Today’s Quick Takes post features Catholic Sistas writer Birgit. We hope you enjoy getting to know Birgit better with these seven fun takes on her life.
Where were you born and do you still live there (or nearby)? If not, how many places have you lived and which were the most interesting?
I was born in Trier, Germany to German parents. Our large city was on the Mosel River and had once been the seat of the Roman Empire. We lived directly across the street from our beautiful Catholic church where my mother’s uncle played the pipe organ. As a child I traveled extensively around Europe with my parents – even camping at the foot of the Alps. We moved to the US when I was 9 and eventually Mom and I became citizens. When I was a child, we lived in Kentucky, Florida, and Texas. My husband and I have also lived in Minnesota. We thoroughly enjoyed what seemed like a different culture: ice fishing, snow mobiles in parking lots, and a never ending white landscape. Germany remains my favorite place to live because of the beauty and ancient Catholic history it holds. I look fondly at my heritage and the traditions my mother taught us.
What is your favorite animal and why?
By far, my favorite animal is the horse! Being a young child who grew up in a large city in Germany, I really have no idea how that happened! After we came to the U.S. and subsequently moved to a tiny town in Kentucky, I managed to convince my parents to allow me to buy a pony with money I had earned delivering newspapers for the summer. Later, my husband and I wound up living on a farm with up to 11 horses at a time. Many of our weekends were spent hosting trail rides for friends and their horses. Our vacation destinations included specially designed horse camps complete with marked trails and square dancing at night. I even lucked out and had a college professor who shared my passion and allowed skip days for riding (with her) and held dressage classes on her own farm.
What inspires you when you write?
Just living life inspires my writing. Being an art major, it’s natural for me to see the world in photographs. Since I’ve begun blogging on a regular basis, this condition is also present in respect to writing. As strange as it may sound, sometimes my life is narrated in my head. I experience something or hear a homily or prayer and, all of a sudden, I’m writing a script in my mind. A downside is that my mind is so busy that I often forget a really great idea because my mind is just bursting with “material.” Most of my writing involves something for which I have a strong passion. I just sit down, after inspiration hits, and begin to write. Often I don’t realize what I have put down on paper until after I read it through. For this reason, I credit the Holy Spirit for giving me the words – especially when I’m writing about the pro-life movement, which is very near and dear to my heart.
What volunteer activities are you involved in?
I have been involved with the pro-life movement since Roe vs. Wade was decided while I was in high school. I chose the pro-life side in a current events debate, and my heart simply caught fire for the cause. This passion has taken me many places, from the halls of the capitol to marches and rallies. I have served as an executive director, vice-president, newsletter editor, and board member of several pro-life organizations. Presently, I serve as a member of our diocesan Gospel of Life committee. As a passionate pro-life advocate, I can also be found “freelancing” by initiating rallies. Once I read about a fundraiser for a pro-abortion candidate planned at a local Catholic parish hall. Within four hours, there were more than 60 people assembled, holding pro-life signs, to protest the use of church property. A happy surprise? We were joined by the pastor of the parish in question!
Where do you write and why?
When I’m not composing something in my head or dictating a thought into my iPhone, I find myself sitting at the computer in our great room. Our house and acreage revolve around the beauty of the great outdoors, so there are windows everywhere. When sitting at my computer, I can see flower gardens, our garden pond, and the kittens playing on the porch. Occasionally other wildlife makes its presence known: deer, turkey, and foxes are regular visitors as well. God’s creation, exhibited by nature, is always there to remind me of the beauty of His world. My desk has a bulletin board of holy cards and prayers, a bottle of holy water, and a name plate from a long forgotten ‘public’ job.
What is your biggest pet peeve/drives you crazy/annoys you to no end?
It makes me really crazy to be misunderstood. Being German, I tend to be stubborn and to hold fast to the truths our Church teaches. Since my faith is in the very fiber of my being, I can’t imagine not using that faith to color all of my actions and aims in life. This tends to encourage me to share tidbits of the faith with others. My mother, God rest her soul, was the epitome of sharing. She would share religious tracts, articles and prayers like other women share recipes or gossip. Evidently I inherited this trait. As a result, when someone who I deeply love is committing ‘spiritual suicide’, I am not one to stand idly by. My instinct tells me that I must warn them of the eternal repercussions of their actions. So that is what I do…but I try not to dwell on it or nag. I explain the Truth to them and then continue to love them while not participating with or encouraging sinful behavior. My conviction has caused me to miss a wedding or two. Make no mistake, I am well aware of my own human failings …but, I will also not be a party to someone else’s sin.
What do you find most attractive about your husband?
My husband’s most attractive characteristic is his strength of faith. Given that he is a convert, his Catholicity is a source of constant joy and strength for me! He was raised in a Baptist household and taught all of the misconceptions of which our Church is accused. In high school, when we first began dating, we had many very interesting conversations on my front porch swing. As our relationship grew, we agreed to attend each other’s services. He would go to Mass with me on Sunday mornings and evenings we would attend his church. It didn’t take him long to begin to understand and love our wonderful faith. Several months before our wedding, he started individual instructions with our pastor. We were all set to receive Our Lord in the Eucharist together during our nuptial Mass. God and my husband, however, had other Ideas. He postponed his conversion because he ‘still had some questions’. Several months later, he took the final step. At that moment I knew that he had become a Catholic for the good of his soul and not to please me!
Click on over to Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes posts.