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.

Cheesecake?!

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!

 

“Take 2 with Jerry and Debbie” on EWTN Radio

mother-teresaI recently visited with Jerry and Debbie on EWTN’s “Take 2 with Jerry and Debbie.”

You can listen to our hour-long radio conversation about Mother Teresa when you have time. Get yourself a beverage and pull up a chair and enjoy listening about dear Mother Teresa now canonized and called Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Truth be told, I will continue to call her Mother Teresa. 🙂

By the way, we also discuss my Miraculous Medal ministry and my memoir, The Kiss of Jesus.

Click here to listen.

God often surprises us!

I never tire of God’s amazing surprises. How could I possibly? I often preach that one should not worry if you can’t get out of your house to evangelize due to your duties with small children, elderly parents, or sickness, or other important reasons. I always say that God will BRING the evangelizing opportunities to YOU!

Recently, when I was home working on my writing, way back in the woods here in rural Connecticut, I heard the sound of a horn blowing out in my driveway.

Who could that be and why is that person blowing the horn? I wondered.

I got up from my computer and away from my percolating thoughts about my writing to check it out. I went outside my front door to see a man sitting in his truck with the window rolled down.

“Can I help you with something?” I called out. I felt a tad annoyed that he had honked his horn which had “disturbed” me, calling me outside to see what was up.

“Yes,” he said.

So, I ventured towards his truck, still feeling a bit put out. He got out of his truck and showed me his credentials. It turned out that he had come to my home representing the electric company who wanted to trim some trees in my property that could be interfering with the electrical wires. I had no problem with that and agreed that I would sign the release to give my permission.

But, what unfolded in our conversation was fascinating. I would not have imagined it earlier on but God has an amazing way of keeping life interesting. It began with me commenting on the beauty of the day. The man–his name is Hector, lamented that he couldn’t be at his home on the deck with “a couple of cold ones” to thoroughly enjoy the beautiful weather. He was instead busy with his work.

Well, I went into talking about the importance of our work (always having my dear friend Fr. John A. Hardon’s sentiments ringing in my ear: “There’s work to be done!”) and the fact that I work constantly. I didn’t go so far as to say, “There’s no rest for the weary!” though, as I am known to say. But, the conversation unfolded about faith and prayer because I ended up telling him that I was an author and worked all day on my writing from my home most times and then if I am not writing, I travel all around the world to speak.

I was NOT planning to say any of this. It’s just how it happened.

He wanted to know more. He asked what kind of author I was and I told him I was a Catholic author and that I love to inspire faith in others. Very gently–so I wouldn’t hurt his feelings or seem judgmental–I went on to say that I believe that what is more important than sitting and relaxing and “having a couple of cold ones” is the great importance of getting across to others that life is short and we need to be ready–we need to help get others ready to meet God!  I felt so passionate about sharing this with this complete stranger!

Hector’s face lit up.

“You didn’t think you would have this kind of conversation today, did you?” I asked him.

“No! But it is refreshing! I mostly hear from disgruntled people using the ‘F-word’ complaining to me about their trees!”

Hector suddenly seemed deep in thought. Then he told me that he just lost a friend and co-worker on Easter week end. He said he was directing traffic at a job site and was killed when hit by a car. He seemed very troubled about losing that man on that particular holy week end and said it was so hard.

“We never know what tomorrow might bring. It’s important to get our lives straightened out today,” I told him.

Hector then shared a very personal story about someone he knew who got into trouble in the past and now after prison, tries very hard to help others. I’m sure that neither one of us expected to have such a conversation that day. It was seemingly out of the blue. God is so good to us to provide these types of amazing opportunities for His grace to work in our hearts.

I believe that it all starts with our prayer of the Morning Offering, asking God to use all of our prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of the day and asking Him to sanctify them and use them for His glory.

He does!

Tree_Man

posted with his permission

My new friend walked away that day with a very hearty hand shake, a promise of prayers for him and his family, as well as a signed copy of my memoir The Kiss of Jesus. And, let’s not forget, the four blessed Miraculous Medals–one for him, his wife, and his two children.

Life is always interesting!

Life is always interesting even when living where I do, way back in the woods of rural Connecticut. Even when I am stuck in the house without a car and recovering from a fever, chills, and pain I had the other day–life is always fascinating.

I often tell my audiences when I am out speaking that they shouldn’t worry if they can’t get out of the house to do their ministry work or evangelizing for any reason because God will certainly bring the people to them!

