Hope always finds a way! The Hope Family shared love, appreciation, and blessings with Sr Anne Stephen Hajducek today in celebration of her 105th birthday. Since the pandemic precluded an in-person party, about 60 of us Zoomed in to her at St. Catherine’s Convent in Caldwell, NJ to celebrate with her online, sharing good wishes and singing Happy Birthday and the Dominican blessing – no less heartfelt for the echo and audio lag.
Sr. Anne Stephen spoke to everyone and gave us her blessing as well (thanks to Gina Ciliberto and Liz Baganz-Randolph for the transcript):
Everything is so uncertain in the world today. I pray for everybody. I hope I am doing some good according to the will of God. I thank God for my life.
After all these years, I can’t understand why I’m still here, but I know in God’s mercy and goodness He wants me here.
So I try to walk according to His most holy word and plan. I’m sometimes not successful in accepting all the difficulties, but I think He understands…so I just put everything in His hands.
I know the love among our Dominican family. Even though we’re so far separated, we are all still united in spirit in the love and grace of God. May we always remain that way as long as we survive.
St. Joseph, my patron saint, look down on all of you. Mary the mother of God, I place all my confidence in her gentle loving care. Please, everyone, put all your love, your desires, your difficulties in her hands. God bless everyone.
Sr. Anne Stephen is the oldest member of the Dominican Sisters of Hope, and has lived through not only one but two pandemics. Born in 1917, she survived the 1918 influenza epidemic as well as Covid-19, which she recovered from in April 2020. She was quoted in Parade Magazine later that year, “Even at 103 years old, life gives us surprises! Instead of worrying about the future,” she said, “I’m focusing on prayer and gratitude now.”