February 22 Heroes

And so, dear brothers, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living sacrifice, holy—the kind he can accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?  Romans 12:1 (Living Bible)

Today is February 22nd. Almost everybody remembers it as the birthday of a celebrated hero. I remember it as the birthday of two heroes, both born on February 22, but separated by 179 years. That other hero was my mother, born February 22, 1911. Both of these heroes freely sacrificed for others, and both endured hardships in those acts of service. George Washington has been celebrated worldwide, especially of course in America.

My mother, on the other hand, lived a quiet life, bearing four children, and grieving the loss of a miscarriage. She did not come from wealth, and she had to work early in life, even working days and going to “night school” to complete her high school diploma. My dad owned a bakery in the Clifton Heights area of Cincinnati (near UC and where he grew up), and mom worked in the bakery with him to help make the business survive.  

Mom had a deep faith, and she made sure that her kids did too. We all knew the expectations that mom had for us, and we had better (and we did) live up to them. There was no question about those expectations- regular attendance at Mass, Catholic education through college, good grades, hard work, and regular disciplines to maintain physical and spiritual health.

Mom took in her mother after grandma suffered a debilitating stroke in 1959, and mom cared for her until grandma died, in our house, in 1967.  Mom did not complain, nor did she let others know of all the sacrifices she made for her family. Mom’s selfless lifestyle was visible, but not expressed to others by her very much.

She lived a quiet, but powerful life- one that honored her God and her family. She is one of the heroes born on February 22, and now you know about the hero less celebrated, but the one more beloved.

Prayer: Lord thank you for the sacrifice of those who lay down their lives in the service of others, Amen.

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