This morning my elderly neighbor’s cleaning lady knocked on my door to tell me that my neighbor’s phone was not working and asked if I could kindly make a couple of calls for her. I then realized that my landline was not working either. But I could use my cell phone to make the calls. One call was to alert the phone company about the outages. That took some time as the technician checked everything out over the phone on my neighbor’s line and mine. I was happy to help my neighbor Bev since she is in her eighties and has had a couple of strokes. She definitely needs her phone to be working.

After some checking, the phone company woman on the other end of the call was able to send a signal to the phone lines and surprisingly fixed them. Though the phones seemed to be working fine, she said she’d leave the order in for a repairman to come to the houses today just in case they went out again. I thought it was a good idea even though I didn’t have time to be dealing with this today. The phones did go out again, but they came back on shortly after.

Soon after, my phone rang and it was my neighbor Bev. We hadn’t talked in a couple of weeks or more because her schedule had changed due to some health issues with both she and her husband and I had not wanted to disturb with a phone call in case they might be resting. So it was very nice to speak with Bev. We caught up on the phone for a few minutes and decided to get together for tea after Thanksgiving. I told Bev that I was happy that we had a problem with our phones today so that I could have the opportunity to speak with her.

After that, I got back to my work and then another phone call came in. This time it was the phone company repairman. He asked if the phones were working. I told him that they were fixed by the phone company woman during the phone call. He told me that he would check it out by going to the telephone pole and box down the road and then he’d stop by the house. He warned me that the phones might go out again but I shouldn’t be alarmed because it might just be him tinkering with the connections and wires.

“It’s a good thing I don’t have a radio show today,” I said. “I do regular radio shows from my telephone,” I explained.

The man asked, “Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?”

“Not at all,” I reassured.

“Did you write a book?” He inquired.

“Is your name Dave?” I fired right back.

I instantly recalled an entire scenario that had transpired years prior in which a phone man showed up at my house when my phone was completely fine. He told me all about his life-changing experience, and after a while, left with a copy of one of my books and a couple of blessed Miraculous Medals.

“Yes!” he said. He added that he’d see me within the hour. We said “good bye” and hung up. I could tell that he was so surprised that we mysteriously reconnected after an interesting encounter years ago. Truth be told, I was very surprised too!

Wait a minute. Pausing. I thought, Isn’t he in my Miraculous Medal book? He is, I know he is.

I ran up to my office to get a copy of the book to check. Yes, indeed, he was there right under the subtitle, “The Phone Man.” I took the book downstairs because I planned to give it to Dave when I would see him.

Wow. God never ceases to amaze me!

Dave arrived at my front door and we heartily shook hands to greet one another, smiling, happy to see one another again.

“Wow, you know those Mir–a–cle Medals you gave me?” Dave asked.

“The Miraculous Medals?” I asked him. I couldn’t help smiling at his slight change of the word. “Yes, I remember. I gave you two – one for you and one for your son.”

“Well, those medals sure are powerful!” My son keeps his in his wallet. I keep circulating the one you gave me to each person in the family who needs it. It really works!” He explained.

“I’ll need to give you more blessed medals so you won’t have to keep passing the one around.”

I also explained that it is best to wear the medal around the neck if possible. The Blessed Mother actually said that great graces will be received when it is worn around the neck. I gave Dave a little more history while we both stood on the sidewalk outside my front door. I kept moving a bit to get into the sunshine since the temperature seemed to be dropping and I was still feeling a bit sick.

Then I told Dave that he was in my Miraculous Medal book. He was so surprised, he couldn’t believe it.

“Wow, I am really blown away to know that I am in your book.”

“Yes, your story is inspiring people all over the world,” I told him.

“I can’t believe it–wow” he said.

“Maybe I shouldn’t tell you where you are in the book,” I teased, “so that you will read the whole thing and learn the history of the Miraculous Medal and about St. Catherine Laboure.”

I handed the book to Dave and he expressed his gratitude. I did point out the location of his story. He read it and smiled. I ran to grab a copy of my memoir too, The Kiss of Jesus as well as five blessed Miraculous Medals and a bunch of blessed St. Benedict medals. I told him about the power in a St. Benedict Medal, also explaining that there is nothing superstitious about it. I gave him a few leaflets that explained the origin.

We chatted a bit. We talked about Miraculous Medals, families, life, and Dave told me that every night he thanks God for his life. When we first met he had shared about a harrowing experience. He is thankful to be alive.

