Do you remember your confirmation?  Mine is a little hazy though I do recall lining up in front of the altar with two or three other teenagers, sponsors behind us, their hands on our shoulders. A bishop went down the line, gently placing his hands on our heads to anoint and confirm us in the Holy Spirit  There was probably a party afterwards.

Memories of my grandmothers, mother, aunties and confirmation sponsor-mom are much stronger. The expression of faith in the lives of these good women looks very different one from another, yet they all had a hand in my formation. Gifts I received from each live on in my own life of faith.

To name just a few: a desire to celebrate Sunday Eucharist and share Sunday dinner; an appreciation for the hard work required for good marriages to last, the courage it takes to end bad ones, and the knowledge that both choices can make lives of love and hope possible for others; the grace to open heart and home to the many and often unexpected ways we find ourselves called to be family, even or especially in difficult times.

Today I give joyful thanks for the gift of Elizabeth, Gretchen, Rena, Mary, Kathy, Marj, Anne, Connie, Chris and Donna, and lift them all up in prayer to God. I invite you to do the same for your foremothers. St. Paul and I are confident that their faith “lives on also in you.”

—Jenéne Francis, is Provincial Assistant for Pastoral Ministries, Chicago-Detroit Province and Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus