Little miracles: An Advent and Christmas reflection

“What will happen today?” My husband asked me that question this morning before we even got out of bed. It has been a very eventful week (which I’ll get into a bit later on). We can say it was even an eventful Advent season. There was the recent passing of my very dear friend and spiritual director Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR which was on December 13th. Prior to that, we had been waiting. Waiting in this Advent season which is meant to prepare our hearts–waiting for the Christ Child, but also waiting for the Second Coming of Christ which is also our focus during these very holy days.

Much of our personal waiting this Advent season has been in regard to dear Fr. Andrew whose health had suddenly taken a drastic decline–as he seemed to be rushing towards death in a certain sense. But, no one really knew when it would occur. Was it to be on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception which was coming up? No, that day came and went. Father still struggled physically. But, no one knew when he would leave us. We tended to think it would be on a feast day. Would it be the following day which was the anniversary of Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s death–someone who was very special to Fr. Andrew? No, Father would still hang in the balance–the Friars surrounding him with prayer and the sacraments. Waiting…loving, comforting…praying…

I am deeply grateful that I was able to visit with Fr. Andrew a couple of times in his last days, as well as to talk to him on the phone. We had beautiful conversations talking about our Faith, various saints, Our Lady of Fatima, and redemptive suffering. We had a blessed time praying together in the chapel of his Friary too.

I’ll never forget our last conversations which are etched now upon my heart. Especially, when I was about to leave the Friary and Fr. Andrew asked the Friar attending to him to please shut the door so we could have more time for a conversation there at the door. And with an extra kiss and hug, we bid our good bye and dear Father thanked me so sweetly for coming to visit and for the words I shared with him. There would be one more visit about a week and a half later. It was short but powerful. Father let me know that he was offering and accepting every ounce of tribulation, pain, and suffering.

We all wondered about Fr. Andrew’s passing. Would it be on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we wondered? No. Father lived through the entire day and night dedicated to the Patroness of his Religious Order. He passed on to his Eternal Reward the following morning. It was on the 13th of the month, a number very significant to Our Lady of Fatima. It was also the feast of Saint Lucy, who was the patron saint of Lucia, one of the Fatima visionaries. I shed some tears after receiving the phone call from one of the Friars shortly after his death, even though I knew it would be coming. He was very dear to me. I had been praying for a miracle, but was also fully trusting the Divine Physician who knew what HE was doing. I had no doubt.

I was told that the Friars prayed many prayers for the dying around dear Fr. Andrew’s bedside. During the Litany of the Saints, as Saint Andrew was invoked, our saintly Fr. Andrew breathed his last breath. Wow.

This past week

This past week was Fr. Andrew’s Wake and Funeral. It was a very bittersweet time. No one wanted to see Father go so soon, we would rather have his comforting presence a while longer. But we do have to trust Our Lord. It was good to see the many folks who came out to be there for Fr. Andrew and his Friars and Sisters.

It wasn’t easy seeing dear Fr. Andrew in a casket though, but I felt an abiding peace in my heart because I had no doubt where Fr. Andrew already was. He was in Heaven. Only his body lay there in the casket. Still, the utter certainty that the former comforting spiritual discussions and camaraderie would no longer exist–at least not in the way it had in the past was sad indeed. yet, to be completely honest, I certainly do look forward to staying very much “in touch” with dear Fr. Andrew through my prayers. Comfort fills my heart and I truly believe that Our Lady Herself came to get Fr. Andrew on the morning of December 13th.

The eulogies were extremely heartfelt and poignant. The funeral Mass was so grace-filled.

One tough part for me was at the closing of the casket before the funeral began when the choir began to sing “Sweet Sacrament.” I have vivid memories of Fr. Andrew carrying the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance into the chapel at every Catholic Marketing Network conference (CMN) and then singing that precious song. I can still hear it now. And, another sorrowful moment was as Fr. Andrew’s casket was wheeled down the aisle to exit the church, A pang of sorrow entered my heart when his casket passed by me.

