October 03, 2019
Mercy, Mary, and Hope
I am very excited to share the story of how God has shown His kindness to my whole family, and especially my husband Anthony. Throughout our lives, Anthony and I have been blessed abundantly...with 32 years of marriage, 12 wonderful children, four amazing daughters- and sons-in-law, and four sweet grandchildren with another on the way. My purpose in sharing this miracle is to glorify God. His goodness, generosity, and mercy are without end. I will also talk about his highest creation, our Blessed Mother Mary, and how she is so worthy of our imitation and love. Finally, the virtue of hope figures prominently throughout this tale as a constant source of consolation to our family. I pray that all of you will have more hope after hearing this story.
On June 25, 2017, we experienced an outpouring of God's mercy - a miracle. Some of you may already know a part of the story I am about to tell, because many of you were with us in spirit, praying for us and helping us in other ways. There are also some wonderful details you may not yet know!
One of my favorite Scripture passages from the prophet Jeremiah introduces this miracle story very well, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
The morning of Sunday, June 25, 2017, began in an ordinary way. Our family attended the 10 am Mass at Annunciation Church near our home. The gospel that morning was from Matthew 10: 26-33:
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge. Even all the hairs on your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Relating to these verses, St. Jerome says, "This passage shows the immense providence of God toward His people. These words indicate unspeakable affection, because nothing about us escapes God's notice."
These beautiful words deserve to be pondered over and over again. He is really so close to us, our mighty Savior. My favorite prayer is to think about how God is all love, and everything about Him is good and perfect. St. Jerome really describes Him so beautifully.
After Mass, I ran some errands while the rest of the family went home. I returned around 3 pm to get a celebration dinner ready for our son's birthday. I saw Anthony sitting in his recliner, with a look on his face that I didn't understand. He told me he was in a lot of pain and thought he was having a heart attack, and asked me to drive him to Mercy Hospital (about 20 minutes away). We quickly headed out the door. As we drove down our long driveway in silence, I looked at Anthony and began to worry about what I would do if he got worse, and specifically I was thinking about the fastest route to Mercy Hospital from our house. Since the bridge over the creek near our house was still closed for repairs, I had to drive the longer way past Annunciation Church.
We drove in silence for a few minutes, and as we approached Annunciation, Anthony spoke for the first time since we got in the car, saying "Look, it's Father Gene!"
I said, "So?" because my eyes were on the road, and I was deciding where to turn to get to the 400 expressway and to Mercy Hospital as quickly as possible.
Anthony said, "Father Gene is by the statue of Mary; stop the car. Please call him over so he can hear my confession."
I later found out what Anthony was thinking at this time. Anthony told me he was in terrible pain as we drove down our driveway, was developing tunnel vision as he was starting to lose consciousness, and was feeling a sense of doom, as if death was near. He thought to himself, "I hope Father Gene is outside the church as we pass by, because I want him to hear my confession." Anthony was really surprised and pleased when he saw Father Gene as we approached Annunciation. When he asked me to stop the car, I thought that he must be feeling very badly to want to go to confession.
Going to confession is not unusual in our family. Ordinarily, we all confess monthly, and Anthony even more frequently. Fr. Gene is our usual confessor. I stopped the car on the shoulder of the road and saw Father Gene in front of the statue of Mary. I called out to him and asked him to come over to the car. He did and Anthony said, "I'm having a heart attack, would you please hear my confession, Father?" I got out of the car to give him privacy, my mind a little numb as I stood on the grass waiting. Father Gene gave Anthony absolution, and then said, "Anthony, I think you should get out of the car and lie down and we'll call an ambulance." Anthony did this while I called 911, feeling calm as I talked to the dispatcher.
An off-duty EMT saw us on the side of the road and stopped to help, talking to Anthony who was lying on the ground in great pain. Soon the ambulance arrived and the EMTs did an EKG and then sent it to Mercy Hospital. The EKG showed that Anthony was having a massive heart attack. This was life-saving, because when he arrived at the Emergency Room about 20 minutes later, the cardiologist and the health care professionals were already prepared and the cath lab was ready for him. I saw him for a couple of minutes in the Emergency Room and heard the nurse ask him if the morphine was helping his pain, and he said no. He beckoned me over and said, "Lift the (oxygen) mask." I did and he said, "Give me a kiss." I kissed him and felt comforted though scared. I was amazed that he thought of comforting me while in such great pain. He told me later that he was thinking that he would die, and wanted to say goodbye to me.
