Celebrating Life

By Sister Carol Crepeau

Today is my birthday. My Italian friends tell me that if I had been born in Rome I could very well been named Assumpta, since I share my birthday with the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. As life and geography would have it, I was born in Chicago and am named Carol.

When I was five years old my grandfather swept me, his oldest grandchild, into his arm and heart and took it upon himself to start me on the “path of life.”active-adolescent-affection-167300 His recurring words, spoken often and clearly, of who I am and who I am invited to become stay with me today.

When you were little, how did you celebrate your birthday? Well my mom was a great cook and for birthdays in my family, we had the special “privilege” of cooking our favorite meal, all courses, side by side with her in our kitchen. My dad did not have this privilege. This practice started when I was six and somehow the cooking and entertaining on special days is imbedded in my genes. In fact, my housemate, Sister Jackie, and I have an active, unofficial ministry of wining and dining. Thanks,

Today, when I celebrate my birthday, it is quieter, though no less evocative of childhood cooking and gathering with family and friends and making wishes for the whole world. I still sit with my Grandfather’s advice of who I am, though some of his descriptors have been adjusted a bit.

Two pieces of wisdom are active in my spirit these days – the first a Chinese proverb:

If I keep a green bough in my heart the singing bird will come.

The second a Cherokee expression:

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.

So on this day I invite you to cook a meal, invite friends, gather a green bough for your heart and rejoice – wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyday, not only on our birthday, we would birth life?



About the Author

Sr. Carol photo edited
Sister Carol Crepeau, CSJ ministers as a facilitator and leader of group dynamics for non-profits. Guiding the annual Congregation of St Joseph Pilgrimage to LePuy and Lyon, France is one of the most wonderful activities of her life. She also enjoys a good book and gathering with friends for prayer and conversation.

47 thoughts on “Celebrating Life

  1. Kathy says:

    Happy happy birthday, Carol. Your Grandfather and your Mother enabled your gift of hospitality to flourish in true CSJ fashion. Have a great day!


  2. Katrina Davis says:

    Happy Birthday my friend! I celebrate my Birthday tomorrow, like you it will be more reflective and quieter than my younger years. Birthday Hugs – Love you!


  3. Maria Hill says:

    So that’s how you became such an outstanding cook and gatherer of people to celebrate with food and wine! Happy Birthday to you and thank you to your mother and grandfather.


  4. Marianne says:

    Happy Birthday, Carol. I am grateful to occasionally be the recipient of your wining and dining ministry. You make the world a better place.


  5. mwessel1515 says:

    Happy Birthday and warm wishes every day. Your reflection is wonderful. Thank you for providing inclusive gatherings with Jackie, including bonfires and 4th of July experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sallie Latkovich says:

    What a good and touching birthday reflection. CAROL!!! As with you, we are the sum of our life experiences. Happy Birthday!


  7. Mary Margaret Kissel says:

    Thank you for sharing a part of your history. Some more history-my son, John met you at the O’Neal household in San Diego many years ago. My husband’s aunts, Sr. Clare Kissel and Sr. Felice Kissel were members of the La Grange CSJ Community. Our family visits the Motherhouse annually and my niece teaches at Nazareth. Our world is so small – just the right size for our loving God! May you be blessed with many miracles that will brighten your days! Mary Margaret


  8. Gayle Reimann Males says:

    Happy birthday Sister Carol. Blessings for many more years. Our family always celebrates with family dinners. Great times!



    Greetings from the Federation Novitiate in Rochester NY! I hope you had a wonderful birthday Carol! Thanks for sharing your beautiful memories. Much love to you!!


  10. says:

    Your story of celebration brought many memories to mind, Sister Carol. You were my English teacher at Naz many birthdays ago in the 1970s. I still remember your writing assignments. Happy birthday one day late. Keep celebrating, and, as Bob Hope used to say, thanks for the memories!


  11. Susan Jonas says:

    My dear husband celebrates his big 60th birthday today. He is very low key and would never permit me to throw a party. But he does enjoy having his family members and especially our son & daughter around to sing Happy Birthday over a carrot cake. ( I like to add the wine.) Your story made me recall so many birthday meals and cakes around my grandmother’s table. Happy year to you, and thanks for the article.


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