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The theme of this week’s QTs will be: God chases all of us.
This week’s blog post features guest blogger, Amanda from Worthy of Agape. Please go check out her beautiful and inspiring ‘God chases all of us’ story. Thank you, Amanda!
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Barbara Curtis: My Mom, who is completely electronic media-free, sometimes knows more about what is going on in the world than I do simply because she reads newspapers. Over Thanksgiving, she told me about a 64-year old woman who died suddenly on Oct 30th. The woman was a ‘local’ from my hometown area and she was a writer in our Diocesan paper. Little did I know the impact this woman, Barbara Curtis, would have on me.
Barbara Curtis was the mother of 12 children. When I heard that I thought, “Oh, she was a life-long counter-cultural Catholic with a large family.” But, when I looked deeper, I found out that God had completely transformed her life and that she only converted to the Catholic Faith 5 years ago. The rest of the QTs will reveal what an amazing woman Barbara was and how God truly does chase all of us.
None of us live a life of perfect obedience to God. We all fail Him. But, these stories of sin, redemption and transformation glorify God in a way that is, for me, sometimes more moving than a life of obedience. I look at these stories and the crucifix makes sense to me. It becomes…. captivating. It becomes…desirable.
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12 Children: Barbara and her husband, Tripp, have 12 children. Child #8 was born with Down’s Syndrome. So, they decided to adopt 3 more children with Down’s Syndrome.
This act of courage and love left me speechless.
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Child #9: Barbara and Tripp’s 9th child, Maddy Curtis, was a contestant on American Idol. Take a listen to her here. The clip shows a 16-year old Maddy talking about her Down’s Syndrome siblings just before her audition on American Idol.
She said, “The four boys bring out the best in every person they meet. They see the world in colors and we need to see the world that way.”
For her audition, she sang an amazing and soulful version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
Notice what the judges say about Maddy. They notice that she is different from other 16- year old contestants in that she is “not annoying.” I think what they mean is that she is unspoiled and humble. These priceless characteristics in a child are often a result of being in a large family…. especially a family that embraces the imperfect among us.
After being eliminated from American Idol, Maddy decided to raise money for Haiti Relief. She performed a one-woman show which sold out two full houses at Franklin Park Performing Arts Center in Purcellville, VA January 31, 2010. All for charity.
She has the voice of an angel and she uses it for good. This is another priceless characteristic. To know our gifts and talents are from God and they are to be applied for good….for His glory.
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Pro-life: When I hear of large families, I assume they are and always have been pro-life. But, this is the part that brought me to tears. Barbara has not always been pro-life. As a matter of fact, when you read this, you see that she was a strong advocate in the pro-abortion movement in her mid-20’s. In that same article she reveals her own tragic involvement in abortion.
I know of several girls who have had abortions and most of the time, their lives spiral downward. The impact of their abortion lingers long after they participate in the death of their children.
But, Barbara’s life spiraled upward to the glory of God. God’s grace and her cooperation with Him completely transformed her life. Her life and heart were transformed to the point where she became a significant witness to the world. She showed us that all life is precious, including those shunned by the world.
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Lord?: Barbara died of a massive stroke. The funeral Mass included her children singing a four-part a cappella version of ‘Abide with Me.’ One of the Down’s Syndrome children let out a wail of distress during the Mass. The beauty of these children is that their emotions are real. They honestly express what we are afraid to feel and express.
I did not know Barbara Curtis and my heart wailed “Why her Lord?” She has all those babies (I call all children babies…even the grown ones) who need her. She is such a witness to the Faith and the pro-life cause. How can You take her life?
But, God is the Author of life and of death. He creates life and allows us the privilege of co-creating with Him. And He calls us home according to His will and perfect plan.
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Saints Among Us: Barbara became a Christian about 25 years ago and she entered the fullness of the faith when she converted to the Catholic Faith in 2007. God chased her and she cooperated with Him. Her life was completely transformed.
But, the first half of her life was tragic and left many emotional scars. She was a survivor of her parent’s divorce, she battled alcoholism, suffered neglect and spent much of her young life in foster homes after her Father abandoned the family. She was a former radical leftist, feminist and abortion activist. But, God chased her and transformed her.
Barbara homeschooled her children and had a long-running blog called Mommylife.net. She was a writer for the Arlington Catholic Herald. She wrote nine books and more than 1,200 articles during her professional career. She was a certified Montessori teacher with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.
Barbara was strongly pro-life not only in word, but in deed.
It is people like Barbara who motivate me to do more, to be more and to love more. She convicted me as a Mother in this article with her simple recipe for success: All you have to do is sit down to a family dinner. Because she had ‘walked the walk’ and had raised 12 children, I put a lot of merit in her advice. I was immediately motivated to enact this ‘sit down to a family dinner’ change in our home and we have already experienced blessings from her ‘simple recipe for success.’
God bless the Curtis family and may the soul of Barbara, who has faithfully departed us, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
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