I asked if I could take his picture. I also asked his permission to blog about it later. He happily obliged and gave his permission to post his photo. I reminded him that God is always in control and that it was very interesting that both times that he came to my house there was really no problem with the phone. But, I believe that God wanted Dave to receive the blessed medals and books so God brought him here to my house.

Dave made a point to mention that it had been 4 or 5 years ago when he came to my house the first time and he said today was the only other time that he worked in this area.

Just then, Dave gazed down at both books he held in his hands and said, “I didn’t come here to help you with the phones. It is very clear to me now that I came here for you to help me. God is in charge!”

 

IMG_2019

Life is a holy adventure! God is always in control!

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.

Christmas Blessings!

A couple of months ago I felt inspired to give a blessed Miraculous Medal to a woman I met who was working at a department store. I’ll call her Louise. She seemed very touched to receive the medal. After accepting it, she began to tell me that she had been going through some really rough times lately and felt she truly “needed” the medal. As Louise was telling me she began to cry. Her tears seemed to come from profound thankfulness and even relief. It was as if Mother Mary had come to Louise at that very moment in the blessed medal and Louise could now feel that everything would be okay. Louise’s whole demeanor changed when she accepted the medal into her hand. She continued to wipe her eyes with a tissue as tears continued to appear. Thankfully, for her sake, no one else noticed. I silently prayed that Mother Mary would profoundly touch this woman now holding the blessed medal. I had no doubt that she would.

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About a month later I saw Louise again at the same store. She proudly showed me her beautiful medal which was now on a chain around her neck and hanging alongside two tiny opals. Louise said the opals represented hope. When she had come across the opals in her jewelry box she thought that she should wear them together with the medal, for the medal brought her great hope. My heart secretly soared. I was thrilled that she was wearing the blessed medal I had given her and that it brought her a renewed hope.

Louise also shared that her sister Mary was going through some very hard times. I don’t know what it entailed and I didn’t venture to ask. I didn’t need to know. But, I did ask Louise if I could give her a blessed medal for her sister and she gladly accepted my offer. I reached into my pocket and retrieved a blessed medal that I had placed in there that morning before heading out to do my errands. I kissed it, touched it to the one I wear, and handed it to Louise who teared up instantly. She sincerely thanked me.

Just recently, as the Advent season was winding down to the tail end, only a couple of days before Christmas, I went into the same department store to finish up my Christmas shopping. Earlier in the day, I had just completed a huge book manuscript and was happily relieved that I could finally finish up preparations for Christmas at the eleventh hour. I spotted Louise behind the jewelry counter and went over to say “hello” and to wish her a very happy Christmas. She was very eager to share a little story with me. Thankfully, there were no customers around the counter and she could freely speak to me. Louise said that she visited her sister recently and Mary told her that she was feeling very sad because she was sorely missing their mother who had passed away the previous Christmas time. Mary couldn’t stop thinking of her mother. When she heard the song “Ave Maria” playing, she broke down and cried. It was their mother’s favorite song.

So, at the visit with her sister, Louise pulled out the Miraculous Medal I had given to her for her sister and proceeded to tell Mary about meeting me and the gift of the medal. She also told her sister that I had touched it to the blessed medal that I wear that Mother Teresa had given me (a relic). Her sister began to cry and said she felt very blessed and thankful to receive the special gift. After that, Mary’s husband bought her a chain and she is now wearing the medal. Mary is now feeling comforted with a sacramental of the Blessed Mother who is with her at all times to bring her graces, hope, and encouragement.

As Louise recounted the story of her sister and their mother, she shed quiet tears once again. I was very touched too, upon hearing it, and I felt extremely blessed to have played a part in this beautiful exchange. We expressed to one another that we were so very thankful that God had clearly arranged all of this to happen. It was especially joyful and poignant to happen right at Christmas time.

I believe that God is so very good and takes care of our every need. He desires that we open our hearts to His whispers to our souls and that we be cooperative to His many graces so that we can help others around us who are struggling with hurt, loneliness, sadness, and pain. So many people are deeply wounded and need a loving touch. Mother Mary is always ready to assist us in getting closer to her Son Jesus.

“O Mary, conceived without sin, Pray for us who have recourse to thee.” [words from the Blessed Mother that appear on the Miraculous Medal]

Will you reach out in love soon to someone you don’t even know? It could be a perfect stranger. Mother Teresa, whom I was blessed to know, considered that person to be “Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor.”

Venture to reach out with Christ’s love. It will undoubtably change someone’s heart forever.

[You can see a similar article here at ICL]