This powerful and touching testimony was recently sent to Women of Grace© by Kirk and Cathleen Henrich of Kingwood, Texas. It documents a grace-filled encounter they had with Catholic Radio and Johnnette that led to the birth of a little girl named Clare . . . whom Johnnette had the pleasure to meet in person this past November at a conference at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Houston, Texas!
In 2003, we moved from the extremely expensive San Francisco Bay Area to raise our young family of two children in a more affordable community outside of Sacramento, CA. Upon arriving there, we were introduced to faithful Catholics at our new parish. They were on fire for their faith, open to life and eager to learn about and share their faith. It was at this time that Cathleen began to listen to Catholic Radio which introduced her to women like Mother Angelica, Teresa Tomeo and Johnnette Benkovic. The splendor of truth emanating from the Catholic faith began opening our hearts both through the content of these radio programs and fellow parishioners.
Cathleen began pouring into books on the Catholic faith. She suddenly realized that my decision to get a vasectomy in the year 2000, cut us off from life as a couple and that we were possibly living in mortal sin. It sickened her to think of how many more children we could have brought into our family and this world had we not been engaging in contraception and sterilization. Cathleen approached me with this dilemma in her heart and soul. Unfortunately, I had not been listening to Catholic Radio nor met or heard any of these zealous Catholic women. Consequently, I pushed back on any idea about having more children and especially on a reversal.
Cathleen then turned to fellow parishioners and Catholic Radio for support. Their recommendation was to pray the Rosary for my conversion from sterilization to life. She tried providing me Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body”, then Christopher West’s “Theology of the Body Explained” and finally “Good New About Sex and Marriage.” What husband would not open that book when placed on his nightstand by his wife? That was a brilliant move. I knew at that point, she was not giving up.
After reading the book, my eyes were beginning to open. I agreed to going ahead with the reversal procedure but there were three concerns. The first question was where could we get this done? The second question was where were we going to find the extra $7,000 for the procedure? The third question was, could we still have children? We were both 40 years old.
Then God really began to step in as shortly after that, Cathleen and her siblings all received $10,000 checks from their grandfather out of the blue. If that was not enough, I received a $7,000 bonus check. I literally remember the chills I felt from head to toe as I opened the letter and read the check. I remember saying to myself, “OK. Lord. I am ready.”
I now had one more hurdle and that was finding a competent physician to perform the reversal surgery. I went back to my physician I left in the Bay Area who had performed my vasectomy and asked him for recommendations. After getting over the shock of what I was asking him for 5 years later, he said he knew of a physician at UC Davis who did more reversal procedures than anyone else in the country at that time. This physician was less than an hour from where we lived! The surgery was successfully completed and on August 8, 2007, Clare Frances was born.
Clare was named after St. Clare of Assisi for two reasons. The first was we loved the name. The second was due to the fact that EWTN Radio was a major factor in Clare being born and it was founded by Mother Angelica and the Poor Clare nuns. We later discovered that Clare’s due date, August 11th, was the feast day of the same St. Clare of Assisi!! There are no coincidences.
Since then, we have poured ourselves into the Catholic faith. Clare is a wonderful witness. She is a joyful and confident girl. She is also 10 years younger than her next oldest sibling which brings many questions and opportunities to evangelize. Cathleen and I owe so much to Johnnette and her ministry. What a joy to come full circle by introducing Johnnette to Clare in November.
Your Brother & Sister In Christ,
Kirk and Cathleen Henrich