A Mother’s Day Story from Sr. Josita Hanus, ND

When I think of my parents I have deep feelings of gratitude. 88 years ago, on February 6th Leo Hanus & Kristine Polak began a life together of shared love. Their attendants were: Mary Hanus Steager and Lad Polak and little Pauline Rolenc Voboril. Theirs was a full life welcoming eight children who surely kept them busy.

In her later years my mother put together the memories of her life.  This included a little paragraph on the birth of each child. My paragraph touched me deeply as I read of her long labor finally being assisted by a special doctor from Lincoln. After I read that I asked her if she was worried during the birth of her other seven children. Her response, “I always felt safe knowing your father was praying for me and for a healthy child.”

A living faith was the greatest gift my parents would give us children. Prayer was important in our home along with teaching Christian values. A great work ethic was modeled for us children. Mother kept a well-organized home with great food, clean clothes (maybe with patches), and even finding time to play a game outdoors, not to forget that during harvest time she also often helped our dad in the field.

Before we went to bed we had to make sure everything was put into its place. Mother always said, “We don’t want the doctor to trip and fall over anything if he needs to make a house call in the middle of the night.” To this day, none of us remember this ever happening, but we always had a clean house.

At age 14 I left home to attend Notre Dame Academy. Missing my family brought many lonesome tears but mom’s weekly letters brought much comfort. A few days into my Senior year I contracted Polio. Again my parent’s love and support was there to encourage me with letters and visits to the hospital.

After graduation and a year at home continuing physical therapy I began thinking about my future life plans. I got in touch with my pre-Polio urgings and shared with my parents the desire to follow a call I felt to become a Sister.  Their support was always there and felt during my 36 years of teaching as well as when Post Polio affected my left vocal cord limiting my speaking.

Our family enjoyed visits to our parent’s home over the years….of course enjoying mom’s good meals and dad’s eagerness to hear about our work and always giving a word of support and encouragement.

One of these visits was on February 6, 1994 when we were able to gather with our parents to celebrate their 60th anniversary. We smile at our youth in the picture showing our parents in the front row, Loretta Masur to mom’s right and Dorothy Hain to dad’s left and the back row showing, Ernest, Archbishop Jerome, Sister Josita, Alfred, Leo and Marilyn Haerr.

Two years later our father passed away and we were able to enjoy the continued love of our mother for nine more years.  I have no doubt their love and support still energizes me and for this I continue to have deep gratitude.