Seedlings

Planting and harvesting

By Fr. Christopher Kubat 

“He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor” (Jn 4:36-38).

Early last year, I received a call from John Hansen about a woman who was interested in entering the Catholic Church.  After taking the call, he informed me she was elderly and in fragile health.

During our first visit together, I learned that she was Jewish and became friends many years ago with Sister Barbara Ann Braun, O.S.F. (who started the pastoral care department at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Lincoln). She described Sister Barbara Ann as a good friend. Sister died almost six years ago at the age of 97, not knowing whether the seeds planted in the soul of Debra would sprout and grow. “One sows and another reaps.”

After obtaining permission from Bishop James Conley to give her abbreviated instructions, she was baptized, confirmed and received her first Communion at St. Peter Church in Lincoln Friday, March 3, 2017 at the age of 93. Her godfather was John Hansen and her godmother was Pat Walbrecht.

Shortly after this, her health deteriorated further and after a brief hospitalization she was admitted to a skilled nursing home facility. Debra entered eternity Nov. 25, 2017, after having received the last sacraments including the anointing of the sick and the apostolic pardon. Before dying she told me that the happiest day of her life was the day she became a Catholic. Her last words to me were, “I love you!”

I have often thought of Sister Barbara Ann after Debra’s death. It was the seeds she planted many years ago which led to the rich harvest of her soul for the Lord. After having saved our souls with the grace of God, once admitted to heaven, we will find out about the many seeds we planted that were harvested by someone else.

At Catholic Social Services and St. Gianna’s Women’s Homes we try our best to plant seeds in the souls of the people we touch as we relieve physical and psychological suffering. We only have to be patient because, like Debra, sometimes the reaping is done by other people. I would like to thank John Hansen for calling me and Father Charles Townsend for his kindness and hospitality. 

“He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor” (Jn 4:36-38).

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Fr. Christopher Kubat

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