As I felt that sorrow pierce me and cause a few tears to be shed, a beautiful CFR Sister that I knew passed by at that time and winked at me. I smiled up at her and knew she understood my pain. I think that we carried one another and lifted each other up these past couple of months and throughout the past week, especially. Fr. Andrew was so beloved to countless people all around the world. The wonders of technology and specifically through the EWTN television network that transported Fr. Andrew into people’s living rooms far and wide helped so many to get to know the humble saint. He will be sorely missed. However, I hope and pray that people all over will pray for his soul (since that is what we should do even if we feel certain that someone has gone to Heaven) and I hope that they not hesitate to ask Fr. Andrew for his intercession.

On another note, I noticed that you can request funeral cards here. A beautiful photo gallery is here.

An article in the National Catholic Register in which I am quoted. One thing I noted was that, “Father Andrew was such a bright beacon of light to our darkened world,” Aleteia also quotes me here.

On our way home from Fr. Andrew’s funeral, my husband and I played the Litany of the Saints song. We also played “Sweet Sacrament” and “Lift high the Cross” which was also sung at the funeral. We experienced a very holy time during our journey back home.


I’ll also share a sweet and kind of funny story with you. When I filmed many Sunday Night Prime shows with Fr. Andrew, my husband and I would take him out to a local diner afterwards. Father often ordered a piece of cheesecake and a cup of coffee. In a booth there, over a small meal or dessert we would discuss matters of Faith and our culture today. Fr. Andrew was concerned about the state of our culture and the fact that the faithful weren’t heeding Our Lady of Fatima’s message. Conversations with Fr. Andrew were always uplifting even when speaking about unsettling world events. Fr. Andrew’s encouraging words were always like a healing balm. Even through the most difficult challenges, Father brought peace to your soul.

But, back to our meals together at the diner. I’ll let you in on a little secret. One time early on before Father was very sick, when he ordered the cheesecake I asked gently, “Don’t you have Diabetes, Father?”

He answered with a smile, “I take pills for that.”

Don’t worry. He did take care of himself and was allowed a treat every once in a while.

Well, my husband suggested that we stop at the diner after the funeral in honor of Fr. Andrew. Anyway, we did need to eat lunch and it would be a long ride home. So, we stopped and ordered a light lunch and in honor of Fr. Andrew I ordered a slice of cheesecake to go. I’m giving you the whole blow-by-blow here. 🙂 Before we left the diner, the cashier handed my husband a bag. I came out of the Ladies room, my husband handed me the bag and said it was my dessert that I had ordered. I said that it couldn’t be because the waitress had just handed it to me in another bag a little bit earlier. I went back to the cashier and told her that someone must have given my husband someone else’s “doggie bag” (not knowing what was really in the bag), by mistake, but I wanted to give it back.

“Oh no!” the cashier told me. That’s for you, a sweet treat from us for a Merry Christmas!”

I was very surprised. I thanked her and off we went. We got outside and I took a look in the bag. It was a whole little home made cheesecake! What a sweet gift to receive on that special day! Thank you, Fr. Andrew!

Joy to follow sorrow

After attending the services for Fr. Andrew, my husband and I were able to go out-of-state the following day to visit my daughter and her two sons, one being my very new grandson! Our son-in-law was at work during the time that we could visit. So, we missed him but will see him soon. What an absolute joy it was to see my daughter and grandsons–to hug, and hold them! It was such a special highlight of our week. We were deeply thankful to have that time with them a few days before Christmas and directly after bidding farewell to dear Fr. Andrew.


During the Christmas shopping rush

I have no doubt that miracles occur in human hearts on a regular basis. We need to be attentive to the needs around us, even, and most especially in such a busy hustle and bustle season. Advent is supposed to be a time to ponder, pray, and grow in holiness, but the advertising frenzy prods us to be running around looking for deals and gadgets. Holy Mother Church encourages us to pause and pray while the world points us away from those holy things. I find that even in moments of crazy chaos, we can pray and ponder and even be of service to someone who needs us.

I am reminded of a few encounters during this busy season. One time I was at a local department store and in the check out line. The cashier told me to go to the next cashier who had just finished taking care of a customer. I followed her directions and a couple behind me started to rant and rave. They yelled at me because they thought I was cutting in line. It was actually quite a scene. I think the onlookers were amazed at the fuss. I told the couple that they could go ahead of me if that would make them happy. They did go ahead of me, but still seemed angry. I prayed for them. I’m sure that they needed prayers. They were so stressed out.

