My Heart Can’t Stop Crying

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I am so overwhelmed with emotions right now, part due to being pregnant, part due to being a woman, a mother, a wife, and part due to being apart of the Franciscan University family. A former alumni and girl I remember passing on campus tragically passed away yesterday after suffering a brain aneurysm resulting from a wasp attack. She was married to her college sweetheart from FUS, mother to four beautiful babies under the age of 7, and twenty one weeks pregnant with her fifth child.

Sarah and her baby girl, Cecilia, did not survive. Sarah’s birthday would have been on Saturday.

family photo

Yesterday, I felt as if it were my own sister. I was devastated. I couldn’t stop crying. Couldn’t stop being angry at God, for these babies! For this devoted husband! Why? How? How could this happen? With not even a chance to say goodbye? How traumatic for these dear children. How deeply, horribly, tragic. It makes no sense to me.

Perhaps the reason for my upset stems from the fact of how close to home it hits me. I am exactly twenty-one weeks pregnant. Camera Guy is my college sweetheart. We all went to FUS.  We both homeschool our kids. We both have a bunch of little kids and hopes and dreams for more.  It scared me stiff to think that at any given moment, some of us may never have the chance to say what needs to be said…to hold our spouses close, to kiss our babies one more time, to go to the sacraments, to hug our family.

I can’t say much else, I just feel driven to get her story out there and to ask for your help to donate whatever you can, even if it’s just one dollar…for assistance to the family or assistance in the funeral costs. On the one site alone, generous supporters have already raised over $82 thousand in ONE DAY!

I don’t know Sarah, I never had a personal relationship with her. But I feel drawn to her, oddly connected to her spiritually. I began begging her for her intercession yesterday in my own journey of motherhood. I found it eerily coincidental, that she- a homeschooling housewife, passed away on the feast of Saint Martha. Saint Martha herself the very icon of domesticity. Ironic? I don’t think God is ever ironic.may3

In the midst of my making sense of this tragedy, I found her blog and discovered that she designed handmade clay rosaries. She was so devoted to the rosary! You have to do her the honor and look at her site. I was moved, deeply moved, by the detail in her work and the meanings behind the different symbols on each clay bead she designed.

I found the most comfort in her last post. And her quote is what I want to leave you with. Her latest bead she designed was the anchor. When I read her cheery description on why she chose to make an anchor bead, I burst into tears. Apparently, she had been wanting to make this bead for a while. Sarah wrote:

“I love the symbol of the anchor for hope. It is very powerful.  Hope is the virtue of having confidence in God’s mercy that we will be in heaven with Him someday.  When we have that hope, nothing in life can move us. We are anchored in God.  Now that is something I need to pray for everyday and I hope you are inspired and reminded by this bead to pray too”



Sarah Harkins, pray for us!

16 thoughts on “My Heart Can’t Stop Crying

  1. Heartsick is how I’ve been feeling all week too. I knew Sarah, though not very well. She was a senior my freshman year and part of that group of Handmaids who exemplified the values that made me want to be a Handmaid. She would come back frequently for visits and alumni weekends and I was always struck first by how amazingly beautiful she was and after that how fun-loving she was. Reading her obit yesterday, I couldn’t believe how much she had accomplished in her short life; basically everything I hope to accomplish. I can’t imagine what her husband and family must be going through…

  2. Thank you Annemarie, I too could have written every single word. I did know Sarah, and my heart is just breaking over and over again every day.

  3. I was so sad to hear this, Annemarie. God’s ways are certainly mysterious, but He is always good and will work even this tragedy out for the good of all involved. I think of JPII and St. Therese who both lost their mother at a young age….God knows why. May she rest in the unsurpassing joy and peace of Heaven, where she will be a POWERFUL intercessor for all of us left behind….

    Love you,


    Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 01:34:50 +0000 To:

  4. That was so, so touching and so beautiful. I too did not know her, but like you, read her blog and was also in awe of her piety and that exact same passage you quoted above. She also mentioned somewhere in her blog about ultimate trust. I read that and got goosebumps. Thanks for sharing this!

  5. Thank you so much for writing this. I am an FUS alum as well, and a blogger too. I just cannot bring myself to write anything! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us here. I stand with you in prayer and sorrow for the Harkins family at what a great, great loss they are experiencing. In Christ, Mary

    • Thank you for sharing this news, Brianna! God bless you. To all of you ladies, thank you for spreading her story…you were all so blessed to have actually known Sarah! What a gift, I am sure.

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  7. Well said Am! I feel for this family,but take comfort in the fact that I am seeing her story reposted on facebook again and again. What a loving legacy this beautiful woman has left behind. She has obviously touched so many, and will continue to inspire people. She must be looking down fir heaven with a motherly smile pleased to think because of her people will be inspired to live a fuller life. My prayers and thoughts go out to her husband and children.

  8. Thank you for saying what has been pent-up in all of our hearts for the past week. Though I had lost touch with Sarah since college, I was so blessed to call her a friend during my time at FUS. I have projects in my basement we completed in El. Ed. classes together. Maybe souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Sarah, pray for us ❤

  9. I do know Sarah and her family and am thankful for beautiful posts like this. It’s so amazing how many lives she has touched. There has to be more good from this whole thing, right? That is the only that makes it all make sense, the good that comes from all of this. Thank you for writing and sharing your heart.

  10. this is beautiful. I’ve been struggling so much this week to understand this tragedy and to find God’s mercy in it. I am also an FUS grad, married to my alum sweetheart and with little people underfoot. It’s incredible the connection I feel to this woman I never met and to her beautiful grieving family. Thank you for your words, and for the suggestion to beg her intercession.

  11. I, too, have been deeply touched by Sarah’s story. Although I didn’t know her personally, like you, her children’s ages are my children’s ages, with one exception – my 5 year old lives in Heaven. I don’t understand why it had to be Sarah. I am also allergic to bee stings. I would have gladly taken her place. I will pray for her intercession tomorrow. Sarah certainly set an amazing example of how to be a faithful, devout Catholic that each of us can strive to be a little more like. And thank you for sharing the link to those beautiful bracelets.

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