In this Year of Faith we have been asked by Pope Benedict XVI to profess (profess the faith in its fullness and with conviction), celebrate (celebrate the faith, especially in the Eucharist) and witness (witness our faith to the world).
How can we find additional time to accomplish more when we already have so little and are spread so thin? For me as a single parent, it was specifically through faith and blessings that I was able to carry on.
My husband passed away at the early age of 38. I was 32 with four children ages 3 to 9 to care for. How did I get it all done?
I can look back now and see the Lord’s hand working in my life through it all, although it didn’t always seem that way at the time. But when we stop to really look we can see that he does want to be a part of our lives and we can see the blessings he has bestowed on us.
My first blessing involved the enormous task of selling my house in Des Moines to move closer to my family in the Twin Cities for additional help with the children and the day-to-day tasks of life.
Many of my friends and neighbors came to my aid to help me prepare the house for sale — fixing, painting and cleaning. I was astounded by their generosity. As it turned out, my house sold to the first person who came to look at it.
The second blessing was the parochial school and parish where I chose to raise my family.
They were supportive and graciously helped me through those struggling years.
I needed to humble myself and ask for help with the financial burden of sending the children to a Catholic school.
My husband and I both attended parochial schools through the eighth grade and had been planning on this for our children. With the parish’s support of the Angel Fund I was able to accomplish this by sending all four through the eighth grade. What a tremendous joy this was for me.
Generous support of family and friends taught me to give of myself. I began getting involved with my church. I became an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, and I connected with a women’s Bible study group.
It wasn’t always easy to be prepared for this each week; in fact, sometimes I was a little overwhelmed by the preparation that needed to happen before the next meeting.
But I did the best I could and the other women in the group understood and, in the end, they helped me tremendously along my faith journey.
I attended Mass each week and made it a point to get there other times of the year for special liturgies outside of Sundays and holy days of obligation.
I began a special tradition with my children: On their birthdays I would have Mass said for them and take each out to breakfast — just the two of us for some special one-on-one time. Blessing number three: raising my children in the rich beauty of our Catholic faith.
Relying on God’s strength
My children are now almost all grown. It has been 13 years of struggles, happiness and tears, both good and bad, but I have known through it all that God is walking right beside me.
There were many times that I would lay my worries at the foot of His cross and He would provide what I needed, not always on my time, but His time and in His way.
My friends often tell me that I have been a great witness to our faith by continually journeying through life with a sunny disposition and positive attitude.
We can’t change our journeys but we can find the blessings He has bestowed upon us. “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Single parenting has enormous challenges. Come rejuvenate yourself at the Single Parent Retreat (see below for more information).
Nancy Schulte Palacheck is family and laity outreach coordinator for the archdiocesan Office of Marriage, Family and Life. She is a member of St. Jude of the Lake in Mahtomedi.
Single parent retreat
Spend a morning with other single parents and be renewed in your vocation not only as a parent, but the man or woman God created you to be.
The Office of Marriage, Family and Life is sponsoring a single parent retreat from 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 2 at Maternity of Mary, St. Paul.
Father John Paul Erickson, director of the archdiocesan Office of Worship, will present, “The Call to be Holy in Season and Out.” Jean Stolpestad, director of the Office of Marriage, Family and Life, will talk about, “Power lunches, Power Rangers and the Power of Prayer.”
Cost is $10 per family and includes childcare. Register online at http://www.archspm.org by Jan. 30.