Testifying to the life-changing and joy-giving power of the sacraments, Catholic author Nancy Jo Sullivan shares how moments in her life and that of her late daughter Sarah—who had Down syndrome—unexpectedly triggered a renewed faith and deeper relationship with God and others.
With startling and courageous clarity, Nancy Jo Sullivan recalls the journey that led her to renew and reclaim the faith of her childhood that had gone dormant until she experienced it through the eyes of Sarah, her child with Down syndrome. Her artfully told story challenges us to see the sacraments anew, deepening our own faith and reminding us of the beauty in each sacrament.
Small events in Sarah’s life—in which her daughter’s vision and voice helped those around her to realize the preciousness of their life and faith—trigger Sullivan’s reflections on moments in her own life and on the sacraments. Childhood memories of almost drowning surface at Sarah’s baptism, as Sullivan feels the same powerlessness at the thought of raising her disabled daughter that she felt when she thrashed desperately in the water. Through the words of the priest as he pours the baptismal waters on Sarah, Sullivan realized how Baptism draws us from the overwhelming waters in our life to the light of life with God. Our journey with Sullivan continues through the sacraments until the end of Sarah’s life, when memories of Sullivan’s father’s fatal heart attack collide with her internal debate of whether it is time for Sarah to receive the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Sullivan realizes that this sacrament, so often associated with death, is really meant to give us life and hope.