Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a big believer in "signs" (from above). When Austin was first diagnosed, I asked God for a "sign" that things would be ok. And while I do believe that I did get a sign, I have continued to ask for signs since then. Well a few weeks ago, someone praying for us through a church prayer chain, reached out to us through another person, telling us that she had a strong feeling that we needed to attend a mass service at St. Cecilia's Church in Rockaway, NJ regarding Saint Gianna Beretta Molla. This person relayed to us that this church was going to have St. Gianna's relics at the church on January 22nd and that St. Gianna was the Saint of "problem pregnancies" and human life.
So, of course I went on the internet and researched her and found a website dedicated to her life and good work (http://www.saintgianna.org/). The site talked about this woman, alive from 1922 through 1962, who was diagnosed with a uterine problem with her last pregnancy and basically told to terminate her pregnancy or anticpate that she would not survive. Well Gianna continued her pregnancy and consequently died seven days later. Her child survived and went on to live a long and substantial life.
I talked with Kevin about this and he and I quickly agreed that we would be going to this mass. My mother also agreed to join us. So, yesterday at 6:30am, we left the house to travel the one hour plus drive to get to the church. We sat in the church and listened to the priest talk about love, marriage and the sanctity of life. Displayed in the church were pictures and such of St. Gianna. After the mass, one of the members of the St. Gianna society got up to speak about Gianna and her life story. He then continued to tell a few stories about miracles that have come from people touching the relics and believing in her healing powers. As we sat there and listened to the stories, I found myself getting extremely emotional. One story was about a four year old girl who spent 15-20 days of every month in the hospital due a debilitating medical diagnosis. This child went to a mass service with her mother regarding St. Gianna. After the service, they went up to the front of the pews and touched St. Gianna's gloves. The four year old grabbed the glove and instantly dropped it. The mother, mortified, apologized to the society and asked her daughter why she dropped it. The daughter replied "it is very hot". The mother picked up the glove and felt that it was cool to the touch. They left the church and over the next few weeks, the mother realized that the daughter was not getting sick. The mother hung St. Gianna's card up on the refrigerator and one day the daughter pointed to the card and said "Thats the one who made me all better". The daughter is now living a healthy and happy life.
We listened to more miraculous stories about St. Gianna's healings. At the end of the service, everyone was allowed to go up and touch her gloves. Kevin, my mom, Jake and I, all headed up the isle. As we neared, Kevin and I both had tears in our eyes. We got up to the table, touched her gloves as a family (even touched the gloves to Austin) and then went around to collect our belongings. They were showing a short film afterwards, which we had decided we were not going to stay for, so we went back to the pew to get our coats on. We all grabbed our belongings and began to walk outside into the back lobby of the church. We were the last perisherners out of the church. I stopped to zip Jake's jacket up and realized that I couldn't find his hat. I knew that he had his hat on walking into the church as it was freezing. I quickly and frantically checked his coat, my bag....the hat was no where to be found. Kevin agreed to go back into the church and look on the pew for it. He left for a few more minutes while I continued to search for the hat. I couldn't find it. Kevin returned saying "I can't find the hat.....and.....They want to pray with us". I began to cry instantly.
We all went back into the church to find the priest and a few members of the society inside the church waiting for us. The priest asked me when Austin was due and asked me if it would be ok if we all prayed. I agreed and we stood in a circle while he prayed for us, our family, Austin and the power of the Lord. After the prayer, one society member gave me St. Gianna's glove, and talked to me for a few minutes about believing in her powers and strength. Everyone told me that it would be ok. We talked for several more minutes about our life, our struggles, Jake's triumphs and the power of miracles. The society indicated that they would pray for us and that we just needed to believe. We all walked out of the church feeling very emotional, happy, and confident.
We got in the car and I checked one more time for Jake's hat....it was nowhere. Kevin explained that he went back into the church and went through all of the pews, even looking underneath the pews...no hat. One of the society members approached him and asked if everything was ok with Jake. Kevin explained that Jake was ok, but that we were having complications with our unborn. This member then asked Kevin if they could pray with us, and hence Kevin came out and got us.
On our drive back, we all talked about how it was very odd that the hat was gone. Just disappeared. And since we were the last ones out of the church, no one could have taken it. We talked about how if we had not lost the hat, Kevin would have never went back in, and we would have never had everyone focus on us and pray for us. It just blows my mind how something so trivial can mean so much. And how, the hat literally disappeared.....with no explanation.
To top off the day, Jake stayed at my mom's house for a little while and Kevin and I ran to the mall for some brief shopping. We pulled into the mall and I had to use the bathroom. I was washing my hands and noticed that the lady next to me was staring at me. You know how you can just tell when someone is looking at you? I paid her no mind while I continued to wash my hands. Then, as I passed her to get a paper towel, her and I made eye contact and she just smiled at me like no one had ever smiled before. It was almost as though we knew each other...but I had never seen her before in my life. I walked out of the bathroom, down the long hallway and met up with Kevin, as she was coming out of the bathroom. I whispered to Kevin to "Check out this lady behind me". As we walked down the hallway, I began to tell Kevin the story and asked him if he knew her. He turned around again and she was GONE! We had passed a corner and she disappeared. And there was no where else for her to go. WHAT? Where did she go?? How could she have disappeared like that?? I know that some of you skeptics could come up with an explanation, but Kevin and I took her as another sign. As if an angel coming down to say "Its going to be ok".
At any rate, our day was pretty phenomenal yesterday. A day filled with hope and "signs" and the belief in miracles. I can't help but have the feeling that everything is going to be ok, some way or another.