As I grew up on our farm, I was enamored with all of our baby animals, their birth, their need for care, their growth. But perhaps I was most enamored with ducklings.

One of my aunts on my dad’s side of the family, Gertrude Borer always raised ducks and geese. One year she told me I, too, could raise ducks. She had lots of fertile eggs, which she was willing to share with me. All I needed was a setting hen —a “cluck”— to hatch the eggs. Another aunt, Bernie Spieker, helped me out with that part, when she was still single and lived with her parents. I had all I needed to raise some ducks!

I created a hatching place in the hay loft of our barn. It was constructed of straw bales. It was cozy and warm. So the setting hen took to these large eggs as if they were her own. Incubation period for ducks is near 4 weeks. I was impatient. I started with 10-12 eggs. Needless to say, there were not that many ducks hatched. When the ducklings first tried to break through the shell, I started to help some and I picked away at the shell. It was too immature for the baby ducks — to weak to survive. But 4 of them successfully broke through their shells to new life.  They are pictured here with three of my siblings— Jim—me — Bob and Ruth in the front.

Although the ducklings breaking through their tombs (shells), was gradual, it truly was a concrete lesson of the Resurrection.

Happy Easter to all!! We all need to break through our shells!

Fr. John Hagemann OSB