St. Jude… HE can make you listen!

BEE0C1FC-0997-4847-BD39-438E5B1A736DRecently, I came across some books on “coincidences” and “synchronicity” in life. We’ve all been there where something happens and we shake our head, because it’s an incredible coincidence… how could that happen?

For years now, I have prayed to St. Jude. He has helped me through some tough spots. Oh, I pray to God, but somehow I always go back to St. Jude. If you are familiar with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital then you know the wonderful story of actor, Danny Thomas, who prayed to St. Jude, “Show me my way in life and I will build you a shrine.” And build a shrine, Thomas did! St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital celebrates its 60th Anniversary in helping children with cancer. If you do not know story, you will be moved when you read it.

For a while now, I have been praying about my job search. I went to St. Jude and told him I was “tired,” and if he had a “heart” he would hear my prayers, help me out, send a sign! WELL, I did get a job offer, but the salary was so low I could not accept it.

On my way home, I was like a little kid – I was SO ANGRY! I really gave St. Jude a piece of my mind. I told him I was fed up with praying and asking for assistance. What a horrible joke he played on me. If I wasn’t meant to find a job yet, OK, but WHY get my hopes up and then embarrass me with an unacceptable offer?? Obviously, I was meant to learn something from this, but I was NOT seeing what it was.

Then I teased St Jude, I said, “Hey, and WHY do I keep finding LUCKY PENNIES, which remind me to “Trust in God,” if when I “try” to “Trust in God,” I see no path, no results. So, I VERY STERNLY told St. Jude I was taking a break from praying! I would NOT visit him anymore. I felt like a little child who tells their parents “I don’t love you anymore,” which isn’t true, but we want to see how they would react!

Well, this is HOW St. Jude reacted!!

St JudeI got home from work and checked the mail. I saw a small package in my name. Strange, I never get packages. Nowadays everyone just sends an email to communicate.

I did say to St. Jude, “You see, take a look, SOMEONE does CARE about ME!”

As I opened the package out fell a BIG RED ROSARY. I could not believe it. I had to smile, a “rosary??” THEN I looked at the outside of the card and it said, “The National Shrine of St. Jude!” SAY WHAT – a message from St. Jude through my girlfriend?

My girlfriend, who does not believe in God, had sent me a New Year’s gift. She had been in Florida and found this Italian rosary, which made her think of me. She admires my Faith in God. Also, she knows I pray to St. Jude and made this special card for me.

2CD4B989-53FA-43BC-8C5F-ABF4FAD52517Well, you can imagine… I got a good cry and a good laugh ALL at the same time.

St. Jude, he outdid himself! Perfect timing, such a coincidence.

So, next day I stopped by church, rosary and card in hand to light a candle by St. Jude. There is a book at St. Jude’s feet, where we can write a message.

I wrote, “Ok St. Jude, you’re not out of the woods, I still need a job, but you redeemed yourself and made me laugh! You worked a miracle in reaching out to me, I’ll give you that. I will pray to you… just a little while longer…”

Milan/Linate Airport: When you need to pray…

IMG_1445Today is Sunday, a perfect day for a post about praying.  Most of us know that airports have chapels, but how many of us have actually stopped in one. I confess that when I have been in an airport, even with a long lay over, I have never sought out a chapel. In fact, never even gave it a thought. My main goal was making sure I made my connecting flight.

IMG_1444So, it was a complete surprise to come across the “Cappella Madonna di Loreto,” chapel in the Milan/Linate airport recently.

It was one of those days where YOU KNOW you were meant to stop in the church and pray.  WHY?  Because when I reached the Aer Lingus counter it was closed. The Italian security guard told me that the counter would be opening in an hour. So, what was I to do, but “wait!”

I thought… OK, might as well sit down. As I went to find a seat, I looked to my right and immediately saw the “Virgin Mary” statue and my mind said, “Wow, you’ve found a chapel, but not any chapel, an Italian airport chapel.”

IMG_1443I say this, because my mother was a born and raised in Florence. So, my next thought was that my Italian grandmother who is in Heaven (well, I am sure she is there and not Hell) was drawing me to the chapel, so we could have a sweet moment together. I admit I got a bit teary-eyed, because I miss my grandmother. She didn’t speak English, but when I visited her we got by. I quickly learned Italian and we sure used our hands a lot to communicate.  She was a TREASURE!

As I lit a candle, I saw this Italian prayer.  There is a similar one in English, see this website for candle lighting and its meaning.

I sat for a few peaceful minutes and began to reminisce about my Nonna. She taught me how to knit. Think about that!! There was the language barrier as she tried to instruct me, but I focused, watched and made my first stitch.

IMG_1448My Nonina LOVED to play the game Bingo. She would go every Wednesday night. We always laughed when she came home, because if she had won, she would have either some olive oil or a big roll of salami under her arm.

Food, she made the BEST bolognese sauce, OF COURSE, she was my grandmother. It was a treat when she would fry small artichokes and we always had biscotti at breakfast, dipping it in our coffee.

Oh, when I would arrive, if I went on the balcony, she would proudly brag to her neighbors that her Italian grandchild was visiting from America!  Then the neighbors would say how I looked like my mother. We all smiled.

IMG_1449For once, I was not irritated for the delay with flight check in. My little Guardian Angel had a surprise for me, the message was “slow down,” take a moment to appreciate my Italian heritage, sit, give thanks and send LOVE up to my Nonina! WHICH I DID!

TODAY is Father’s Day!  I wish all Father’s and Grandfather’s a special day!