At another store, when out Christmas shopping, I bumped into a friend from church. She was going through a very rough time with her family and asked for prayers and a listening ear. I promised my prayers and after about a half an hour or so, we parted with big hugs. Later that night, I prayed much for her. The following day, I saw her again at another location. She said kiddingly, “We have to stop meeting like this!” I told her I had prayed for her in the night when I was unable to sleep and that I would continue to pray for her situation. She was very thankful, knowing I was praying for her seemed to bring comfort to her soul.

One dear friend who has been through a lot of strife in the past year told me she couldn’t find her Nativity set. It would bring much joy to her to be able to set it up, even just a few days before Jesus’ birthday. She searched all around and prayed to Saint Anthony. I prayed as well. If only she could find that simple symbol of God’s great love for mankind. It would brighten her holidays. I was so happy to receive her email letting me know that she finally found her Nativity set at the very bottom of a pile of boxes from her move. Little miracles are to be found all around.

Recently, out at the grocery store, I enjoyed a surprise encounter with a friend. It happened when just after I had finished shopping, I remembered an item I needed, and so before checking out, I headed to the Deli department on the other side of the store. A woman I know from a local diner gently grabbed onto my arm.

“I was hoping I would see you!” She was visibly excited.

It turns out that she had had brain surgery and was now hopefully fully recovered and back to work part time. She was telling me all about it and did mention that she had an upcoming appointment to go over further test results. She felt that God had put some very kind Angels in her path and told me about them too. As well, she thanked me for being in her life. I gave this woman a blessed Miraculous Medal that I had in my pocket that day. It was one that dear Fr. Andrew had blessed for me. She graciously accepted it and was vey grateful to have it. We parted with big hugs. I was so happy that God had arranged that we saw one another, especially because this woman had hoped she would see me. I never did pick up that Deli item! It certainly doesn’t matter!

Out of the mouths of babes!

Recently after Mass I was carrying the precious vessels to the sacristy and a parishioner greeted me and asked about Fr. Andrew. I gave her the news of his passing. Two young sisters (8 and 10 years old) that I know were nearby. I had one as a student in our faith formation program. The youngest asked ne a question.

“I heard you mention that someone died. Is that the person you asked us to pray for?”

I wanted to tell them gently. I didn’t want them to be upset right before Christmas. But they  needed to hear the truth. “Yes.” I told both of them. “But, don’t worry,” I said. “He went to heaven. It was time for him to pass on to his eternal reward. Thank you for praying for him!”

The youngest quickly spoke up.”Life is a war,” she stated calmly.

I was surprised at her statement, but very happy to know that she seemed to understood already the spiritual battle of life.

She elaborated. “Yes. we have to fight hard to live a good life and get to heaven.”

Her older sister chimed in. “I look at life as a test. And, I want to get an A plus!” She smiled. I was so proud of the girls!

“What will happen today?”

Remember I told you what my husband asked me this morning? “What will happen today?” He asked. He asked that question because we had had an eventful week, but mostly, I’m sure because of the Bobcat and the emergency situations with our neighbors which I’ll tell you about now. I told you part of the eventful week above–about Fr. Andrew’s Wake and funeral. That was followed by the trip out-of-state to see my daughter and grandchildren. Then, just yesterday an ambulance showed up at my neighbor’s home. I left what I was doing to rush over to see if I can help my elderly neighbors. In the past I brought my neighbor to the hospital when she was having a stroke as well as have assisted in some way when an ambulance would arrive to their home due to an emergency. Turned out my poor neighbor was having another stroke yesterday morning, but was also very disoriented. I asked her husband if I could go in the house to try and comfort her. I’ll call her “Bethany.”

“She probably won’t recognize you,” he told me, very matter-of fact.

I ventured in and went over to her amid the chaos of people speaking very loudly. There were paramedics, a caregiver, a nurse–everyone milling around in a flurry, checking papers, asking questions. I squeezed in through the people and approached Bethany, speaking softly to her. She greeted me with excitement, and did recognize me. I sat down right next to her on the couch. I was so happy that she knew who I was even while going through a stroke with advanced dementia. Little miracles are all around…A few minutes later and we were all helping to get Bethany on to the stretcher and the technicians then took her into the ambulance to get checked out at the hospital. I kissed her good bye before being whisked away and promised my prayers.

