Sister Jean Schafer’s Birthday Reflection
In celebration of our sisters’ birthdays in 2023, we asked them to share an age they would like to go “back” to. On her birthday, Sister Jean reflects on a loss and generosity that changed her life forever.
By Jean Schafer, SDS
Turning 81 means I have quite a few choices for answers to the question, “which age would you like to go ‘back’ to?” I guess I would choose age 13. I was 13 years old on September 21, 1956, the day my mom passed away. She was 58 years old and had suffered for many years due to various health issues connected to high blood pressure. I had just entered the Divine Savior Prep School on September 8th and my mom was already in the hospital due to a massive stroke. Another stroke took her on Friday the 21st. I was not with her and, 67 years later, I can still feel the sorrow of that moment. When I became a Prep, I had not realized that I would never have a chance to see her again. I asked my dad if I should come home to be with him in his loneliness. His reply also stays with me, “No, you continue as a Prep. God gave you a vocation. God will also help me so that you can honor your vocation.” I regret I was not present with my mom in her last hours and, if I could go back, I would surely be with her. And I would also make sure my dad knew how very much his generosity was a gift to my religious life as a Sister of the Divine Savior in the years since!