Then quickly, Anthony was wheeled into the cath lab (catheterization laboratory), which is an examination room with diagnostic imaging equipment used to visualize the arteries and chambers of the heart to be able to see and treat any abnormality found.
My son, daughter-in-law, and I went to the waiting room, and began to pray.
A few minutes later, we heard a rapid response being called in the cath lab through the overhead speakers. Scared and unsure, we continued to pray. Soon Father Gene arrived and joined us in the waiting room.
Anthony's condition had rapidly worsened - his heart was failing. The doctors first inserted stents into his arteries, then a pump device into a chamber of his heart to help the ventricles circulate blood, and finally connected him to an ECMO machine because his heart's ejection fraction was at 10%, down from the normal 55-60%. The ECMO, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, machine is similar to the heart-lung machine used in open heart surgery. It pumps and oxygenates a patient's blood outside the body, allowing the patient's heart and lungs to rest.
After some time, one of the critical care doctors came to update us on what was happening. Anthony had to have a breathing tube in order to breathe, and he not only needed the ECMO machine, but infusions to help keep his blood pressure from getting too low. The doctor said he was in critical condition, and that it was a good idea to call all the children from out of town to come see Anthony. I remember thinking that this couldn't be real - we were just having a normal day a few hours ago. I began to understand and fear what was happening to Anthony and called two of the older children living in Florida, who made immediate arrangements to come to Buffalo.
As we waited, Father Gene began to tell us the incredible story of how he came to be standing outside at the statue of Mary during the hour of Mercy that afternoon:
Father was in the rectory, packing his suitcase for an upcoming trip on Tuesday. Suddenly, he thought to himself, "I need to go check the flowers in front of the statue of Mary in front of Selbert Hall." (this building is across the street from the church, about 200 yards from the rectory). Then he told himself, "No, I don't, the ladies in the parish do that already and I have a long list of things to do to get ready for my trip." Yet, Father couldn't shake the idea that he needed to go to the statue of Mary to check the flowers. He made the long walk over to the statue from the rectory, and looked over the flowers, again wondering to himself why he was there. After standing there for a few more minutes, he suddenly heard me calling to him from our car and hurried over.
We were astounded to hear Father's part of the story. How providential of God that Father would be standing there at the statue of Mary so Anthony would see him, stop for confession, and then I would call an ambulance at Father’s suggestion. Because of the EMT's relaying Anthony's information to Mercy Hospital, all the medical personnel were ready to help Anthony when he arrived. In a situation where every minute was precious, the advice to call an ambulance turned out to be important. No less important was the fact that Anthony was able to confess his sins and receive absolution from Father.
As we waited for Anthony to be situated in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, our son asked Father Gene questions about how he prepared his homilies, and Father Gene told him that he starts reading the scriptures and preparing his homily on Monday. This morning, however, he had adjusted his homily a little because as he walked into the church building, a sparrow stood in his path in front of the door, making him pause and think of the gospel of that day. He told everyone in church about the sparrow, and how it seemed like God was drawing our attention to the message of how He knows everything about us and what happens to us, and that He loves us immensely. As we spoke, I was reminded again that God was taking care of Anthony and our whole family. What a comforting thought!
After a few hours, Father Gene and two other priest friends, along with fourteen of us, were able to enter the cardiac intensive care unit to see Anthony, who was unconscious and attached to many machines. The priests administered the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick to him. I think that the shock to all of us of seeing Anthony like that was buffered by the prayers and sacramental graces. We all prayed together for awhile, and then said goodnight to Anthony and that we loved him. Three of us stayed in the hospital, and through the night I started to think about a bleak future without Anthony. Two of our first grandchildren were due to be born in the next few months, and our oldest daughter's wedding was about 9 weeks away. I prayed to God for strength.
The next morning, the doctors told me that they planned to transfer Anthony to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, about 70 minutes away. The very real possibility was that he would need either a heart transplant or a ventricular assist device (VAD), as these were the only options left.