Later that day, I had to scare off a wild Bobcat that was about to attack my cat! Wow, I thought. Never a dull moment. This was right in my front yard! I was extremely thankful that I opened the front door when I did so I could see what was going on and get my cat in to safety. He is not going to be going outside any time soon!

Last night, actually it was two in the morning when the phone rang. It was Bethany’s husband asking if I could possibly go over to help him convince his wife to go inside the house. It was freezing cold outside and there was a sheet of ice over everything.  My elderly neighbor had just driven his wife home from the hospital and Bethany didn’t believe that it was her house. She absolutely flat out refused to go in. My neighbor didn’t know what he could do so he called me. I was happy that he did so, because I wanted to help. I told him I would dress quickly and go over. Before leaving my bedroom, I quickly grabbed a blessed Rosary from my bedside. I would offer it to her as a comfort (even though I knew that she does not practice any religion).

My husband reached for the flashlight lantern and he accompanied me out into the cold dark night and over to our neighbor’s home. We had to walk carefully because the ground was slick. I approached the car where my neighbor sat. She was very disoriented, but thankfully she recognized me and after some time, allowed me to assist her into her house and into her warm bed. We went carefully through each doorway, holding her up so she wouldn’t fall. Bethany was very happy to receive my Rosary beads and held it tightly in her hand as she lie in bed, finally beginning to warm up under the blankets.

Today, I stopped by their home  to check on my elderly neighbors and brought them a Christmas dessert. They were doing well and very appreciative for our help in the night.

Just before stopping to see them, on the way home from grocery shopping for Christmas dinner I asked my husband to pull up to a little diner in town so that I could give my friend an early Christmas hug. It was pouring rain, but I didn’t mind getting a little wet to surprise my friend. I knew that she worked on Saturdays. She was quite busy with a diner full of patrons, but our sweet Christmas hug was special indeed.

She paused a quick second so I could snap her photo. She had survived her intensive brain surgery and I was grateful too. Little, and yes, big miracles are happening all around us!

“What will happen today?” my husband asked. We never know, on any given day, but we offer our days–each one–over to the Lord, first thing in the morning and trust Him with our lives. We pray that we can be a light to others in a darkened world. We pray to bring others to Him!

Tomorrow is the last Sunday of Advent. It is also Christmas Eve. Where has the Advent journey taken us thus far? What will tomorrow bring? Let’s be sure to bring Christ’s light and love to so many wounded in our world today.

By the way, the Litany of the Saints and “Sweet Sacrament” have been continually playing in my head. God bless you! I am praying for you. Please pray for me.

Merry (almost) Christmas!


First day of Miraculous Medal novena: Going out with the “holy” scarves for the homeless.

mar1Today begins the Miraculous Medal novena which is nine days of prayer to end up on the feast day of November 25th (though it is also celebrated on November 27th, the anniversary of an important apparition).

It seems so fitting to me that I should be going out today with the first batch of “holy” scarves for the homeless and needy. You might have seen my post about this new part of my ministry: “Warming the homeless with LOVE, scarves, and sacramentals.”

Please pray along with me in this beautiful novena. I am requesting that in this novena all throughout the nine days which is to Jesus through Mary and Her blessed sacramental, the Miraculous Medal, that you ask for special help for the homeless and unfortunate and if you could, please keep my ministry in your prayers as well. Of course, we don’t want to forget to include France in this novena. The Blessed Mother Herself mentioned France to St. Catherine in one of Her apparitions to her when explaining the Miraculous medal.

Please add all of your own intentions in this powerful novena. Thank you in advance for praying for the homeless, for my encounters with them when I gift them with the “holy” scarves, that Our Lord would really speak to their hearts, and for whatever God’s holy Will might be in this regard.

Here is the novena prayer (but please continue to read the post below the prayers because there is more):

Novena of the Miraculous Medal

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy

   Spirit. Amen.

   Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your

   faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your love. Send

   forth Your Spirit, and they shall be created. And You

   shall renew the face of the earth.

   Let us pray.

