By Fr. Christopher Kubat
Not long ago, I called a priest friend who recently talked to a former Swiss Guard who had worked for the future St. John Paul II. They had a policy back then that if any members reported late for their shift, they would have to volunteer at the Missionaries of Charity (MC) convent nearby. The MCs are the order of sisters founded by St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. It should be mentioned that the members of the Swiss Guard are all tough men, tough guys in a good sense, with the mission of guarding the Vicar of Christ who sits on the Chair of Peter.
The former member of the Swiss Guard related the story of arriving late once at his scheduled post in which he incurred kitchen duty at the nearby MC compound. While washing dishes, having a difficult time removing burnt food off some of the plates, he threw one of them in frustration. What he did not know was that Mother Teresa had slipped into the kitchen unnoticed and witnessed his temper tantrum. After surprising him, she called him a sissy for complaining about washing dishes and pressed a Miraculous Medal into his hands. He recalled having a bruised ego for having been called a sissy, being a tough guy and all.
Not long after this episode, Mother Teresa visited the Vatican when he and several other members of the Swiss Guard were on duty. He said the other men scattered as she entered the room. He felt nervous because he lost the Miraculous Medal she gave him. She made a bee-line to him and pressed another medal into his hands and said, “Don’t lose this one, sissy!” How did she know? The only answer was that God had told her so. Those two encounters helped change this non-sissy sissy into the man he is today.
On Sunday, March 24, we held a volunteer appreciation dinner in Theisen Hall at St. Michael in Hastings. It was a wonderful event where we honored our many volunteers who help at our south central Nebraska location. I am grateful to Don Threewitt who prepared a delicious gourmet dinner; Jacob Brouillette for playing the piano; Dana Fanning and the Ministry Singers for dazzling us; Zach Fanning and the St. Cecilia students for their kitchen and serving help; Diana Mueller for the centerpieces; Tammie Schik for the desserts; Father Hazuka for hosting us; and for all those who made that evening special.
Most of all, I would like to thank our volunteers (who are all non-sissies) for the sacrifices they make for the love of Jesus Christ Who is present in the poor and needy. We could not do all of the things we do for the individuals and families in need without them. Let us take the advice of St. Mother Teresa, by the grace of God and the intercession of our Blessed Mother, let us never be sissies!