When Darinka Golubic was born in Pittsburgh, PA on Jan. 26, 1913, her immigrant parents had no intention of staying in the United States. In fact, by 1920 they had returned to Karlevac, Yugoslavia. She attended school there for two years, when the family once again decided to come to the United States, this time to Whiting, Indiana.
From then on, Darinka was caught up in traveling and activity. In her childhood and youth she attended school on two continents – and as a teenager she joined the School Sisters of St. Francis of Christ the King in Lemont and was given the name Sr. Mary Antonia.
Earning a B.A. and an M.A. in Education, Sister went into the classroom (actually many classrooms from Pennsylvania to Kansas) as a teacher. She taught elementary school for more than 50 years and particularly enjoyed the younger children.
Although Sr. Mary Antonia now resides in St. Joseph Infirmary in Lemont, 100 years after her birth, she continues to travel – but now by wheelchair and not quite so far.
And it was by wheelchair that she traveled from the Alvernia Manor chapel where she had attended Mass, to the Alvernia Manor gathering room, Sinsky Hall, birthday-decorated and filled with her Sisters, family members and close friends, for a surprise party on Jan. 26, 2013.
For a woman who lives quietly, content to read books and the newspaper; read/hear good, clean jokes; pray; and take naps in her room, the party could have been overwhelming. However, Sister enjoyed the activity and attention.
“It was a big surprise,” she said. “I never expected anything. Really, it was a lot of fuss over 100 years.”
Seeing her youngest brother, Joe Golubic, and other relatives was the biggest part of the surprise for her.
A highlight at the party was the entertainment. Lemont Franciscan, Sr. Marjorie, music teacher at St. Pat’s-St. Al’s in Lemont, brought 15 of her first-grade students to sing a selection of songs at the party. For the last song, “Happy Birthday,” everyone was invited to join in for the first two verses. The third verse, written especially for Sr. Antonia, belonged only to the first graders.
What does one buy someone who is 100 years old and has vowed a life of poverty? It was a question that was easily answered. Nothing!
Sr. Antonia’s community members, knowing her love for children, decided to send a $100 donation to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in her name. Her Sisters, friends and family members were invited to add to the donation. This week, $1,500 was sent to St. Jude’s in honor of Sr. Antonia’s life and work with children. It is Sr. Antonia’s hope that some of the children helped at St. Jude’s will, like her, live to be 100.
For those who wish to live a long life, Sr. Antonia recommends, “Live in the present, day by day. Take each day as it comes.” She added, “Prayer is very important, and you can write that in big letters.”
“I’ve been happy with the wonderful people in my life, including some very nice children I have taught, the great Sisters with whom I have lived over the years, and other fine folks I have met,” Sr. Antonia said. “One hundred years goes by very quickly, you know.”
Editor’s note: This story and photos were submitted by Sr. Therese Ann Quigney of Lemont Franciscans (School Sisters of St. Francis of Christ the King).