How do you celebrate a person’s 100th birthday? Well, to manifest our love and thanksgiving for Sister Petronilla Metzger, her 100th was celebrated and remembered with special events for three days: on September 27, her actual birthday, with the Presentation Sisters and Associates at Sacred Heart Convent, Fargo; on September 28 with her large, extended family that culminated with the Eucharistic celebration presided by her grandnephew, Fr. Kyle Metzger; and on September 29 with an open house for one and all. Now that is a birthday celebration worthy of a century of life and blessings!
Asked what her secret was to such a long life, Sister Petronilla’s bottom line response was: “inner freedom; be free.” She has a great capacity for detachment that allows her to be fully mindful in the present moment. She is totally present with whomever she is relating, at whatever ministry she is engaged. She said she is rarely anxious and hardly ever worries.
She found it difficult to name two or three highlights of her life when asked. She stated: “I cannot just point to a few highlights. I don’t have any highlights. Every person that came to my life is a highlight, because what happens in the encounter is a highlight.” In the same way, she could not pick a favorite ministry over another. Petronilla said, “When I was in a ministry, I was committed to that ministry. I can’t say one was a favorite over another. When a ministry was finished, I left it and moved on to the next. I enjoyed each ministry. In each ministry, I learned a lot.”
“To live in the now, to focus on what is…” This characterizes Sister Petronilla who lives each day to the fullest. She is blessed with a long and healthy life, and we are blessed by her presence among us.
Sister Petronilla withstood the extended three-day birthday celebration with grace, innate poise, and full presence to everyone who came. With her, we give thanks to God for a faithful and well-lived life.