First Saint Story:
This story begins a couple weeks ago on my birthday. My friend, Nita gave me a deck of St. John Bosco playing cards for my birthday - because she knows I just adore him!! The Italian movie of his life is one of my all time favorites!! I don't play cards very often, but was thrilled with the gift and thought maybe I'll find more cribbage time. Fast forward to Saturday morning, I'm packing my backpack for Rio and I see the cards, I think 9 1/2 hour flight I could probably use those - so I shove them in (and never did take them out during the flight). This morning at breakfast I suddenly remember I have them - though a complete impulse of the Holy Spirit as you will soon agree I'm sure.
Traveling with us is a sweet 14 year old boy, who is deaf and also happens to be autistic. He is with his mom and big brother, and despite so many sensory overloaded situations, he has been AMAZING, surprising his mother with every new encounter. Crowds, long waits, hours without food, visiting the poorest of the poor, climbing to the heights of the earth, he has just smiled and persevered (not his usual behavior). My little friend has had only one desire since arriving here - securing a HUGE BRAZILIAN flag that he could wrap around himself. He tried unsuccessfully for several days to trade our rubber wrist bands for one. This morning, when I remembered the cards, I also remembered his quest. I excitedly brought them over, explained about Don Bosco, shared my idea, and told him I'd prayed that the cards would bring him better luck in securing his longed for flag.
When went to Vivo Rio today, the site of the English Catechesis. After the morning session was over, he along with several other pilgrims in our group set out for lunch. I was tired of being wet and cold, and choose to stay behind and eat lunch in the Vivo Rio (which you will learn in part 2 of my Saint encounters today). At 3 o'clock they all came rushing in, with my little friend at the front of the pack, WRAPPED IN THE BRAZILIAN FLAG!!! The cards had worked! Well really, St. John Bosco's interecession had worked!!
Not that this isn't enough... but as I am recounting the flag/card story to another pilgrim in our group she says, "That is amazing, I wish I knew more about the Saints." I asked, "Do you know the Patron Saint of the Deaf?" "Yes, of course, it is St. Francis de Sales." When she speaks his name, my eyes FILL WITH TEARS and I can not speak. "What, what??" After a few minutes I am able to utter in response, "St. Don Bosco is the founder of the Salesians. The Salesians follow the teachings of... ST FRANCIS de SALES!"