By Vicky Braun
Colorado State University
“Motherhood is what the Lord arranged for us!” exclaimed Kitty as soon as I asked her about motherhood. Well, Kitty must really be living out the Lord’s will because she has had sixteen children!
Kitty is from Shelbyville in central Indiana, in the heart of corn country, and is now living at the Mullen Home in Denver. She and her husband, when they were young, had bought a few acres of land in Shelbyville and started a farm there. She recalls that it was her desire to go with her husband and babies to church that had brought her into the Catholic Church. “I became gung-ho for the children to be raised Catholic!” She drove them fifty miles to the Catholic school, and the children husked corn to earn money for school clothes.
I asked Kitty about the birthing and pregnancy. She sounded as tough as nails when she said she had no problems giving birth to any of her children. She explained how natural pregnancy can be, and then added, “I had the same doctor help me with all sixteen births. He lives in Rushmore, and of course he still knows me! We had one baby only nine minutes after I got to the hospital!”
“After the sixth child,” Kitty continued, “people told me that I didn’t need to have any more. But the Lord thought differently! And I’m glad I had them. I was following the rules of the Catholic Church and I have had a happy life. It certainly was hard work, but on the farm we made it work. We had tomatoes, chickens, pigs, corn, wheat, and milk cows. Now that the children are grown it is good that one family can help the other. I felt that I did what the Lord wanted me to do. The family is stronger because we can rely on each other—today, just like when we were all on the farm.”
Kitty recalls the recent celebration her 90th birthday as she shows me the many pictures around her room. We had a “shindig” Kitty exclaims, showing her Hoosier roots. “All my children came for Holy Mass and we had two accordion players and a dance. I got up and pretended I knew how to dance!” With a full heart and gracious smile that come from her ninety years of life she proclaimed, “I am so proud of my family, all of them.”
Photo: The Sednek Family, from a 1963 newspaper article