During the morning, we began to realize how many people were praying for Anthony - he knew so many people in Buffalo and throughout the country. His patients loved him, he had delivered thousands of babies over his medical career of 28 years, and had helped train many young doctors in his specialty. Prayer is a very real help in times like this, and we are grateful to everyone who helped sustain us with their prayers and sacrifices, which also strengthened the doctors and nurses to do their best for Anthony. Throughout the next days and weeks, there were countless prayer vigils, holy hours, rosary vigils, novenas to Our Lady of Hope, special Masses offered at Sisters Hospital chapel and at other churches, and many families praying together for Anthony and all of us. We later heard about people all over the country and the world, who didn't even know us personally, yet prayed for us. Friends brought meals us for months, sent presents to the kids, and organized prayers and spiritual bouquets for Anthony. One memorable day at Strong, about a week later, I was sitting and reading these beautiful spiritual bouquets, which choked me up as I saw cards where little children had drawn a picture for Anthony and their moms had written in little notes, "You delivered me on such and such a date, I am praying for you." I waited a few days until Anthony was in the step down cardiac unit and was not asleep, or busy with the doctors/nurses and told him about the spiritual bouquets. I gave him a few to read, and he also was very moved by the prayers and pictures from the children he delivered and the families he loved. We had to take a break from reading and use portion control in how many cards we could read in one sitting because we felt so overwhelmed (in a very good way) by the prayers and love from all of you.
Returning to that Monday morning at Mercy: The doctors and nurses spent a long time getting Anthony ready for the ambulance ride to Strong. After they left, the children and I drove to Rochester. In the afternoon, after the nurses had settled him into the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, we were able to see him again. He began to wake up and understand all that had happened since the previous afternoon.
That evening, his breathing tube was taken out. He asked to speak to each of us individually, because he knew his condition was critical. This was a very beautiful time for each of us. He told me he loved me and that I was his beautiful blessing of a wife, something he had been telling me daily since we had been on a marriage retreat in May where Father Noonan had encouraged each husband to tell his wife daily how much he loved and cherished her. I cried and said that I never thought I'd hear him say that again and he agreed that he also had thought he wouldn't be saying that to me ever again. What a gift to have time to say these loving words to each other.
Then began a nineteen day hospital stay full of procedures, pain, uncertainty, and fear. At the same time, these days were also filled with caring doctors and nurses, uplifting visitors, and abundant prayers. Each improvement and milestone Anthony had was due to his knowledgeable doctors and nurses, amazing medical technology, and the strength from all the prayers from our family and friends asking for God's grace for us and for wisdom for his health care team. The first step in the recovery was waiting for a few days, and then with an echocardiogram, seeing if Anthony's heart had improved enough to work on its own without the ECMO. If there wasn't enough improvement, plans would begin for surgery for a VAD, followed by a heart transplant. Providentially, there was enough improvement in Anthony's heart function and on the following Monday, after 8 days flat on his back, with only minimal rotations in bed from one side to the other, the ECMO was removed in a surgical procedure. The next day, the nurses had Anthony up in a chair, and then the following day he took some steps, still hooked up to many machines, with a nurse following with a rolling, reclining chair if Anthony needed it to sit down. Then came the transfer to the cardiac step-down unit, not by rolling him in a hospital bed down three long hallways, but by him slowly walking with a walker down those long, long hallways. Each little improvement gave us new hope and taught us patience, and we were so thankful for each one! People say that doctors make the worst patients, but that wasn't true for Anthony. He was a model of patience and still found ways to make us laugh. One day, when he was still on the ECMO machine, his big toe started to swell. Anthony wanted our son to take a picture of what the underside of the toe looked like, since he couldn’t move. As our son took the picture, Anthony (who had taken photography courses in college), suggested that he take a closeup of the toe and position it in the foreground of the picture, with Anthony’s head in the background, looking very small. We laughed at how the picture turned out, with his toe looking much bigger than his head.
Finally, Anthony was discharged on July 13, and we drove home to start a six month recovery period. Anthony slowly added steps to his walking, rested a lot, and enjoyed family time and many visits and phone calls from family, coworkers, and friends. In late August, our first grandchild was born and Anthony and I drove three hours on Anthony's first overnight outing to meet the baby. This trip with just the two of us was a practice for a trip planned for a week later to our daughter’s wedding in Florida. Watching Anthony hold the baby in the rocking chair was amazing. I thought back to how I had wondered on the night of the heart attack if he would be with me on this day.
