I recently heard from Elizabeth, a woman I had met a few years ago when I was giving a talk to a women’s group at West Point in New York. Elizabeth wanted to let me know that she was enjoying one of my latest books, The Miraculous Medal: Stories, Prayers, and Devotions.
She shared, “It brought me to tears of happiness several times.”
Elizabeth told me that she wears “a bracelet containing medals of the saints who are especially important to me.” She went on to describe them all. There’s St. Barbara – patroness of the Field Artillery. Elizabeth wears that one because her husband is a field artillery officer. St. Michael the Archangel is the next medal. She said she wears it “To protect my husband.” Next on her bracelet is, St. Patrick (after her son Patrick). Then comes St. Joan of Arc “because of her strength.” St. George is next (because of her son George). Next is Our Lady of Perpetual Help “because I need her,” she simply stated. St. Anthony is next. Elizabeth loves him because “he is the great finder.” She has placed St. Francis next on her bracelet “because his zeal inspires me,” she shared.
St. Therese of Lisieux is next to the others “because her ‘Little Way’ is such a powerful witness.” St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is next on her bracelet “because I was named for her and born on her feast day and have always prayed for her intercession as a mother,” Elizabeth explained. And then there’s St. Thomas More because Elizabeth is a lawyer and asks for his intercession in her work.
To complete the blessed circle of medals is the Miraculous Medal which was given to Elizabeth by her grandmother. Elizabeth shared that her grandmother “was notorious for asking, with very knowing eyes, ‘Have you consulted the Blessed Mother?’” whenever Elizabeth spoke of a dilemma or concern.
One time Elizabeth’s husband was away at military training and Elizabeth was home alone with all of the kids for a month. After awhile, she got to feeling a bit weary being alone with all of their care. But she did enjoy reading about the history of the Miraculous Medal and modern-day Miraculous Medal stories too from my book whenever she’d get a few minutes of quiet to do so.
She shared that it was during that time that she became upset because, “While I was reading your book, I lost my Miraculous Medal.” It was nowhere to be found. “I was upset about losing this medal, and prayed that I would find it.”
During her husband’s absence, Elizabeth began to feel even more exhausted and worn down from all of her responsibilities and no one to help her. She felt lonely too, and started to feel just a bit sorry for herself. She at times didn’t remember to “consult” the Blessed Mother as her grandmother had suggested to her in the past. At other times, she indeed reached out to Mother Mary in prayer but still felt stuck.
One night after she put the kids to bed she couldn’t shake the feeling of not being appreciated for all she did in the home and frustrated that she couldn’t work outside the home. She was feeling too weary to cope with her feelings.
But, it was getting late and though Elizabeth was very tired, she knew that before she could relax and settle down for the night, she had to deal with some dirty dishes that were in the sink waiting for her.
“As I pulled on my rubber gloves at about 9:30 PM to finish the dinner dishes, I felt something strange in the finger of the gloves. I reached in the glove and found my Miraculous Medal!”
Elizabeth was ecstatic to have found her cherished Miraculous Medal given to her by her grandmother.
“What really struck me though,” she revealed, “is the small grace I received in finding the medal.” She continued to recount her experience.
“Bent over the kitchen sink, tired from a busy day, and lonely, I was reminded that this vocation of motherhood is something I share with our Blessed Mother, and she too, knows the simultaneous feelings of love and fatigue that motherhood entails.”
Elizabeth had much to think about as she stood by her kitchen sink that particular evening, drinking in the miraculous graces as she prayed for strength.
“I washed those greasy dishes and prayed for the grace to get through the next day. She, [Mother Mary] of course provided. Had I not been reading your book, I might not have been so aware or appreciative of the small miracle. Thank you very much for your continued ministry.”
My questions for you, dear reader…
What small (or big) grace has unfolded in your life? Might God be asking you to pause and ponder–to stop and reflect on His amazing presence in your life–maybe even amid the pots and pans and small details of life?
Have you “consulted” with the Blessed Mother for help and guidance in your life? Blessed Mother Teresa, whom I was so blessed to know taught me a simple yet succinct prayer: “Mary, Mother of Jesus, be a Mother to me now.” Mother Mary knows our hearts. Don’t be afraid to reach out to her.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. (inscribed on the Miraculous Medal).
[PS Elizabeth gave her permission to share her story]