"Mary Keldermans is recounting the story of the finding of the Christ child in the temple — the Gospel of Luke’s depiction in which Jesus is left behind following Passover in Jerusalem and found by Mary and Joseph three days later among the temple elders — when she remembers her own brush with a lost child.
“We had gone to a magic show at Sangamon State University (now the University of Illinois Springfield) and we were going to Howard Johnson afterwards for ice cream,” she recalled. “On our way there, one of my sons yells out, ‘Clare (my 4-year-old daughter) isn’t here.’ I said, ‘What do you mean Clare isn’t here?’
“So I tore back to the campus, panicked, overwhelmed at the horror of what I’d done, and there she was, with two older gentlemen holding her by the hands. She’s crying. I’m crying. And I just said, ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry.’ ”
What’s missing, added Keldermans, is that for so long, Roman Catholics have only heard the interpretation of Scriptures, including the story of the lost child, from male perspectives, mostly through homilies.
“I can look at that story,” said Kelderman, who has six children and five grandchildren, “and have a different experience. Mary was a Jewish mother who was worried sick about her son. I know what she felt like. I know what she felt like to have a teething child, to have teenagers.
“It brings the story closer to Jesus being my brother.”