Saints We Love

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Thanking Aunt Agatha, with All of My Heart!

Remembering Saint Agatha Day - February 5 


Loving My Own Aunt Agatha With all of My Heart! 

Terry Fenwick
Whenever I am asked, “What is the most important thing that has happened to you in your life?” I always say, “The most important thing that ever happened to me was, and is, that my Mother almost died when I was born.”  It surely does get attention but it is so very true.  My Mother had a life threatening blood clotting problem and could not be up walking for several months after my birth.  However, when I was a few weeks old, my wonderful Aunt Agatha came to visit my Mother and,  after asking when I was Baptized, finding out I had not been 'yet", Aunt Agatha swooped me up, wrapped me in blankets and took me off to be Baptized in the Methodist church.

That Baptism, I have grown to realize, was the most important thing that could happen to me or to anyone.

Had it not been for the grace of God bringing my Aunt Agatha that day, I would probably not have been Baptized, as there was no spiritual formation in my home. Neither of my parents, although both were from very “religious” backgrounds, ever went to church from the time they were married, until the time they were divorced, when I was 13.  Looking back now, I see the power of that Baptism in my life.  

My only other open Christian influence in my life was a wonderful, albeit anti-Catholic, Grandmother who took me off to Sunday school. I remember when Grandmother Meade said “CATHOLIC!” her lips turned blue.  

The amazing thing is that I always wanted to be a “nice” girl and I knew “nice” girls went to church, so I found a way.  I was absolutely amazing, if I do say so myself. I went to a Methodist Sunday School, even was confirmed, without the attendance of my parents. I found choirs to sing in – went to Easter Sunrise Services – I don’t know how I managed – but All things ARE possible with God.  Was it that Aunt Agatha and the Baptism? I think so. 

I went to any church with any friend who asked me if they had something special happening.   “Will you go with me Sunday nights to the Baptist church?” “You bet!” “Will you go with me to the youth group and to prayer meetings at the Nazarene church?” “Absolutely.”  I loved the little Sunday school programs with Jesus on the covers. Often I think about those times and think, “Bless my Heart!” Amazing.

Of course, I wanted to marry a “nice” man and I found the one!  I had found a “nice” well-educated engineer from the Lutheran church, so I became Lutheran. I had found Liturgy! How wonderful was that? I was set for life! When this wonderful man died at 31, I soon married a good friend of ours, another “nice” well-educated engineer who was also Lutheran. Again, I was set for life – or so it seemed. We vowed to raise our children (we had seven sons) in the Church and we did just that. We were a wonderful Christian family, or so we were told. We played church well, dressed right, hats and gloves, suit coats and ties – move over, Ozzie and Harriet. 

As the children grew older, I had a more powerful Christian growth experience when I actually discovered this “church thing” was not just about being ”nice” at all.   It was about a Savior, Jesus Christ, and my life changed dramatically.  My husband, seeing the new me, being a wonderful “nice” man, jumped in with me and we loved our life as we both began serving the Savior together. 

The Bible was new to me! My husband had always taught Sunday school but I fell in love with the Bible for the first time. I soon became totally involved in Christian leadership positions. I wanted everyone in the world in the Word of God and studied to show myself approved.  There was no end to the fine training we had. We were in training – but guess for what?   We were on our way to the Catholic Church – and they did need their own Bible Studies!  They had been coming to all of the protestant studies we taught! Many of them were falling in love with the Bible and became Protestants.  

What’s next? You guessed it. One day it happened - my husband said it first - he had said one day, “Terry, I have to have worship in my life.” Then one Sunday morning – as he stood and stretched he said,  “Do you know what I want to do today? I want to go to the Cathedral in San Francisco and worship Our Lord!” I said, “Yes!!!!” That was February 2, 2003. It was our first Mass together. After the Mass my husband said to the priest at the door, “We are going to become Catholic!” Simple as that. We came Home together – the two of us. Two nice people at age 71 and 76 on February 3, 2004 – after one wonderful year of study and preparation – were taken into Full Communion in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.  We both came Home to the Church Jesus Christ started in Matthew 16, trained and ready to go to work. 