There was a lot of planning that went into the trip to Florida. Anthony was cleared by his doctor to fly, but he was weak and still needed a lot of rest. To add to the stress, right after we arrived in Florida, Hurricane Irma decided she wanted to attend the wedding, too! Due to the approaching hurricane, the wedding was a hurried, yet very beautiful day, where Anthony was able to walk Mary up the aisle of the cathedral without his cane. As the wedding began, we received a text telling us that our second grandchild had just been born in Buffalo, 11 days early! After the wedding, we evacuated by van to Atlanta, Georgia, along with many Floridians, driving through the night ahead of Hurricane Irma. From there, we flew safely home. The trip was more crazy and stressful, yet even more beautiful and memorable than I had ever envisioned during the weeks of planning.
Finally, in late September, Anthony was cleared to begin cardiac rehab, which lasted 12 weeks. He worked hard and I could worry less, knowing that he was in the care of nurses as he began the work of slowly improving his heart. The first few weeks, I saw patients driving themselves to rehab, and wondered, how are their families okay with that? I drove Anthony to and from the sessions, three times a week. Yet, by the end of the 12 weeks, he had improved enough to drive himself. Hooray! In early January 2018, he started back at work, for only a couple of hours at a time at the hospital and a few hours at home, all administrative work. His heart was not strong enough for the demands of seeing patients, delivering babies, and performing surgery. On the positive side, he was getting stronger and WAS able to work, something that we were not sure would happen back in July. Every month, he was a little stronger, his color was a little better, and we were even more thankful, if that was possible. Over 2018, he gradually added hours at work. In the fall of 2018, he traveled alone to a medical conference and slowly, things began to feel a little more like "normal". I thought that God would continue to answer our prayers for healing, so Anthony could go back to his original work of delivering babies. With the grace from many novenas to Our Lady of Hope, I began to understand that in this new reality, Anthony being able to do this different kind of work was still beautiful and meaningful.
Today, Anthony is at about two-thirds normal heart function. He can do most things he did before, though he does need to add more time to rest during the day.
This amazing, miraculous story is one that I will never tire of telling. Over the past two years, and especially as I prepared to tell this story, I reflected on what I had learned from all that had happened. I believed myself to be a thankful person before this miracle, but after, I can only say that even if I thanked God at the top of my lungs every minute of every day forever, I would not even begin to scratch the surface of my gratitude.
A big lesson I learned was the importance of respecting the free will of others. This lesson came after months of hovering over Anthony, well-honed worrywort that I am, sure that I could prevent any more bad things from happening to him. Our youngest daughter told me one day as she saw me pushing down the footrest of Anthony's recliner for him, "Mom, how can Dad get stronger if you keep doing that for him?" I finally felt so conflicted over my worry and Anthony's need to take the next step in recovering his strength, that I went to pray before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament at church. “Help me, God, to know what to do, what is Your will?" Immediately, and I mean immediately, the thought occurred to me that God's will was to give Anthony his own free will, which I was overriding daily with my hovering. I was surprised at the quickness of the answer to my prayer, and with the peace it gave me. I remembered when I had felt boxed in and very frustrated in the past by others not letting me do what I wanted.
I began to actively choose to relax and let Anthony decide on the pace of his recovery, without saying, "what if this happens when you try that?" This idea has helped me ever since, especially with the older children. Hovering and not letting them freely choose their actions, even though I think I know what's a better choice in a given situation, is not what God does for me. He wants me to freely choose to follow Him and love Him. I myself have made many mistakes, and will probably continue to do so, yet with His grace, I will turn back to Him each time, and strive to follow His will more closely. Now I try to imitate God by letting others exercise their free will, too.
The other lessons I've learned all fall under the categories of Mercy, Mary, and Hope.
First of all, MERCY:
I think the main focus of this story is Anthony's desire to go to confession, thinking he was about to die. As we drove by Annunciation Church, it was the hour of mercy, 3 o'clock in the afternoon, which corresponds to the hour that Jesus died for us on the cross, opening the gates of heaven with his merciful sacrificial love. I admit that my first thought when Anthony said he wanted to stop for confession, was confusion, yet I did stop the car and call out the window to Father Gene who was standing by the statue of Mary. Most people who hear this story are amazed that Anthony would be thinking of confession at a time like this, and that I would stop the car for his confession. We both believe that God helped us with His grace at this moment to do the right thing.
