Before I left for World Youth Day, I did a 5 day Powerful Novena to St. Therese. This incredible intercessory prayer was the same, I’d not only been praying since my teens, but also the one used to help me overcome my anxiety when I traveled to China to adopt my daughter, Faith.
On the 5th day, I missed praying before 11 a.m. as the novena instructions called for. I was so disappointed, but it was soon obvious that St. Therese doesn’t need rules, as I was given a set of St. Therese rosary beads that very day!! Since I do need rules (and thought the extra protection and intercession couldn’t hurt), I did the 5 day prayer again — this time on the day I finished I saw a rose on a business card at my nail salon. The following day – since I thought the sign was a bit sketchy – sweet Therese sent me the exact same rose graphic. It was on an electronic thank you, I’d received in my email that day from a friend, who I had told about St. Therese, and had found a great site dedicated to her (link below).
On the trip – She has showered me in roses:
* At the Favelas (Rio slums) after buying bottled water and praying for a sign that it was safe – we were lead into the inside of one of the Favela homes. The owner’s mom, who no longer lives there was crazy for clocks – and every inch of the wall was covered in different clocks. On one wall – I saw a clock with a rose on it and the word AQUA next to it!! OH and it was the same rose graphic I’d been seeing back in the states!
* At the opening Mass I was given a card with St. Therese’s image and of course she is holding roses, under her picture are the words, “Trust God! Let Faith, Hope and Love Conquer ALL!
* Wednesday morning (after our very difficult adventure home), I looked closer at a small frame with picture of the Virgin Mary depicting the apparition at Lourdes — that a sweet girl gave me last night at the Opening Mass — I noticed our Lady was standing next to a HUGE rose bush!
**The above was part of my initial blog entry mid-way through World Youth Day, after I posted that first blog; I soon learned that St. Therese was not done yet…
*Even St. Francis de Sales and Don Bosco enjoyed a moment of intercessory miracles on the trip!
More Love to Come
That evening – I clicked on a twitter link for prayer requests – to ask for intercession of whether we should got to Copacabana beach for the Vigil and Closing Mass – and the link turned out to be the very site I received the Thank You card from my friend before we left! (The St. Therese site: http://www.littleflower.org/prayers/StThereseIntercessions.asp)
Saturday night at the Vigil, I had just experienced Adoration, with the Pope and Matt Maher signing, “Jesus, I Need You.”
Although we were still in Adoration I wanted so much to share that moment on Twitter. Although I tried a few times, I was unable to open the Twitter App on my phone. I felt the Holy Spirit was trying to alert me to focus on what was happening, and share the experience later – I dropped the phone into my backpack, and looked up at the giant screen now showing a slide show – just as I did; there appeared a rose bud that blossomed on the screen before my eyes!
It just seemed every time I asked for a sign she provided, usually without hesitation. Ian bought a soda from a vendor on the walk home from the WYD Opening Mass – we cleaned off the top but still I worried it was sitting in contaminated ice (I know my fear of germs is truly unhealthy in and of itself) – but St Therese is sympathetic because a few moments later I noted a beautiful gold rose on the architecture of a building as we walked by.
Sunday night when we finally returned from all the WYD festivities, had my first hot meal in a week, finished our group meeting, and I was finally about to settle into my favorite spot in the hall outside our room, I was approached by a very strange man. He got way to close, and behaved in a way that made me incredibly uncomfortable. I quickly back into my room, and contacted the leadership to warn the others of this possibly dangerous person. I was also concerned because they evening we had discovered that my son’s iPod had been stolen, and although I did not want it reported for fear of retaliation or something (irrational I know) happening, I had just learned the hotel had been informed. My mind was racing with sleep deprived crazy thoughts, and just before one of the leadership team arrived to check on me, I had again turned to St. Therese for a rose to help me feel safe and stop worrying about Ian. As we stood in the hallway talking, I looked at her necklace and asked, “Is that a rose?” “Oh yes, but its even more than a rose,” she put the rose in her fingers and turning it over revealed, “it has the image of St. Therese on the other side.” I sleep like a baby that night!!
Signs from Heaven; God’s Great Gift
Our last day in Rio, we were running late for Mass with Cardinal Sean O’Malley, I felt guilty because it was something I had to tend to that made us late. We lost the main group, and didn’t really know how to get to the Shrine. I knew that others in our group were also concerned we’d miss the beginning of Mass, and I asked for assurance we’d be there on time. Just then, a man appeared carrying a bouquet of roses, walked by me. And then a bit further just for good measure, we passed a flower vendor who was sweeping up a few dozen rose pedals from the sidewalk. And then as we took our seats for Mass, I looked over the altar again the beautiful architecture held a perfect gold rose – directly in line with my vision. There had been so many messages received during this week – and I had been seeking so much validation and assurance that I’d perceived them correctly – each rose brought such comfort and peace to my heart.
Finally at JFK in New York, just before our last leg of the journey to Boston. My son asked me if the rose finds were like a game of “Where’s Waldo” – did I have to look for them, or do they just appear. Although it is hard to explain how, I can just sense one is near, and then within a few minutes or so, I will find it. He seemed a little disappointed and eager for a game of “Where’s Waldo”, so I suggested that we could ask for one and see who finds it first. I considered since St. Therese was a young woman when she died as well as a feisty, fun, generous soul – why not think she’d enjoy this game as much as us. We played for while – looking at people’s name tags, store windows, everywhere we thought one might be. Finally we got to our gate and sat to wait to board our plane. I opened my book, “33 Days to Morning Glory”, I looked at the card I’d been using as bookmark – and then laughed out loud, waving my son, Ian over. There on the card was our Blessed Mother holding a bouquet of White Roses – that even after 2 weeks I’d not noticed…until then!!
Mostly unedited, work in progress. Copyright, Allison Gingras 2013, 2020