Over the weekend I went to Buffalo, NY, to celebrate the 95th birthday of "Grams" Wickenhiser, the mother of Sr. Mary David and Sr Mary Mark. Over the years I've gotten to be part of the family.
Grams is a great example of how living a Catholic family life can lead a person to great holiness. Her own mother died when she was in her young teens, so she took over raising the rest of her siblings while her father went to work. Even after she got married, she invited some of them to live with her while she raised her own six children (this was during the depression so things were very tough).
She ran a grocery store and knew how to manage money. The matriarch of the family, everyone would go to her when they needed help. And she would always help whoever needed it.
Grams has a very simple faith. Some of her interpretations of Vatican II would make me smile, as when she said "The Council said that when people go to Mass they should sit in the front pews." Well, that might not be an exact quote, but she knew that the Church was emphasizing the communal aspect of the liturgy.
For many years when she was able to, she faithfully went to daily Mass. She can't do that anymore but she prays every day for all who need it.
How did she manage to live so long in such a vibrant way? Certainly it has been because of her faith and great attitude. She's a fighter who doesn't let things get her down. Throughout her life she's always thought of other people. At 95 she is still mentally alert. As she puts it, "I just thank God that I have all my marbles and I know what I'm doing."