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I want you to meet my hero, Katie Davis. I found her book last weekend at the bookstore and read through it and immediately put it at the top of my wish list for Christmas. This morning on the drive to work I heard an interview with Katie on KVSS Catholic radio and after parking sat in my car transfixed by her story.
I don’t even know where to begin with this young woman who hails from Tennessee. She was her senior class president and homecoming queen. She was set to attend college, get a job…a career…all of the things we are told we are supposed to do to be successful. But then in December of 2006, 18-year-old Katie Davis from Brentwood, Tennessee, traveled to Uganda for the first time. She was immediately captivated with the people and the culture. And she made a decision…
I’ll leave the rest to you to research on your own. I would not do it justice. Katie’s is a story that leaves you stammering: “Oh, no she didn’t!”
Yes. She did. Thank God she did.
At the end of the radio interview Miss Davis talked about how while she’s in the States for the release of her book, she can’t wait to get back to her home in Uganda where they don’t know her as an author. To them she’s simply Auntie Kate, their hero. A young woman in her early 20s with no college education who has adopted 14 daughters and affecting the lives of hundreds more. I saw her book and immediately thought of a certain Albanian nun who ministered to the poorest of the poor in Calcutta. It should have been no suprise to hear Katie say that Mother Teresa was one of her heroes.
Her book: Kisses From Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption
Her foundation: Amazima Ministries
Amazima is also on Facebook here.
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From Kisses From Katie:
“Jesus wrecked my life. For as long as I could remember, I had everything this world says is important. In high school, I was class president, homecoming queen, top of my class. I dated cute boys and wore cute shoes and drove a cute sports car. I had wonderful, supportive parents who so desired my success that they would have paid for me to go to college anywhere my heart desired. But I loved Jesus.
“Slowly but surely I began to realize the truth: I had loved and admired and worshiped Jesus without doing what He said . . . I wanted to actually do what Jesus said to do. So I quit my life. I quit college; I quit cute designer clothes and my little yellow convertible; I quit my boyfriend. I no longer have all the things the world says are important. I do not have a retirement fund; I do not even have electricity some days. But I have everything I know is important. I have a joy and a peace that are unimaginable and can come only from a place better than this earth. I cannot fathom being happier. Jesus wrecked my life, shattered it to pieces, and put it back together more beautifully.”
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I submit to you that right there in two paragraphs is why so many people are truly afraid to be wholly Christian and follow Christ. And yes, I include myself and other Christians in that statement. Because to do so would be to be called to drop so many of the things we are clutching tightly in our own hands that we think are important because we are afraid of stepping out when called. Because we lack the foresight to see that there are things we can do that are bigger than us. Or worse, because we believe that’s the role of the government and yet another program, which is madness.
People like Katie Davis remind us, sometimes painfully, that we can do more.
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Meanwhile, back on the home front:
Thursday at 4pm: a co-worker stops by my desk to tell me that 56 weather-related accidents have occurred in our city that day (it’s snowing and the roads are still slick from last week’s snowfall). At 4:30 I leave. The next morning I would hear on the radio that there were 102 traffic accidents over a 24 hour period in our city.
5:20pm: I arrive home after a drive that normally takes me 20 minutes takes 50, but I see (thankfully) no fender-benders.
7pm: I attend Mass with my wife and daughter for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. It’s a holy day and since the boys did not have school they went at noon. There are no acolytes assigned, so Fr. Adam asks me and my friend Larry to assist. I hesitate because I’ve not shaved in a week, am wearing blue jeans and tennis shoes I wore to work. While my white alb covers me from the neck to the tops of my shoes, I wish I’d shaved or at least changed into my brown shoes. I’ve been reading and even writing about Advent as a season of preparation. I’ve just been humbled.
8pm: After Mass I offer to buy Father supper since I know he’s had a busy day. After taking my wife and daughter home I ask my oldest to come along 1) because even though we had supper over two hours ago I know he’ll not pass up on more food, and 2) Fr. Adam is his Theology II teacher at Pius and they both like to kid each other in good humor. Our young priest was newly ordained in May and owns a tremendous sense of humor which serves him well at our large and often demanding parish. He also professes a love of the chicken at Raisin’ Canes, so off we went.
9:15pm: As we’re dropping Father off at the rectory we see the snow crew is out in force clearing the snow for Mass and school the next day. I had anticipated this and tossed two shovels in the back of my truck. So Father grabbed a snowblower, and Nolan and I our shovels, and for the next 40 minutes worked to finish up with the rest of the guys.
10pm: I’m sitting at home drinking something to warm my insides.
It was a terrific evening, y’all.