Yet, confession SHOULD be our first thought when we find ourselves in danger of death, which I think is an important lesson to take away from this amazing story. We all know this theoretically, yet we need to remember it when death is imminent for us, or for someone we love. We can make sure to ask to see a priest, or have a priest come to see a family member who is very ill. Let us not be afraid to speak up and suggest the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. There are many graces from this sacrament, besides the forgiveness of sins, such as giving us strength for our suffering, and even the healing of our sickness. An older cousin of mine was dying from cancer a few years ago and my mom suggested that a priest be called to the hospital for him. My cousin was unconscious and very agitated, but after being anointed, he was calm and peaceful.
Whenever I worry that I won't remember this in the heat of the moment, I recall that God and Our Lady's intercession helped Anthony this time, and I trust that God’s grace will help us again. Let us trust in Our Blessed Mother and God to plant the idea in our minds at the time when we'll need it, and then to act on it. Practicing is a good way to be ready for the time when we will each face death. Death will happen to all of us, and not necessarily with much warning, or at an advanced age.
How can we practice and be ready to die in the state of grace?
First, by going to confession regularly. One of the precepts of the church is to confess our sins at least once a year. Practice helps us grow familiar with the sacrament and not be afraid or shy about saying our sins out loud to a priest. As a family, we pray the Act of Contrition nightly, and plan confession monthly on a Saturday afternoon, usually around the end of the month so we are ready for the graces of First Friday and First Saturday Masses. These practices can be done by anyone and any family. The good effects I have seen over the years are that our children know the Act of Contrition well before their First Confession. A good habit is built up every evening when we think of the ways we have said no to God each day. A familiarity with the sacrament of confession by going monthly is such a beautiful gift to give yourself and your children. Besides the first effect of cleansing your soul from sins, and thus reconciling yourself to God and returning to a state of grace, there are other spiritual benefits to confession, such as strengthening us for the spiritual battles in our life.
This last benefit gives one hope, too! Sometimes I feel like I am confessing the same sins over and over, yet a priest once encouraged me with the thought that each time I confess, to imagine that with God's help, I am jackhammering the hard cement of my sinful soul. It will be a long process, but little by little, progress is occurring with the graces God bestows.
Before we commit a sin, the devil makes the sin look very appealing and not a big deal - we may think why is it so bad to experience this pleasure… what's the real harm in doing this particular act and saying no to God in this way. After we commit that sin, it then appears too big and impossible to be forgiven by God and too shameful to confess. This is the very same sin which looked so harmless and small, and which now looks gargantuan and fills us with fear and dread. This is a trick that we should not fall for! Imagine always as you talk to the priest that you are confessing to God himself, our loving Father, who loves us so deeply and completely that He is only waiting for our sorrow and contrition to forgive us. No sin is too big to be forgiven by our infinite God.
A second way of practicing and being ready to die in the state of grace is to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. This very powerful prayer helps us understand the infinite ocean of God's Mercy.
A third way is to pray the Hail Mary, especially in the Rosary. In each Hail Mary, we ask Mary to "pray for us now, and at the hour of our death.”
The Hail Mary prayer leads into the second lesson which is about Our Blessed Mother MARY.
This miracle is truly a story of Mercy, through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, our perfect mother given to us by Jesus as he was dying for us. "Behold your mother," Jesus told each of us. What a gift! I have a wonderful earthly mother, yet Mary even surpasses my mom's many virtues and her love for me. I often like to imagine sitting with Mary and talking with her, learning from her, being with her to try to be more like her. One time at Strong, I really needed to go somewhere quiet, wanting to talk to Mary and feel the peace of being with her in prayer. I told my older children that I was going to the chapel, which was at the end of many winding hallways. I sat in the chapel and closed my eyes, imagining that I was sitting with Mary, and she was holding my hand and comforting me. I knew that as my mother, she knew my sorrow, my fears, all that I was going through. In the next minute, I was surprised to feel someone really holding my hand, and I opened my eyes to see my daughter Mary who had found me in the chapel - my Mary, mirroring my prayerful union with my mother Mary. It was a very beautiful experience of a bit of heaven on earth.
