Sisters in Christ

The Latin phrase “Alma Mater” means nourishing or kind mother.

There is no question that when I think of my Alma Mater, Franciscan University, nourishing mother rings true.  100%.

And so it is no surprise, then, that each friend I made while in college is a brother or sister in Christ.  Even the alumni I have met since leaving Steubenville are family.

That is why, when the news of Sarah Harkins hit Facebook, I began to pray fervently.  An Ave here and an Ave there, at my sink, and in front of my computer screen, begging Our Lady to intercede for Sarah.

The updates were pretty steady.

“Sarah (Schultzenberg- Handmaids of the Lord ’04) and Eric Harkins (Brothers of the Eternal Song ’04) are in desperate need of our prayers. Sarah, who is 5 months pregnant with the Harkins’ 5th child was stung by many wasps. This caused a series of medical events which led to a brain aneurism. Sarah is now in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator. The word from the hospital is that the situation is grim, and Sarah needs a miracle. Please, please pray for a miracle for this young family.”

Later, “Reports are that the Harkinses have lost the baby in Sarah’s womb, but they are still fighting to save Sarah. Please continue to pray for the family and for Sarah’s recovery.

And finally, “Terribly sad news: Sarah has passed on, following her and Eric’s daughter, Cecilia, who was baptized, into the arms of The Lord. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Please continue to pray for Eric and the children Sarah leaves behind.”

I was not at Franciscan with Sarah, but this beautiful woman, this wife and mother has not left my mind since the Facebook updates began.

She’s a sister in Christ.  And I mourn for her husband and her four beautiful children.  I mourn for her friends and college classmates and household sisters.  I mourn for the girls who prayed next to her in the Trinity Dorm chapel, or brushed their teeth next to her each night before bed.  I mourn for the bridesmaids and family members and girlfriends who will feel her absence so keenly.

Sarah gave birth to a daughter, Faustina, and told the birth story on her blog.  I read it this morning and was moved so deeply by Sarah’s words as she reflected on Faustina’s special needs she and her husband would face together:

“We will take the challenges as they come.  It’s all in God’s hands- her life and ours. No one knows what the future brings, but for those that trust in the Lord, He will be their strength.”

Sarah Harkins, dear sister in Christ, pray for us and for all those who are missing you so very deeply.

If you feel inspired to give, go to


Thank you, A. Thimons for your beautiful reflection.

And Ginny, for sharing your thoughts as you mourn the loss of your dear friend.


Categories: Reflecting


2 Responses to Sisters in Christ

  1. so, so sad… prayers will continue for family and friends…. thank you, Jesus, for the gift of heaven and eternal life.

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