasts for the blessing, hardly being able to sleep at night because of the excitement, we were taken into Full Communion in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church on February 3, 2004! We came HOME to the Church Jesus Christ began in Matthew16 with Peter. 

I am now the Director of International Relations for Catholic Scripture Study, International. It is such a blessing to be used by God to help Catholics, all over the world who are hungry for God's Holy Word. Many new people are beginning to study the Sacred Scripture! 

My husband, Tom, went Home to be with the Lord on May 14, 2006 - one year ago - but we had the best years of our lives beginning February 2, 2003 when we attended our first Mass.

Director International Relations, Catholic Scripture Study, International (Emeritus)

“I want the world for Christ because I know Christ wants the world.”


Elizabeth said...


Anonymous said...

Terry, this is wonderful, I never found it before ... must get hunting through your site more! There are Treasures to be had! Love, Jojo

Terry Fenwick said...

It is now 8 years, 9 months and 20 days, (and yes I am counting!!!) since that first Mass - and I love it more and more each day.

Terry Fenwick said...

It is now 9 years since that first Mass! Tom is gone to a far better place - I am still living in the moment but loving, absolutely loving, being Catholic more and more. I never thought that could be possible.

I wish I could pass the torch on to others - as I heard this morning about passing the torch at the Olympics being an example of tradition. The torch never changes in the journey of the passing from hand to hand but the hand does. I wrote Patrick Madrid this morning after hearing his teaching because, as we all know, everyone seems to understand anything to do with sports! Would it be so wonderful if the barriers could come down from and between all of those with the wall up against Catholicism? Would that it be!!! But, as my husband, Tom, always said, "It took us over 70 years but we made it!" We learned all the way there and it worked. We discovered the ignorance we had - not stupidity - not that at all - but the ignorance of never really going back to see and study the Truth and yet trusting family teachings all of our lives. Sad. Do read Rome Sweet Home. It takes way under 2 hours and truly - 5 verses - and you know what you missed! Tomorrow will be our anniversary - we will have been Catholics 8 full years. We came into Full Communion with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church on 2/3/4 - easy anniversary date to remember.

Gabriella said...

Beautiful, loving couple, whom I love with all my heart!
BLESSED ANNIVERSARY of your "presentation in the Temple"

Terry Fenwick said...

I love you, dear Gabriella! "Our presentation in the Temple".
Will you believe I had never thought of that! Surely Tom is smiling and saying, "She got it! She got it"

Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle said...

What a tremendous story, Terry! Thank you for sharing it. I have no doubt that it will deeply touch others.

God bless you! Donna-Marie

Terry Fenwick said...

Today it has been 11 years to the day - from 2/2/03 to 2/2/14.

Tom is HOME and I am still waiting but, I am as overjoyed with being Catholic as ever. Because of the Eucharist, of course, but because we came, and not too late, even though we were in our 70s, but we came Home to the Church Jesus built and called it "MY Church!" He also promised it would never fail. It will be here to the end.

Come on Home! It is the Only Church. You have to get through the plexiglass wall and come and search from the inside. You will thank the Lord.

Judith Costello said...

i love your story Terry! I drew a picture of Pope Francis with the lamb. I will send it to you. God bless. Thank you for sharing. I wrote something about heaven that I will have to share with you too. St. Tom must be having fun in heaven!

Judith Costello said...

Thank you Terry. It's a wonderful story!!!!!