Our Blessed Mother Mary's intercession for Anthony could be seen by where we saw Father Gene that afternoon, standing by Mary's statue. Father Gene was brought to that spot by a compelling urge from God. In Anthony's prayers, he had asked for Mary's intercession "now and at the hour of my death" many, many times over the years. Our Mother Mary will answer this request from each of us and intercede for each of us. We can be sure of this.
The power of intercessory prayer is so important as we help each other on our common journey to heaven. We are so grateful to each of you, who participated in our miracle, praying for us and offering up your crosses for Anthony and our family. We have heard many stories about individuals who hadn't prayed in a very long time, yet took time to pray for Anthony. Anytime we pray, we enter into union with God which is always to our benefit. This is a great good that comes out of the evil of sickness. Many people were brought into closer union with God, who might otherwise be distracted by their everyday business and would not have made the time to spend with God without a tragedy to compel them. Think of the movie, A Quiet Place, where the family combats the evil around them with a quiet, monastic way of living. We can all strive to make time every day to be quiet with God. There is no better way to spend some of our day, every day.
This idea of quiet time with God in prayer leads me to the last lesson, that of HOPE.
Hope was a lesson that I learned the first morning after Anthony's heart attack. Anthony was being readied for the long ambulance trip to Strong. There was some time before I needed to leave to follow the ambulance, so I walked to the chapel at Mercy Hospital, and in one of the hallways, my eyes were drawn to the word HOPE, high up on a small sign at the top of a doorway. My mind grabbed onto that idea and held it tight. I prayed in the chapel, hoping for the first time. Once we arrived in Rochester, I found out that Strong Memorial Hospital is located in a part of the city called Mount Hope. Signs hanging from every street light told me that Hope Lifts Our Hearts. My heart did begin to lift. During Anthony's stay at Strong, I passed a statue of a horse outside the entrance to the hospital many times a day. After about a week, I stopped to look closely at the horse and saw that its name was Spero, which means "I hope" in Latin. Spero the horse reminded me of the homonym sparrow, the bird from the gospel reading on that fateful Sunday. I thought, “God has been telling me to HOPE from the very beginning."
Our hope is the kingdom of heaven and eternal life with God.
God wants us to be saints. It is why he created us: to be happy with him forever in heaven. Leon Bloy says it well, “The only real sadness, the only real failure, the only real tragedy in life is not to become a saint.” And that is the reality, that we could reach the end of our life, no matter how short or long it is, and miss the whole point of having been alive, which would be tragic. I know we understand that this is our purpose! But are we intimidated by what looks to be a massive challenge and too much for we ourselves to accomplish? Take hope!! God wants us to be a saint. He is on our side in all of life’s struggles, closer to us than we can imagine.
"Ultimate hope is accepting what is beyond our control and believing that God will use the circumstances of our lives to help us grow in holiness" (Fr. J. Michael Sparough). Our God is love right through, it is all He is. He only and always wants the best for us. But because God's canvas is all of space and time, there is no way on this side of heaven for us to understand God's ways.
In the book of Isaiah, God says, "As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my thoughts above your thoughts, my ways above your ways."
Therefore, being faithful to God even when things happen that are tragic and awful, and make not one bit of sense to us, is the only way to live. Let us remember and remind each other that each of us has been created and is loved at every moment by our all-loving God, who is worthy of our total faithfulness and love.
I think this miracle of Anthony’s that we have all been drawn into should inspire us with this hope: that God loves us abundantly and that nothing about us escapes His notice. God’s choice to help Anthony with this miracle is a gift to all who know him, his family, friends, patients, co-workers, and acquaintances. God used our prayers and sacrifices and showered Anthony with graces and now the grace of this miracle of hope is a gift to all of us.
Pope Benedict says, “The one who has hope lives differently; the one who has hope has been granted the gift of a new life.”
You can see all the ways in which God's mercy, our dear Mother Mary, and the virtue of hope worked together on June 25, 2017, for a miracle for Anthony. My prayer is that all of us strive for an increase of God's mercy in our lives through confession and prayer, a closer relationship with our heavenly mother Mary, and a firm hope in the eternal happiness of heaven.
God bless us all!
Address to Gentle Woman, Mother of Mercy Buffalo, NY Chapter of Magnificat
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
September 14, 2019