   O God, who did instruct the hearts of the faithful by

   the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us in the same

   Spirit to be truly wise and ever to rejoice in His

   consolation, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

   O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have

   recourse to you. (3 times.)

   O Lord Jesus Christ, who have vouchsafed to glorify by

   numberless miracles the Blessed Virgin Mary, immaculate

   from the first moment of her conception, grant that all

   who devoutly implore her protection on earth, may

   eternally enjoy Your presence in heaven, who, with the

   Father and Holy Spirit, live and reign, God, for ever

   and ever. Amen.

   O Lord Jesus Christ, who for the accomplishment of Your

   greatest works, have chosen the weak things of the

   world, that no flesh may glory in Your sight; and who

   for a better and more widely diffused belief in the

   Immaculate Conception of Your Mother, have wished that

   the Miraculous Medal be manifested to Saint Catherine

   Laboure, grant, we beseech You, that filled with like

   humility, we may glorify this mystery by word and work.



   Remember, O most compassionate Virgin Mary, that never

   was it known that anyone who fled to your protection,

   implored your assistance, or sought your intercession

   was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, we fly

   unto you, O Virgin of Virgins, our Mother; to you we

   come; before you we kneel sinful and sorrowful. O Mother

   of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in

   your clemency hear and answer them. Amen.

–   Novena Prayer

   O Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Our Lord Jesus and

   our Mother, penetrated with the most lively confidence

   in your all-powerful and never failing intercession,

   manifested so often through the Miraculous Medal, we

   your loving and trustful children implore you to obtain

   for us the graces and favors we ask during this Novena,

   if they be beneficial to our immortal souls, and the

   souls for whom we pray. (Here privately form your

   petitions.) You know, O Mary, how often our souls have

   been the sanctuaries of your Son who hates iniquity.

   Obtain for us also a spirit of prayer and self-denial

   that we may recover by penance what we have lost by sin

   and at length attain to that blessed abode where you are

   the Queen of angels and of men. Amen.

   An Act of Consecration to Our Lady of the Miraculous


   O Virgin Mother of God, Mary Immaculate, we dedicate and

   consecrate ourselves to you under the title of Our Lady

   of the Miraculous Medal. May this Medal be for each one

   of us a sure sign of your affection for us and a

   constant reminder of our duties toward you. Ever while

   wearing it, may be blessed by your loving protection and

   preserved in the grace of your Son. O most powerful

   Virgin, Mother of our Savior, keep us close to you every

   moment of our lives. Obtain for us, your children, the

   grace of a happy death; so that, in union with you, we

   may enjoy the bliss of heaven forever. Amen.

   O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have

   recourse to you. (3 times.)

[from EWTN and appears in my book]


Novena of the Miraculous Medal (a shorter novena)

O Immaculate Virgin Mary,
Mother of Our Lord Jesus and our Mother, 
penetrated with the most lively confidence in your all-powerful and never-failing intercession, manifested so often through the Miraculous Medal,
we your loving and trustful children implore you to obtain for us the graces and favors we ask during this novena,
if they be beneficial to our immortal souls,
and the souls for whom we pray.
(Here form your petition)

You know, O Mary, how often our souls have been the sanctuaries of your Son who hates iniquity.
Obtain for us then a deep hatred of sin and that purity of heart which will attach us to God alone so that our every thought, word and deed may tend to His greater glory.
Obtain for us also a spirit of prayer and self-denial that we may recover by penance what we have lost by sin and at length attain to that blessed abode where you are the Queen of angels and of men.

You can also check this out at one of the popular Miraculous Medal Shrines (in Philadelphia) to follow along with what they are doing for the novena if you’d like.

THANK YOU again from the bottom of my heart for praying along with me this beautiful Miraculous Medal novena. I pray that Mother Mary may grant you many graces. I do hope that you are (or will) wear a blessed Miraculous Medal.

O, Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. (the prayer that the Blessed Mother asked to be printed on each Miraculous Medal).

You can read the whole history of the Miraculous Medal, the Blessed Mother, and St. Catherine Laboure in my book: The Miraculous Medal, Stories, Prayers, and Devotions.


Saint Maximilian was someone who had a beautiful devotion to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and would hand out blessed Miraculous Medals often also saw the medal as a means of expressing the Total Consecration of his followers to the Blessed Mother and was a means of safeguarding it. He added his own prayer to be said by those in the Militia Immaculatae (Knights of the Immaculate) group that he formed:

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us
who have recourse to thee, and for all who do
not have recourse to thee, especially the enemies
of the Church and those recommended to thee.

Saint Catherine Laboure would pray this way:

“When I go to the Chapel I place myself before the good God and I say to Him: ‘Lord, here I am, give me what you will.’ If he gives me something, I am very pleased and I thank Him. If He gives me nothing, I still thank Him because I do not deserve anything. And then again, I tell Him all that passes through my mind; I recount my pains and my joys and…I listen. If you listen to Him, He will speak to you also, because with the good God it is necessary to speak and to listen. He will always speak to you if you go to Him simply and sincerely.”


Click on image to see more about the medals.

Keeping my promise to call a “stranger.”


Two lovely women I know.

Guess who I called yesterday afternoon? Suzanne! She is the 88-year-old woman who called me by mistake a few weeks ago. We chatted for about an hour!

I’ll admit I was cleaning out a hall closet for part of the time as we spoke. But, I can multi-task. 🙂 And I paid full attention to her.

Finally, after an hour of chatting I needed to get off the phone and told Suzanne once again (I had tried a few times already) that I had better go. She then very enthusiastically told me that I had made her day by calling her! She thanked me over and over again. I told Suzanne that I was very happy to have chatted with her and I promised my prayers.

God is so good and I am thanking Him for the opportunity to reach out to this woman. Only He knows the reason that He arranged all of this. But I have no doubt that God has a plan. Mother Teresa would call this woman “Jesus in the distressing disguise.”

Here is a note about our first phone conversation when Suzanne called me by mistake when dialing a wrong number.

Warming the homeless with LOVE, scarves, and sacramentals.

My heart goes out to the needy and less fortunate–especially at this time of year. I always enjoy this beautiful season of Autumn. But, in my humble opinion, there is a problem with this glorious Fall season in my part of the world. It’s that winter and its freezing weather never fail to be not too far behind.

I am not particularly fond of the cold weather.  But, more than that, I am cIMG_4713oncerned for the poor and homeless who are cold and needy. 

The other day, I had a beautiful encounter with a couple of homeless men in which I offered a bit of monetary help and blessed sacramentals from our Church. I was very happy to see Andrew and his friend so that I could converse with Andrew again even briefly. I had met him a few weeks ago when I was passing through his town. That story is here. Perhaps you should take a look at that brief story first before continuing.

IMG_1843I had been hoping I’d see Andrew again when I would travel through that town. He had been in my thoughts and prayers. I wanted to see how he was doing and perhaps offer him a little something to eat, or a little money, or something to keep him warm.

In fact, with Andrew in mind, I dug around a bit in my hall closet and pulled out a scarf that my husband had not worn in years and I asked him if I could give it away to a homeless man. I thought I could bring it with me when we went back up to that area of Massachusetts. Well, Dave said he wanted to hang onto that particular scarf. So, I didn’t push the issue. But something was definitely brewing in my heart.

Recently, when passing through that area, I purposely strolled over to the area where I had met Andrew a few weeks ago. I was so delighted to see him again and I told him that I remembered that his name was Andrew.

He lit right up.

Then, he got right up from the sidewalk and reached into his pocket to pull out the blessed medals I had given him a few weeks ago. Wow. He said he always keeps them with him in his pocket. My heart was secretly soaring. And, I told him that I was happy that he still had the blessed medals. We chatted a few minutes and then I gave each of the homeless men a dollar bill. I handed the scruffy-looking man with the nose ring who was sitting next to Andrew, two of the same kinds of blessed medals that I had given to Andrew previously. He seemed very happy to receive them. I told him that they were powerful medals.

I pray that God blesses these men and all those who are living on the streets.

Sharing an Inspiration

I have an inspiration to do something to help keep our brothers and sisters warm. I would like to give warm scarves to the homeless that I will have attached blessed medals onto in advance. Of course, I’ll still be handing out the blessed medals to people I meet when I am inspired to do so. But, giving out the scarves is a way to help the needy to stay warmer, as well as have the protection of the blessed medals too.


Do you have a winter scarf hanging around? Maybe there are too many in your closet and it’s a good time to de-clutter. Would you like to donate a scarf to help keep someone warm?

Do you crochet or knit? Would you like to make a scarf for the homeless? Or perhaps you would like to buy a scarf for the homeless. If you’d like to help in some way, you can send your scarves to me at: PO Box 773, New Milford, CT 06776. I will add the blessed sacramentals (a Miraculous Medal and a St. Benedict medal that has the FULL exorcism blessing on it) to the scarves and give them to the homeless and will find ways to distribute them.

In addition, if you’d like to donate adult sized warm gloves or mittens, please feel free to send them along too.

ANOTHER WAY to join in this “Work of Mercy” is to get together in your own area with people who would like to crochet or knit scarves for the homeless. Imagine the beautiful fellowship that can unfold as you chat and pray, and knit or crochet away! I recommend that you start with a prayer when you gather together. Or, purchase or collect donations of scarves, gloves, and hats (or from your own closet) and attach blessed Miraculous Medals on them (and hopefully a blessed St. Benedict medal too). You can get them at my website or elsewhere. My medals have FULL blessings upon them. If you decide to do this, please let me know in the comments section, or you may email me:

God bless you for considering helping and also for praying for the homeless and less fortunate.

Remember that Jesus continually teaches us in the Gospel of Matthew: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25: 40).

AFTER POSTING ABOUT THIS MINISTRY, Aleteia interviewed me for an article. Check it out here.

God’s “wrong number”?


This is not Suzanne. It’s a photo of two women I know and I think it’s a sweet photo. 🙂

I am very thankful that God keeps my life so interesting. Recently, a week or so ago I received a most interesting phone call. As I headed towards the ringing phone, the answering machine came on and I heard a woman’s shaky voice leaving a message. I quickly picked up the call and learned from the woman that it was a “wrong number.” So, I tried to explain how she might find the right number after she told me who she was trying to reach. I also told her that I would pray for her because she also disclosed the reason she needed to reach her son at his work.

She asked me my name and I asked for hers. Her name is Suzanne and she is 88-years-old. She was sincerely interested in sharing her life with me–a complete stranger who she called by “accident.” In that moment I decided to pause from what I was doing to take the time to listen to this serendipitous caller. Suzanne zig-zagged me way back to her family’s ancestry and then lead me back to her life now. She chattered on. I could tell that she had so much more to tell me and I didn’t know where I could possibly insert a suggestion that I thought might help us both because she was thoroughly enjoying talking with me.

Since it was obvious that Suzanne was very interested in continuing a conversation with me, I decided to ask her if she’d like me to call her back to talk some more sometime. So, when she paused briefly from her artful sharing, I ventured to quickly ask her my question. She was so delighted about the idea. A half hour later (yes, a half hour!) we parted company on the phone with my promise to pray for her and her situation and I also promised that I’d give her a call soon.

I’ll tell ya–that woman has lived an extraordinary life. I learned a lot about it in that half hour. I told her that I am confident that God gave us a gift of our chat this morning. With my promise of an upcoming phone call, she said, “I’ll be right here, Honey.”

Perhaps it wasn’t a wrong number after all. Maybe–just maybe–it was a phone call arranged by God to bring two complete strangers together. Just maybe I was meant to take that time to be kind to a stranger, to offer my gift of time even though I was quite busy that day and could have let the answering machine answer the phone or could have been brief with the caller.

How many shut-ins and lonely people are forever waiting for a phone call or for a visit from someone–even a short one? They hope that maybe they’ll hear from a loved one today. Or, possibly even a stranger.

Opportunities for grace unfold when we pause, ponder, and listen to God’s gentle whispers to our soul. We can become such a beautiful spark of joy in someone’s life if we would only take the time to reach out to connect with them, visit with them, or give them some of our time when they reach out to us. Our simple loving gestures can make all of the difference in the world!

Who can you reach out to today or some time very soon? I know who I am going to call–Suzanne!

St. Joseph, “Jesus in disguise” and Andrew


I was so happy to come upon this image of St. Joseph in a unlikely location recently. It is prominently stationed at the front entrance-way of a secular cafe in downtown Northampton, Ma. I had visited this cafe in years past and had been delighted to see St. Joseph standing there, as well as other Catholic art hanging all over the walls downstairs in the restaurant part.

But this time, passing through Northampton was a quick stop to go to Mass and then the use of a rest room before heading back to Connecticut. I had forgotten about this place. As cafe after cafe was closing down for the night that Sunday, I asked a waitress where I could find a rest room. She suggested this place. My husband and I looked for a few minutes and finally found it tucked away at the end of a row of shops. Lo and behold, there was St. Joseph too! He is a saint I greatly admire and turn to often–my hero, actually. I instantly recalled my earlier visit there and how happy I was to come upon him and the other images. When exiting, I snapped a quick photo while heading back up the stairs.

If you look to the right in this photo you might be able to glimpse an image of a man who was sitting outside on the sidewalk. While I exited the building, he said “hello” to me and I said “hello” and immediately remembered that I had a couple of blessed medals in my right pocket. I reached into my pocket to take out a blessed St. Benedict medal (with a full exorcism blessing on it). I gave it to him and explained that it was a powerfully blessed medal. He was very thankful to receive it and drew it in close to his heart. I then pulled out a Blessed Miraculous Medal and gave it to him too after touching it to the one that I wear that Mother Teresa gave me. I pointed to the Blessed Mother on the medal and told him that Mother Mary would take care of him. I asked his name and told him mine. I told Andrew I’d pray for him and asked him to pray for me. He said he was so touched that he was crying. I told him that God loves him. He gently grabbed up my hand and kissed it. He then told me that he’s been living on the street for ten years and is concerned because winter is coming.

Please pray for Andrew, who is someone Mother Teresa would call “Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor.” I am praying for Andrew and hope I might see him again when passing through that area. I’ll be sure to get him a hot meal and offer him some warm clothes.

There are many people out there who are living in dire circumstances and need our prayers and any help we can offer. We are all called to take care of God’s poor.

“Jesus in the distressing disguise…”

I recently visited the Fort Bliss military base in El Paso, Texas to present talks and a retreat to the military women there. I was honored to speak to such gracious and heroic women.

While in El Paso, I met a man named Bernard. I had observed him standing on the side of a busy street as I was being driven back to my hotel after giving a retreat on Saturday.

Bernard was holding a message on a tattered piece of cardboard. I asked my driver Karen (a woman from the military group at Fort Bliss) if I could possibly hand something to the man. She rolled down her window and I yelled out to him. He hurried over to the driver’s window.

I was able to give him my new water bottle, as well as a blessed Miraculous Medal, which I kissed before placing it in his outstretched hand. I told him that I hope and pray that he will receive many graces from the Blessed Mother through Her blessed medal. I also asked if I could hold his hand for a quick moment. Time stood still as his hand was intertwined with mine and Karen’s hand too, through the open window. His entire demeanor exuded his happiness to connect with us.

I asked him his name and he told me that it was “Bernard.”

“God bless you, Bernard!,” I said. “God loves you! I will pray for you. Please pray for me too.”

And then our beautiful moment had to end there because we needed to drive on since the traffic light had changed. We quickly bid our good byes.

As we pulled away, I turned around to watch our new friend. He was doing something that really touched my heart. I can still see him now in my mind as I write this to you. Bernard was kissing his blessed blessed Miraculous Medal over and over again. My heart was soaring and I was feeling extremely thankful to God for gifting me with that blessed encounter with someone that Mother Teresa would call, “Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor.”

Bernard will remain in my heart and prayers. Please say a prayer for Bernard, and of course, for all the unfortunate, the poor, sick, suffering, dying and troubled.

A Time to Ponder and Pray

The Gospel message in Matthew which Mother Teresa lived wholeheartedly rings in my heart, “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me.”

Am I attentive to the needs around me? Can I stop even for a moment from my busy schedule to reach out to someone in need? Do I realize that simple loving interactions can make a huge difference in someone’s life?

Can I pray for the graces to reach out beyond my comfort zone and share God’s love with others?

Not all “needy” people are homeless or beggars. Many look like they are all put together upon meeting them when we are out and about in the community or at the workplace.

Some might even be within our own families and are silently craving our love. Let’s take a moment to ponder and pray who it is that Our Lord is calling us to love with His love.

What think ye?