" I implore you, my child; observe heaven and earth, consider all that is in them, and acknowledge that God made them out of nothing (ex nihilo), and that mankind comes into being in the same way..." 2 Maccabees 7:28

Thursday, May 29, 2008


My sister Charity has a friend who told her this story about a strange experience he had. He's a nice Italian boy who tries to get to mass every Sunday and when for some reason he can't, he tries to make a visit to church. So this story takes place on such a Sunday- he had missed mass due to having to work, but he stopped into a church to say hello. When he went into the church, it was empty except for one little old lady sitting in one of the front most pews. He spent some time in silence at the altar rail, and then as he turned to leave his attention was again focused on this little old lady. He thought he would say hello as he walked out. She was wearing what appeared to be a veil over her head, so he assumed she was a nun who worked at the parish.

"Hello, do you work here?"
"Oh, no; I work for the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I just do whatever she asks me to do. Sometimes she just asks me to pray on my knees for hours at a time and I tell her how much it hurts and how badly I want to stop, but she just asks me to keep praying, so I do it."

At this point our friend noticed that the veil was not actually a veil but a piece of kleenex opened up and placed strategically on top of her head, and that the pew around her was strewn with all sorts of papers and notebooks. He smiled inwardly, realizing now that he was dealing with someone who was "a couple beads shy of a decade", if you catch my meaning. He smiled at her and said his goodbyes, and her last words were "may the Immaculate Heart of Mary protect you on your travels". He walked down the aisle a bit, and thinking to himself "that was weird" turned to see her one last time. But, of course, the woman was gone. And when he scrambled back to check her pew, all the papers were gone as well. He spent the next half hour scouring the church for her, looking under pews and behind furniture, even checking the confessionals. And then he finally said to himself "well, I believe in God... why is is so difficult to think that something unexplainable happened to me today?"

I think of this because a little old lady came up to me in church this morning when I was particularly anxious. Her lipstick was not quite in line with her lips, and she handed me a holy card that she had clearly made herself. The ink was smudged and the edges were not cut in line with the picture. But she asked me if she could pray for me and of course I said yes. So she put her hands on my shoulders and prayed silently for a few minutes, then walked away. That's all. Nothing miraculous. No disappearing, no cryptic words. I don't think she was an angel in the typical sense, but it was comforting to have this stranger offer to pray for me at a time when I was feeling more than a little fearful. So I think she was working for the Immaculate Heart of Mary too. There's lots of em out there.


Anonymous said...

There's the Immaculate Heart for ya - at work yet again!!! :)

hopeyg said...

That's pretty cool Papes. I could use a little Immaculate heart of Mary lady in my life right now :0)

Love you and see you soon.

Amy :) said...

Oops! Forgot to mention my name it the last post! hehe

charity said...

So I was thinking...We could get a box of kleenex, and assemble a group to go around to churches at odd hours. We each put kleenex on our heads and say random but kind things to strangers. There seems to be a lot of healing that comes from it. however, I don't want to take credit for this ministry- I will humbly stay anonymous.-chairs

Pat Wente said...

I think Charity missed the point. Whether the old lady is an angel or an appearance or just a fast-moving homeless person, when somebody shows up and wants to pray for you, you should let 'em.

I got a new cleaning lady -- recommended by a friend -- just before my third chemo. She walked in the house, saw my big hairy dog and my bald head and said, "EEEEE! This house needs to be clean! You shouldn't be around germs!" I learned only then that she had been a housekeeping supervisor at MD Anderson here in Houston and had a lot of knowledge about cleaning around cancer patients.

The next thing she did was to ask me if she could pray for me. She put one hand on my head and the other hand on my dog's head (because if anyone wants to touch or hug me, Casey wants in on it)and said a beautiful prayer for us in Spanish. I could feel myself relax, and knew immediately that my late mom and dad were in the room with me.

So if you want to pray for someone, do it. I don't think you need the kleenex.

Colleen said...

But it's so much more fun with the Kleenex!

Actually that's very "old school" Catholic.

As a kid in public school at First Communion and Confirmation time we were picked up by the Catholic school bus after school to attend Catechism. We weak-willed, female, public school sinners ALWAYS forgot to bring a hat or a veil to school. (Wasn't it enough we remembered to bring our homework and our lunch?!)So those nuns would bobby pin Kleenex to our heads.

It almost sanctifies Kleenex!