A Tale of Two Aunts
Frances Webster, aunt of author Regina Madonna Oliver, was in the habit of talking to herself.
Sometimes her mumblings would reach an audible volume, and someone in the family would
hear her spit these words out at her image in the mirror: ―You are so stupid! Just so stupid!‖ She
would enunciate each syllable with a venom that made anyone within hearing distance wonder if
she really thought that badly of herself. This behavior was of concern to everyone—especially
her family—because Fran was an incredibly wonderful human being—one of the most
self-sacrificing people we ever knew.
The eldest of three orphaned sisters, Fran went to business school at the age of thirteen,
had taken a job in West Virginia by the age of fifteen, and began supporting her two younger
sisters: Ethel, five years her junior; and Aunt ―Sleet,‖ five years younger yet. From Sleet‘s teen
years until she died of tuberculosis in her forties, Fran, on a meager salary, took care of her
financial needs. Fran also shared her room-and-board accommodations with her sister,
Regina‘s mother, during her high-school years, providing for her a good secondary education.
Later in life, after my mother‘s divorce, my entrance to the convent, and my brother‘s marriage,
Fran provided the ―homestead‖ and refuge for mom to come back to.
Aunt Fran never married, but she was at the heart of family celebrations, always present
with her seasonal gifts for her nephew and niece, and proud of our every accomplishment. She
never had harsh things to say of anyone else—only of herself. But since the recital of negative
self-evaluations was habitual for her, we had to wonder how many times during her ninety-two
years she had flung maledictions at herself. What impact would this kind of assault have had on
her subconscious? What effect would this negative self-image have on her spiritual life and on
her relationship with God? We all found her wonderfully lovable, so why couldn‘t she understand
that God felt that way, too?
Molly McCarthy, aunt of author Bridget Mary Meehan, was an equally incredible human
being, but she was amazingly affirmative throughout her life—in all circumstances. She
seemed to be serenely positive in her interchanges with others and greatly at peace with her
own self-worth. Molly would always say, ―That‘s all right, dear. Things will work out all right!‖ She
thought of everyone, including herself, as God-loved and, therefore, as good!
These two aunts, although of quite different backgrounds, were quite fond of
each other and got along famously. Now that they are both with God, we wonder if
Aunt Fran has reached the bliss of knowing what Aunt Molly already knew—that
God loves her enormously.
|Aunt Molly McCarthy, I don't have a photo of Aunt Fran|
The telling of these real-life stories shows that we all sometimes tend to see life, ourselves,
and others in ways that Love does not intend. Here is the beauty of the Resurrection message:
God, who is totally positive, affirming Love, can transform even the worst person into a lover.
And no Christian has any business wallowing in negatives. After all, our Creator God called all
of creation ―very good.‖
This book will also offer some prayer therapies to cure us of any negative thinking that may
have crept into our subconscious, because from there it can surreptitiously poison our outlook
on ourselves, deaden our hopes for the future, and stunt our ability to dream noble dreams and
aspire to great heights. Negative thinking can spiritually bleed us to death, like a giant ulcer,
without our even knowing what is wrong. For how many people who say, ―I‘m depressed!‖ is the
real problem their struggle against a lifelong influx of negative self-abuse?
A spiritual director was once overheard saying: ―How dare we! How dare we speak badly of
one whom God made and called ‗Good‘!‖ So we offer some models of affirming prayer, which
we believe are attuned to God‘s original heart-response to the miracle of creatures newly
formed. The heart of God formed the word of God about the newborn creation of which each
person is the epitome: ―Good! Very Good!‖
|S ister Regina Madonna Oliver, SFCC, co-author of Affirmations from the Heart of God. |
Sister Regina has passed into God's eternal embrace. We-co-authored five books. Affirmations from the Heart of God is One of These books. Aunt Fran was Sister Regina's dear Aunt, Aunt Molly was my dear Aunt.
During Advent Season, I will share stories and prayer practices for healing and wholeness from Affirmations from the Heart of God with my blog readers. On Nov. 10th, I shared the introduction to the book on this blog as Part 1.
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, email@example.com