Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Another incident from the People I Love by Father Roman Theisen.

Was I hearing correctly? Or was I overly tired and imagining what I thought I heard? It was late at night, about 10:30. We'd conducted regular Thursday evening catechumen classes and had several interviews . I'd locked the church and returned to the priest's house to find this beautiful high school girl waiting for me. Lisa was growing up in a tragically unhappy family. Her father was a notorious womanizer, bringing his girl friends home to flaunt before his wife and family. Lisa's mother, faced with a hopeless situation, was given to hysterics, hovering on the verge of a nervous breakdown. As always, the children, of whom Lisa was eldest, suffered.

But what was Lisa telling me now? "No one loves me," she was saying. "If you love me you'll take me to bed with you tonight and make love to me. Nobody will know." That wouldn't be true love," I tried to explain. " That would be selfish love. I'd be taking advantage of you when you're feeling rejected. It's because I do love you, and love you truly, that I am going to send you right home. You may not understand now, but sometime you'll realize I really love you for yourself, and not for my own selfish pleasure." Lisa slammed the door as she left. "No one in the whole world loves me, " she shouted back angrily.

Three days later her mother told me Lisa had disappeared from home. Then a month later she came to see me. "I just want to find out how my mother's doing," she said. "Don't tell her I came to see you." Lisa had taken a "hostess" job in a bar next to one of the U.S. Army camps. From time to time she came to see me. She allowed me to tell her mother only that she was alive and well.

Then one day Lisa came with a Polish boy from Hamtramck, Michigan. He'd met her in the bar and they wanted to get married. Before they left I persuaded them to call Lisa's mother, and there was a tearful reconciliation between mother and daughter. I eventually witnessed their marriage, and Lisa followed her soldier husband to the US. Back in the US Lisa's husband reenlisted in the Army and as a reenlistment bonus was allowed to pick his new duty post. He chose to return to Korea. They came to see me when they arrived back.

Some months later the phone rang. It was Lisa's husband. Congratulate me, Father Roman, he said, "I have a son! Lisa asked me to see if you can baptize him next Sunday afternoon?" I agreed and asked what name they were giving their baby. "Lisa give me no choice," he laughed. "She says you're the only person in the world she's sure really loves her, and the closest to a father she ever had. She insists we name our baby Roman"


  1. I've only recently found this blog and I love it. I'm a Catholic living in Korea.

    I love these stories you're posting from Father Roman Theisen...could you please give me information on where I can find this book in Korea?

    God Bless you.

  2. Thank you for the kind words. Fr. Theisen wrote these reflections for his fellow Maryknollers, relatives and friends. It was a private endeavor and never published. I am sorry but I would not be able to tell you how to get a copy.These vignettes were written in 1998 and Fr. Roman died in 2002. Many thanks for the interest.