Groaning and gratitude


I am wide-awake in a dark hospital room. I survived a gruesome hiking accident that left me bloody and alone in the bottom of a ravine, but I’ve been told that I’ll have reconstructive jaw surgery the next day. My family and Franciscan sisters have gone home to sleep for the rest of the night. I am alone, except for the woman snoring behind the nearby curtain and the nurses who seem to materialize at my bedside to check my vitals.

Pain is pressing on my body. When I landed at the bottom of the cliff, my face shattered from eyebrows to chin. My hand and arm were crushed under my forehead, because I’d reflexively raised them to protect my skull as I slipped. Now my limbs are screaming reminders of what happened. I am bruised and bloody. I feel as if all the pieces of my bones would float away and disintegrate if it weren’t for the swollen flesh holding me together.

I want to scream, to groan about how my life has suddenly flipped on its side. I can’t sleep. I can’t relax. I don’t know how I’m going to make it through this dark, lonely night.

But somehow, my mind and heart turn from agony to appreciation; it’s the only choice I seem to have. I begin to pray: Thank you, God, for saving my life. Thank you for the excellent medical care. Thank for each person who has helped me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

This is the beginning of my latest column for “National Catholic Reporter’s” Global Sisters Report.” Read more of “Groaning and gratitude” here.

meet the blogger

Guest blogger: Jane Comeau

Messy Jesus Business readers, here’s your chance to meet this blog’s creator, Sister Julia Walsh!

In this video, set inside her former ministry, Hales Franciscan High School, Sister Julia talks about her journey to religious life.

The video is part of a new series, “Called,” launched earlier this year by FSPA. The series includes stories from five Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. The women share what drew them to religious life and to their current ministries.


For Sister Julia, this is the second video diary—sharing her call to religious life. The first featured her as an associate with FSPA, filmed in 2006.


This week’s guest blogger, Jane Comeau, works for the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in the Communications Office located at St. Rose Convent in La Crosse, Wis.