I Stole a Bible From my Brother

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald, OP

True confessions, yes, I did steal it from him.  He was not using it.  That was my 10 year old self trying to rationalize my actions.  He had received it from a summer Bible camp he attended with some of his friends from the Baptist church.  It was green leatherette with gold lettering, “The New Testament and Psalms”.

From the moment I saw the small three by four inch New Testament, I was itching to get my hands on it.  Somewhere along the way, I had sensed the fact that if I had my OWN Bible then I could read and finally understand some of the readings we heard in church on Sunday.  In addition, all the grownups in our neighborhood – most of whom went to Protestant churches – had their own Bible they carried around on Sundays.  My parents carried their Missals to Mass and so, I figured I needed a book of my own to be a legitimate Catholic.

I hid the book under my pillow and only brought it out before bed to read a little bit at night.  My little sister, Amy, laughed at me and said, “When your husband sees you taking that Bible out from under your pillow, what do you think he’ll say?”  “He won’t say anything.”  I retorted, “Because, he’ll have one too.”   Now, I am not sure where that assurance came from.  I did not grow up in a family where my mom and dad read the Bible before bed and I was not even sure other people did this type of thing at all.  Nevertheless, I was quite adamant that it would not be a problem.

Looking back on my life and this hunger for the Word, I now realize that there was something, or more precisely someone putting that hunger for the Word into my heart.  God was calling me to come closer.  It was the beginning of my call to religious life.  I read and devoured the Word, like the psalmist of old.  Then, I shared it with others.  (Sounds a bit like the Dominican motto, “To contemplate and to share with others the fruits of my contemplation.”) My first audience was my sister.  Thank you, Amy.  Sometimes I would read bits and pieces of scripture to her in the late evening.  I am sure I did not preach to her or share with her how the scripture touched my heart.  I didn’t have the vocabulary for it back then.  However, what I do know is that something was taking root deep within me and the hunger was growing.

Today, my Bible has a beautiful cover from Guatemala and has many worn pages, notations, and is home to many prayer cards and special notes from friends.  I received this Bible from my parents the year I graduated from high school.  It was my constant guide and companion as I discerned my vocation, entered to and completed formation and made my final vows.

Discerning and living religious life involves listening to and reflecting on the Word of God.

  • Are you feeling a hunger for something more?
  • What Word of God is resonating in your life right now?

P.S.. In case you are wondering, yes I did returned the stolen New Testament and Psalms to my brother.

 

Posted in God Calling?, News

10 responses to “I Stole a Bible From my Brother

  1. What a great remembrance of your early formation and call. You articulated it well… you do have the Word for it now. God Bless you, Sr. June, as you share that blessing with others.

  2. Hi Sr June
    When I was in college, my friends wanted to get me a Bible for my birthday. They went to the local church in Geneseo, NY which had some on display for sale (back in the days when churches in small towns were not locked during the day). They tried to find someone to give them money for the Bible but no one was available. Since they needed it that day for a surprise party they were having for me, they “stole” the Bible, wrote messages to me in the front of it & gave it to me at the party. They did return to the church the next day & paid for it. After that we all formed a softball intramural team & called it “The Stolen Bibles.” I was the catcher. We didn’t win too many games but had a lot of fun. It’s still my favorite bible. Thanks for reminding me of a sweet & funny memory.

  3. Yes, June, when our 6 classmates were in the 4th grade we were told we could start singing the Latin propers every Sunday. The Dominican sisters would explain what the readings meant. I hold them in my heart and in my prayer every day.

  4. Thank you June, for your inspiring story of your devotion
    to the Word of God. It made me recall how myself and my four Sisters would take turns reading the Bible and then
    telling each other what we read. I was the one who kept
    the Bible the longest time and was reminded about it.
    I loved the stories about Jesus going about and performing miracles. I always wanted one of those miracles.
    Thanks for helping me recall my first days with the Bible.
    Sister Maria DeMonte, OP

  5. June, I really enjoyed your humble honest story about the bible. What a gal! Next time you come to my place I’m going to check with you what you are hungering for so I can hide it.

  6. June, Thanks for that meaningful recollection from your early life. Fortunately, I didn’t have to steal my first New Testament; but like you, receiving it was one of the happiest experiences of my young life. It was given to me at the end of the 8th grade by the Dominican sister in charge of my graduation in Brooklyn, NY. In HS it became my in-depth introduction to Christ, which I credit for the journey of my life.

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