My husband, Tom, went Home to be with the Lord on May 14, 2006 but we had the best years of our lives after February 2, 2003 when we attended our first Mass. Two very “nice” people who want to thank Aunt Agatha  -  with all their hearts.

Yes, the little girl (above in the picture) is my Aunt Agatha.  

Terry Fenwick,
Director of International Relations
Catholic Scripture Study International 
February 13, 2006 


Anonymous said...

Dearest Terry, how i Loved reading this, you speak from your heart and soul.
Praise God that You and Your Dear Husband became Catholics.
Love Nola.

Terry Fenwick said...

Every denomination of the thousands of denominations in the Protestant Church do not always baptize "in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit" AND get the "forehead" wet! I wanted to add that because there are some baptisms today that say other words. Terry

Terry Fenwick said...

We were an old family in the town and I know my Great Great Grandfather is given credit for 'saving that church" as I have read it in the books, so when my Aunt took me in - they knew my faith would be followed up - because the family were all Christians - so I got the baptism with just the aunt since Mother was so ill. I am so glad - and the church wants babies baptized as soon as possible. Methodist

Anonymous said...

Terry, God bless Aunt Agatha, & you, special Lady! Baptism just opens a door for grace to breathe in our lives... if we respond, we become great saints! Thanks for your witness. ~ Jojo

Pam (Rose) Beeler said...

You know I love this story ... poor blue-lipped Grandmother Meade, God bless her! <3

Terry Fenwick said...

Blue lipped Grandmother Meade had a French Mother who died when she was a baby. I think her Mother was Catholic but things must have been said about this when she was growing up with the new wife of her Father and then her sisters by that marriage. If I were writing a PBS series, that would be my plot.

Marie ("McLaren") Sforza said...

What an uplifting, heart-warming witness! Your Aunt clearly had the gift of discernment and the virtue of love.

Have you ever considered contacting EWTN's Marcus Grodi ("The Journey Home")? Your conversion story, better called, your epiphany, and that of your husband, would be one Marcus may well want to hear.

Many blessings!

Gabriella said...

I never tire of hearing this "epiphany", as Marie calls it! It 'wows' and 'woos' me-every time:)

Terry Fenwick said...

I was baptized a second time as an adult - dunked - not a 'just in case' but a feeling at the time everyone should be dunked - probably in the River Jordan - but skipped that when I was there. Then, becoming Catholic, I did know that the time with Aunt Agatha had probably saved my life for all those years I needed guidance. She was a special woman.

Terry Fenwick said...

Marie, Sorry I just saw your comment! Thank you, first, Marie for your encouragement on Facebook. You are always so kind and loving.

And for Journey Home? Yes, so many people thought we should be on that program and I think I did, too, at one time. It was before Tom left us - for that much better place - and we both would have been good for others - we had such JOY - and we both knew the Word and had been serving the Lord for years. Alone? I think not and I also don't travel any longer.

Terry Fenwick said...

When Agatha was arrested, the legend says, she prayed: “Jesus Christ, Lord of all things! You see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am—you alone. I am your sheep; make me worthy to overcome the devil.” And in prison: “Lord, my creator, you have protected me since I was in the cradle. You have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer. Now receive my spirit.”

Patron Saint of:

Breast disease, against
Foundry workers

Unknown said...

Just bought tears to my eyes....thank God for bringing you and Tom home...and Aunt Agatha+ INDNJC + Sandra

Terry Fenwick said...

Coming from a misguided Protestant teaching of believers' baptism where I forgot baptism is something GOD does - man does not do! I am so grateful all of our children were Baptized as infants before my poor teaching! I look back and know for certain my Aunt Agatha was used by GOD to change my life!!!! I remember how I loved her as a child. It was like we had strings of love round us - my Mother's other two sisters were almost invisible. I only had eyes for her. I called her GAYTHA!