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Call Her “Susie”; A Life of Both Hardship, and Strong Faith.Part Three; Entrance Into the Church.
Entering the Church, and Growing in Faith.
I've decided to write mom's story, because it is her faith which inspires my faith. In fact, mom has touched countless lives through her example of faith and perseverance, even through what for many would be impossibly tough times. I hope that you will gain some inspiration, as her story unfolds.
In part three, I've included mom's entrance into the Catholic Church, and the effect her decision had on the entire Elwood family.
As Told to Her Son, Stuart.
It was the Spring of 1943. The United States was embroiled in World War Two. It was against this backdrop that Susie had decided to enter the Church. She went to her mother first, to tell her. Wreatha Mae was a practical woman, and was certain that Cyril would not accept Susie’s decision. Much to everyone’s surprise, however (perhaps due to the influence of his friendship with the Bacon family, who were Catholic), Cy’s heart had been softened, and he gave his blessing for Susie to enter the Church.
Not only did Susie come into the Church, but she led all of her siblings into the waiting arms of Mother Church as well. On top of this, Wreatha Mae was finally free to return to practicing her Catholic Faith. Indeed, the Holy Spirit was moving and touching the hearts of the entire Elwood family.
The children all took instructions from Father William Ehrman (this being before R.C.I.A.), and were all soon Baptized by him. At that time, the elder children (Dick, Susie, Ron, and Roy) were also Confirmed by Bishop John Francis Noll, and received their first Holy Communion. The twins (Lois and Larry) were too young for Confirmation and First Holy Communion at that time, so they would have to wait until later to receive the other two Sacraments of Initiation.
As a neophyte in the Faith, Susie didn’t receive much in the way of theological instruction. But, her relationship with God has grown exponentially in the intervening years since her entrance into the Catholic Church. The graces infused at Baptism and Confirmation, and her love of the Eucharist, would influence her in so many ways, and would strengthen her in her future trials.
In the meanwhile, the rest of the world would continue on, as it had always done. For more than two years, the War would rage overseas. Susie would lose a dear friend during the Allied invasion of Normandy, on June 6th, 1944. It was during this time that Wreatha Mae would gather the children together to pray the Rosary, petitioning Mary to beg her Son for an end to the war.
Susie’s brother, Dick, was drafted, and entered the U.S. Army, near the closing of World War Two, and Wreatha Mae was fearful of losing her oldest son, in what would have been the bloodiest battle of the War; the planned invasion of Japan.
Of course, President Truman had instead authorized the use of the Atomic Bombs (which were dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945, and Nagasaki, on August 9th. 1945), so the invasion plan was averted, and Japan finally surrendered on September 10th, 1945. Dick returned home, safe and sound, to a grateful family, without ever having seen any action, and, to this day, Susie attributes his safe return to the power of prayer.
As stated in part two, circa 1946, the Elwood family left the farm just North of New Haven to Sun Rose Lane (the name for which was chosen by Cy), just off of Seiler Road. This new place would come to be called “Out Home” by the Elwood children, and their progeny, for many a decade. It was while Susie was still living “Out Home” that she would eventually meet her first husband. But, this is a story for later. For now, thank you for reading, and God bless.