This challenging chapter of her life story was published and distributed with the Sunday announcements at St. Richard's Parish this last Sunday (April 10, 2011).
My Personal Journey to Becoming a Catholic
by Kay Solberg Brady
I was born in eastern North Dakota in a very close-knit Norwegian Lutheran family. They have worshiped at Norway Lutheran Church for at least four, possibly five generations. We lived on a farm nine miles east of Mayville, ND, with two older brothers and one who was younger, but no sisters. While growing up I had a cousin and classmate who were Catholic. I was always fascinated by the way they lived their lives and by the way they worshiped.
I met my best friend who now has been my husband of 54 years when I was 19. He happened to be a college friend of my oldest brother. Larry was Catholic so about four months before our wedding I began religious instruction from the local priest, Father Hannaher to determine if I wanted to become a member of the Catholic Church. After six weeks of one-on-one instruction from that wonderful priest, I decided to become a Catholic.
Coming from a Lutheran family and joining the Catholic Church in the 1950’s in North Dakota became a very big issue. The fact that there were Catholics in my extended family didn’t seem to make any difference. My mother was the most upset. My dad had to support my mom. My grandmother Anderson, my mom’s mother who was 80 at the time was a great support to me. Everyone really liked Larry and believed we would have a good future.
We continued to plan our wedding day, with some major changes. I was baptized a second time a month before our wedding with a good friend serving as my godmother. (I continue to have a close relationship with her.) The events became very upsetting for my mom during those final planning days. Larry and I decided to go our separate ways just two weeks before our wedding day. That only lasted a few hours as my brother went to the college to get Larry in the middle of the night, and then came for me. He was such a great help to both of us.
As we got closer to the wedding, feelings within the family didn’t change. After hours of talk and prayer, Larry and I decided that we wanted to be married and we continued with our plans. The evening before our wedding my dad called to say, “I’m sorry Kay but you are no longer a part of our family!” I went to be with my godmother, Rosemary. We cried and I was so upset that she had me stay with her through the night as we prayed the rosary and talked. What a comfort she was!
The next day she helped me get ready for my wedding in St. Rose of Lima Church in Hillsboro, ND at 9:00 a. m. on December 28, 1956. The number of friends and family invited had been reduced because of the feelings. My older brother gave me away. Father Hannaher said he had never seen such a happy bride coming down the isle.
My parents and two of my brothers did not attend our wedding, but two weeks later we were invited to the farm for Sunday dinner. The worst was over! There have been good feelings in my family ever since the emotional start. Both Larry and I understood my parent’s disappointment, and really enjoyed the many years we had with them throughout our married life.
I have never regretted joining the Catholic Church. My best times are when I’m in Church for Mass or helping people in any way in can.
Kay and Larry have been members of St. Richard’s since 1963. Kay serves as a greeter, Loaves and Fishes server coordinator, Prayer Shawl Ministry, Parish Festival, and both Spring and Fall Rummage Sales. Kay adds that St. Richard’s has been a home away from home for many years. She wishes to give credit for her involvement in activities at St. Richard’s to Dorothy Becker. What a wonderful friend and worker she was!