"It's very clear that she loves all of us by… the things that she'll do for us," said Veronica of her mother.
As the two sisters grew up and into their lives as students, their bond, built on self-giving, held steadfast, they say. Veronica and Miriam grew especially close when they both studied at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. It was here that the sisters deepened their faith as individuals, but also together.
"It was just the coolest thing ever," said Miriam. "I felt like I got to re-know her."
Veronica, who lived in an off-campus house, would invite Miriam over frequently, both sisters reported.
"She would always make me tea," said Miriam, "and we would go to Mass together."
Visiting her sister was a relief for Miriam in the midst of a sometimes socially overwhelming freshman-year experience, she said. It also gave Veronica the chance to exercise the "spiritual motherhood" that Letter to Women discusses, she said.
"College is funny," said Veronica. "You're so inclined to only think about yourself all the time."
"I found that to be a challenge, actually, in the beginning of college when I didn't have her there. Just because I'd realize, 'When was the last time I did something for someone else?' or really thought about someone else besides myself."
"So having her there just, I think, really encouraged me to… exercise the motherly virtues that I had kind of started to develop younger."
"It helped me, really, to strengthen those virtues because we didn't have our mom there or my older sister there…We kind of exchanged that with each other. So then she was able to… love me in a very real way."
Veronica's support meant more to Miriam more than Veronica knew. As the sisters were interviewed separately, it became clear that Veronica was largely unaware of the effects of her leadership.
Seeing her sister pursue her faith with such fervency, Miriam said, was "inspiring."
"I definitely feel like I found my faith more through her because… she was leading me. But it wasn't… pushy," she said. Small actions like invites to attend daily Mass, she said, made her realize just how solid her sister's faith was.
The feminine genius, established and fortified in their family, extended beyond their relationship. Veronica, said Miriam, helped her to develop deep and meaningful friendships.
"I have so many different relationships in place because of Veronica," Miriam said. Her sister's willingness to befriend people outside of her assumed "typical" circle, resulting in many unlikely friendships, is something she learned to imitate: "I've learned how to reach out of my comfort zone because I've seen her do it too."
"They all come from these different walks of life… it doesn't matter to her. Which I think is really cool. That's definitely impacted how I've made friends."
Veronica also showed Miriam an example of emotionally supportive friendships--something that certainly speaks of the feminine genius.
"They all feel so comfortable telling her stuff," Miriam said of Veronica's friends.
Veronica herself felt her friendships strengthen because of her their renewed, intuitive sisterly bonds.
"I was able to be more in touch with her and maybe even with my other friends, too," she said. "I don't think I'd be able to have… that same relationship with them if I didn't have sisters."
Thus, the feminine genius, if adequately fostered in the context of the home, has the capability to pour into relationships of all kinds and help to water the thirst of humanity for genuine love. The impact of "the genius of woman" is unparalleled.
"Describe your sister."
CNA interviewed the Miller sisters separately, but we asked both sisters to describe the other. Here are their answers:
Miriam, on Veronica:
-"She's super big-hearted and she's super compassionate and she's super kind."
- She is "wise beyond her years."
- She "has so many smart things to say."
-"She cares SO much."
-"She's super hard working and super smart, but she's so humble about it… She'll never talk about it. Like she didn't tell you she graduated from high school when she was 15." (Miriam is correct--Veronica definitely did not tell me this.)
-"She's really accomplished."
-She's humble: "She's so good at what she does, but she won't talk about it."
-She's "super pretty, super nice, super holy… and it doesn't affect her."
Veronica, on Miriam:
-"She cares about other people a lot. If she would get together with someone and have coffee with them, she's totally happy sitting and listening to the other person talk the whole time and will ask the other person questions and doesn't really talk about herself."
-"She's very joyful. Like, all the time."
-"She's awesome. She's out of town right now, so I miss her, too."
-"Just in the way she lives, you can just tell that she cares so much about other people."
-"If you ask her if she has a hair tie, she'll literally pull the hair tie out of her hair and give it to you."
-"She's super strong."
-"And she's very mature, too, I think."