‘God Is Faithful Always’

Jennifer Hubbard, mother of Catherine Violet Hubbard who died in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, shared her faith testimony to the Kansas City Chapter of Legatus August 8. (Megan Marley/Key photo)

By Megan Marley

Sometimes it’s difficult to see the point of prayer when terrible tragedy strikes. But one mother who lost her daughter in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school sees how God has been with her through it all.

Jennifer Hubbard spoke to the Kansas City chapter of Legatus on August 8 on how ‘God is Faithful Always’ in all seasons of life, even in the darkest of hours.

Hubbard is a monthly contributor to ‘Magnificat’, and is the Chair and president of the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, a rescue haven for injured, abused, abandoned or elderly animals of all sizes, created in honor of her little girl Catherine Violet, who loved animals.

The evening began with confessions, the Rosary and Mass, followed by cocktails, a brief meeting and dinner. Hubbard then gave her testimony during the coffee and dessert course.

Hubbard spoke of how she had drifted away from practicing her childhood faith, but that changed when her son Frederick was in the NICU.

“I made a deal with God: you bring my baby home, and I promise I’ll go to church. It was if I could make a wager with God—and the beauty of that is, God took my wager and Frederick came home and we started going to church,” she said.

“What breaks my heart is that God knew what was to come, and God was preparing me, so He took whatever I was willing to give. With that one hour on Sunday morning, He could grow me into that person I am today.”

The next step in her faith journey was growing in childlike wonder watching her son (and then daughter Catherine) experience the world for the first time, and in making ‘mom friends’ as they grew. One of Catherine’s friends’ moms, Sandy, became Jennifer’s good friend, and during frequent walks challenged her to pray and read scripture, and gave her prayer devotionals.

“Our walks taught me about a God that didn’t live on a throne in the kingdom of heaven, but a God who walked beside this woman every. single. day,” Hubbard explained.

“God was preparing me for what would happen on December 14—He knew I needed to be rooted in something, and that I had a place to go when I needed Him the most.”

“Catherine and Caroline died together, and Sandy and I waited for them in the firehouse. And there’s a comfort in knowing that the girls they are in heaven, and there’s a comfort in knowing that I was able to sit with a friend.”

“When you bury your baby, you start making decisions you don’t realize you have to make,” she continued. “We planned a funeral, we huddled together, we sought counseling for ourselves and our son, who had been just down the hall (at the school).”

A point of healing for their family later came in putting their son on the bus to go back to school the next year.

“In our house, a promise is a promise,” she said. “Telling him ‘See you when you get home’ just seemed right—because whether he came home to our earthly home, or he went home to his heavenly home, we can keep that promise.”

“We realize now we placed Frederick squarely in God’s hands,” she said. “It was a moment that we taught him it’s not your decision, it’s God’s decision.”

“And if we could put God in charge of Frederick, we should put our lives in His hands too.”

After her talk, Monsignor Stuart Swetland led the St. Michael prayer and gave a blessing before the program concluded. Members mingled to chat afterwards, some sharing their thoughts on the evening’s talk.

“It’s very encouraging to hear God’s comforting her as much as he did,” said Brian Gillispie, new Legatus member. “I can’t imagine going through that experience—every parent’s worst nightmare.”

Hubbard is one of the monthly presenters brought in to speak to Kansas City Legatus members. Other presenters this year included Mother Mary Assumpta Long, Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, John Labriola, founder of the Catholic Family Foundation, and Lamar Hunt, Jr., local Catholic entrepreneur.

Legatus is an organization for Catholic executives and their spouses who desire to study, live and spread their faith in their business, professional and personal lives.

“It’s so inspiring to hear someone like Jennifer, her story about her faith and her faith journey, but also to see the couples here, the love they have for one another, an their family, and they believe so strong about their Catholic Faith and sharing that with couples. In this day and age in the secular world, it’s so easy to get discouraged,” said Nelson Newcomer, head of the Kansas City chapter of Legatus.

The Kansas City chapter is in the process of formation, and once chartered will be the first to formally identify as blending two neighboring dioceses: the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Ks. and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

For more information on the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, visit cvhfoundation.org. For more information on the Kansas City chapter of Legatus, visit legatus.org/chapter/kansas-city.


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October 23, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph