“Holy” scarves showing up!

I decided that instead of stuffing packing paper into my packages of books being shipped out I will instead add “holy” scarves for the homeless and needy.

scarves-packages
These scarves are called “holy” because I have sewn two blessed medals on each one–a blessed Miraculous Medal and a blessed St. Benedict Medal (with a full exorcism blessing). I want to provide warmth and sacramentals from our Church to those in need.

You can learn more about this “holy” scarf ministry here.

Don’t be surprised if you receive a “holy” scarf with your book or bracelet order! I ask that you kindly gift it to someone who is in need in your area, either a homeless person or a needy person. I am very happy to distribute the scarves in this way in addition to the other ways in which I distribute the “holy” scarves, one of which is to gift them to people I meet in one on one encounters.

Thank you for helping me to gift them so that we can help keep the needy warmer this winter. If you would like to request a “holy” scarf or a few, let me know at: DMCOBoyle@aol.com. I just ask that you pay for the shipping.

Please pray for me as I go out soon to find people who could use the “holy’ scarves.

God bless you!

Donna-Marie

Chatting about warming and inspiring the homeless on the airwaves!

I recently spoke with Matt Swaim on EWTN’s Son Rise Morning show about my new outreach to the homeless and needy “Warming the homeless with LOVE, ‘holy’ scarves, and sacramentals.” You can liIMG_2009sten to our short segment here.

If you’d like to learn more you can go here to this blog post
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St. Elizabeth of Hungary inspires us to help the poor.

saint_elizabeth_of_hungaryHappy feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary! She inspires us to help the poor. Even from a young age she was thinking about and helping the less fortunate.

As a daughter of royalty, Elizabeth was thrust into many  responsibilities as well as her future marriage which had been arranged by her father. This arrangement caused her to be separated from her family at a very young age.

Elizabeth lived up to her duties, as well as took care of the countless needy people who came to her gate for bread. In serving the afflicted, there were times Elizabeth gave away the royal clothes and goods.

Perhaps my very favorite story about St. Elizabeth was when she allowed a sick leper to sleep in her bed when her husband was away. Her husband Ludwig returned unexpectedly and his mother, who always found fault with Elizabeth, summoned Ludwig to see who was in his bed. Upon throwing back the blankets, Elizabeth’s husband did not see a leper but miraculously saw Jesus lying there.

Constantly caring for the severely ill, Elizabeth became deathly ill and died at the young age of almost twenty four. Miraculous healings soon began to occur at her grave located near the hospital she founded. Elizabeth was canonized only four years later.

St. Elizabeth is the patron saint of Secular Franciscans and Catholic Charities.

Pope Benedict XVI spoke about her:

Elizabeth practiced assiduously the works of mercy: she gave to drink and eat those who came to her door, she got clothes, paid debts, looked after the sick and buried the dead. Coming down from her castle, she often went with her maidservants to the homes of the poor, taking bread, meat, flour and other foods. She would hand the food out personally and carefully oversaw clothes and shelter for the poor. This behavior was reported to her husband, who not only was not annoyed, but answered her accusers: “So long as they don’t come to the castle, I’m happy!” Placed in this context is the miracle of bread transformed into roses: While Elizabeth was going through the street with her apron full of bread for the poor, she met her husband, who asked her what she was carrying. She opened her apron and, instead of bread, magnificent roses appeared. This symbol of charity is often present in depictions of St. Elizabeth.

Hers was a profoundly happy marriage: Elizabeth helped her husband to raise his human qualities to the supernatural level and he, on the other hand, protected his wife in her generosity to the poor and in her religious practices. Ever more in admiration of his wife’s great faith, Ludwig, referring to her care of the poor, said to her: “Dear Elizabeth, it is Christ whom you have washed, fed and looked after.” A clear testimony of how faith and love of God and one’s neighbor reinforce marital union and make it even more profound…”

~ Pope Benedict XVI, Oct. 20, 2010.

More here.

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Conrad of Marburg, St. Elizabeth’s spiritual adviser, wrote a letter in support of her canonization:

 

Pray for us and teach us to love the poor, St. Elizabeth! As your husband realized and exclaimed, “Dear Elizabeth, it is Christ whom you have washed, fed and looked after,” pray for us that we will strive to care for the poor too. Amen.

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.

   Amen.

Memorare

   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

   Medal

   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.
Amen.

https://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/novena/MiraculousMedal.htm

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.

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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.”

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Click on image to see more about the medals.

Very happy to visit my beloved friends, the Missionaries of Charity Sisters!

This morning I headed out with a healthy armload of beautiful hand-made scarves embellished with blessed medals which I had sewn on to each one. Here is a bit of information about this “holy scarf ministry.

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The scarves that were all ready to go out this morning are shown here stacked up on this little rocker.

I decided that the first stop after my doctor’s appointment was to visit a Religious Order that is very near and dear to my heart–the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa’s Order). So, after my appointment we headed over–my husband drove and I prayed many Hail Mary’s as my fingers glided over the beads of my Rosary with a passion. We were headed deep into an area of the city known for its crime. Though I knew this to be a certain reality, I also knew without doubt that we would be safe. God was with us.

A couple of times, as we drove along I pointed out various people to my husband who was intent on finding the address of the MC convent and was totally focused on that.

“There’s a little lady in a wheel chair. She could use a “holy” scarf.”

She continued wheeling down the sidewalk and my husband kept on driving–a man on a mission.

“There’s someone who looks very needy…” My voice trailed off. I wanted to offer the scarves to everyone. I continued on with my Rosary.

Our destination this day was the convent where I knew the Sisters would welcome the scarves for the poor and who would have direct contact with the most in need.

I spotted a church and we found the convent very near. My husband and I were greeted warmly by the Sisters upon arriving at the convent. I was surprised that I was recognized immediately when one sister called out my name. I wasn’t expecting that. I spent some time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. I felt so much at home as I knelt there in quiet Adoration for a few moments. Peace entered my soul.

Then, when my husband came back inside after he had re-parked our vehicle closer to the convent, I prayed a prayer out loud quietly in the chapel while Dave stood by my side. I prayed for the Sisters, for all of the needs in that area, and for all who would receive the scarves. We then enjoyed a chat with the gracious and joyful Sisters.

MC_Chapel

If you have read any of my books you’ll know how much I appreciate those two poignant words, “I Thirst” painted on the MC chapel wall. I have observed those same two words painted on at least seven other MC chapels around the world. But, that might be another subject for another time.

For now, I’ll tell you that I was so happy to give the Sisters the “holy” scarves so that they could give them to the homeless and needy in their area. I let them know that I will be sending more scarves to them and that I’d visit again when I could.

We had to bid our good byes because I knew the Sisters needed to get back to their work.

“Come back anytime. You are welcome!” one Sister called out to us again as we made our departure down the front steps to our vehicle.

I’ll keep you posted about further journeys. I’ll keep scarves with me as I am out and about all throughout the cold Autumn days winter days ahead.

Pray for me please and all those I will meet who will receive these warm gifts. Thank you in advance!

So happy to offer “holy” scarves to the homeless!

Scarves

The first two scarves have arrived!

“This is the fasting that I wish: Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them.” (Is 58:6-7)

 

I am so happy that the first donation of scarves has arrived! I recently started a ministry to the homeless called “Warming the Homeless with LOVE, Scarves, and Sacramentals.” I will be attaching a blessed Miraculous Medal and a blessed St. Benedict Medal (which has a full exorcism blessing on it) to each scarf.

I am praying that not only will the scarves help to keep the homeless warm this winter, but will also keep them protected, and even inspired due to the attached holy sacramentals. I plan to have the scarves (hats, and gloves) blessed ahead of time with holy water too. And when possible, blessed by a priest.

Here is the blog post in which I told about a homeless man named Andrew, the new ministry, and how one can donate new or gently used (and freshly washed) scarves, hats, or gloves that I will give out to the homeless.

You can share in this “Works of Mercy” ministry by praying about helping, praying for the ministry, and especially for the homeless. And, hopefully, by sending your donations of new or very gently used (and clean) scarves, hats, and gloves to me at: PO Box 773, New Milford, CT 06776.

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: DMCOBoyle@aol.com.

Thank you very much in advance. God bless you!

PS Look what just arrived–a big box filled with homemade scarves!! I will get busy sewing the blessed medals onto these beautiful hand-made scarves.

Gorgeous homemade scarves donated to the ministry!

 

 

Please pray for me as I will be going out in a couple of days into a couple of big cities to gift these warm scarves to the needy.

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So many beautiful scarves!

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Whatever you do to the least of my brothers you do to me.” (Matthew 25:40)

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.

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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: DMCOBoyle@aol.com.

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.

St. Joseph, “Jesus in disguise” and Andrew

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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?

Love is powerful

I thoroughly enjoy my work and ministry of writing and speaking about the Catholic faith and God’s amazing love for us, as well as meeting the countless fascinating people along the way throughout my travels.

One such captivating encounter occurred in an airport as I was traveling to do a speaking event. I ended up chatting with a woman (I’ll call her Sally) who shared a remarkable story with me. It happened as I was about to make my way through the airport security and Sally, who was one of the airport staff indicated that my suitcase was a tad overweight. While that was not what I wanted to hear, being that it was a bit of an inconvenience to quickly try to figure out how to reconcile the difference in the weight while stuffing some of the extra things into my carry-on so I wouldn’t have to pay an extra fee (and knowing I’d be stuck lugging that around all day traipsing through a few airports), it gave us a little chance to chat. God has a way of providing these unplanned and totally unexpected opportunities!

Somehow Sally and I got to talking about the faith and about God’s love. The woman suddenly seemed compelled to tell me that her daughter Chelsea has autism. Sally explained that when her daughter was not quite three years old she was only just beginning to toddle around, being a late walker. One day when they were out, all of a sudden her little daughter started to toddle faster and faster—she shot off to almost running. Chelsea seemed to be on a mission and her mother couldn’t keep up with her! But, she knew she had to chase her because Chelsea seemed like she was headed for trouble!

Chelsea was running straight toward a disheveled homeless man who was sitting on a sidewalk. Sally feared what most mothers would fear when their little wobbly child was toddling almost out of control. First of all, she didn’t want her to fall and get hurt so Sally quickly ran after her daughter who was now in danger of falling off the curb.

Secondly, Sally was very worried about what could happen if her clean little girl got too close to the dirty disheveled stranger. Sally quickly picked up the pace.

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Before she could catch up to her daughter though, her sweet innocent child had thrust her little arms around the man in a great big spontaneous warm hug. This mom was passionately retelling the story to me that morning at the airport and explained how she was totally beside herself with mixed emotions. She was naturally worried about her daughter falling and getting hurt as she tried to catch up with her and then she was even more intensely worried because not only did her daughter get close to the man, her little one had hugged a dirty stranger! At first, Sally could not quite grapple with these emotions. But, she stood there stunned and also quite impacted by the occurrence and what happened next.

Sally continued with her story and I intently listened as I continued to sort out my belongings, now over on the side of the line of people at the airport. Sally explained that as soon as she reached the man and Chelsea, the man immediately looked straight up at her and with tears in his eyes and streaming down his face, he told Sally that her precious little girl had not simply made his day. He slowly and clearly articulated that she had made his LIFE! He went on to say that he could not even remember the last time he had been hugged or even touched for that matter. He said he was absolutely sure that he would never forget the beautiful gesture that day—the warm miraculous hug of love. The innocent little girl unknowingly had changed this man’s life forever. I suspect this mom was changed forever as well because I noticed how passionately she recounted this story to me as tears glistened in her eyes. I was very touched as well upon hearing it.

I had no doubt that God had arranged these beautiful encounters—the little girl and the man, as well as Sally and me. Now, I can tell it to you! Sally gave me permission to retell her story, knowing that I am a writer who loves to inspire and encourage.

Mother Teresa, whom I was so very blessed to know, preached often that we don’t need to do extraordinary things to please God and to help others. Rather, she taught that we should do ordinary things with extraordinary love. That beautiful “ordinary” little girl’s innocent hug became an extraordinary life-changing experience for that man who no doubt is someone whom Mother Teresa would consider to be, “Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor.”

Mother Teresa lived her life to serve the poor and the needy, seeing Jesus in everyone, wholeheartedly living the Gospel of Matthew of “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers you do to me” (Matthew 25: 40).

Let’s learn from Mother Teresa and that sweet innocent child who allowed Jesus to love a complete stranger through her.

How might we show a gesture of Christ’s love to a complete stranger today or soon? Opportunities are awaiting us—ready to unfold. We need to simply open our hearts and our eyes. God will do the rest.

[This story was the subject of the recent “Real Life Dose” newsletter.]

You can see it here too.