The Relic, The Rosary, and the Encounter

Wooden Wardrobe by Nina Haghighi

Wooden Wardrobe by Nina Haghighi

Unlike the fantasy story by C. S. Lewis, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, this incident is fact. I was there.

A few months ago I was able to attend a dedication to the Saint Gianna Beretta Molla shrine. Saint Gianna is the patron saint of doctors, children, and moms. She is also  the patron Saint of the World Meeting of Families.

St. Gianna’s driving gloves came to the evening Mass before the dedication. They are relics. The gloves were not encased in anything. I was able to touch the relic to my blessed rosary I always carry with me. I stop at the Planned Parenthood facility to pray at various times and it’s a comfort to have it with.

Colorful Rosaries by Nathan Gibbs

Colorful Rosaries by Nathan Gibbs

I had volunteered that day to pray outside a Planned Parenthood facility. I was volunteering with the 40 Days for Life prayer campaign. This was not my normal schedule. The reactions I received ranged from the middle finger salute to people cursing me as they drove into.

My skin is thick, so I stay focused on the reason I’m there. I’m there to pray. I pray for the unborn children, their mothers, and fathers. I also pray for the Planned Parenthood staff and doctors. On the bright side, I also see thumbs up signs and hear “God bless you” from people going by the facility.

Cold Walk - Criana

Cold Walk – Criana

Perhaps it was my imagination, but this day felt a little different. There was a larger than usual group praying in the front of the facility because of the 40 Days for Life campaign. There was only one sidewalk counselor at the time I was there.

Four teenage girls in a car drove out of the parking lot of the Planned Parenthood Facility. They shouted obscenities at the prayer group as they drove by.

Art by Philip Kirk

Art by Philip Kirk

One of the women in the prayer group turned to me and said emotions were higher because today was a “Kill Day”. Meaning abortionists were performing abortions that day.

I found a spot to set down my purse and bottle of water. Removing my rosary from its pouch, I began to pray. I’d just started then noticing a young man walk from the facility to his car in the parking lot.

The Path by Katy

The Path by Katy

The sidewalk counselor was standing a few steps in front of me. The sidewalk counselor spoke of other options people have instead of abortion. At this, the young man jumped up beside his car. I saw he was young enough- he had a thin peppery growth of whiskers. He began to yell at the counselor to shut up. The counselor kept speaking. He yelled again for her to shut up. The young counselor was not intimated and continued to speak. The angry young man  walked across the parking lot, heading in our direction.

I can’t explain why I have a fear of flying, but I do. This is silly since I like it at the same time. It’s the only thing I fear. I feel its wise to remain vigilant in situations like these. My heart picked up a few extra beats as I watched him draw near. I rationalized I was already praying and wondered if there was a way to double down in prayer.

I continued to pray the rosary and kept on eye on the young man as he reached the counselor in front of me. That’s when I paused, remembering Saint Gianna and how I touched my blessed rosary to her relic. I needed her intercession now and believed her intercession had power.  I didn’t know if someone could double down in prayer, but I was going to attempt it. Saint Gianna, please intervene.

20949251285_5c41ad0af8_k Nick Vidal-HallAt that moment, the young man looked past the counselor and at me. His eyes traveled down to the rosary in my hands. He turned back to the counselor and asked why I was praying. The sidewalk counselor explained the facility was performing abortions today. The sidewalk counselor went on to explain that people were here to pray. The young man turned around to see a line of people praying the rosary.

In a softer voice, he explained to the counselor why he was there with his friend. (For privacy reasons, I won’t share what he said.) The counselor continued to engage the young man in conversation. As she spoke to him, he turned and looked back at my rosary. His face turned calm. He asked the counselor something that made me bow my head so he couldn’t see my reaction. He asked her if it was okay if he prayed with us.

Of all the scenarios I had going through my head when I first saw him approach us, that wasn’t one of them. Forgive me for my cynical thoughts. He stepped behind me and stood a little further back, as I continued praying the rosary.

After praying, we still had time before the next shift would arrive. so we introduced ourselves to each other and offered words of encouragement. By now an hour had passed since the young man had yelled at the sidewalk counselor. New comers were beginning to arrive.

As I picked up my purse and started to walk away, I turned to where I’d last seen the young man. There he was, alone, and still praying. He looked peaceful. Thank you for your intervention Saint Gianna.

There are many reasons why we should pray the rosary. I now have more determination to continue praying whenever possible because of this day. To those who say they’re too busy and “I’ll pray from home”, prayer makes a difference. I only was able to witness what happened that day because I was willing to pray the rosary there. . Sometimes we have to leave our comfort zone in order for greater things to happen. Sometimes it’s praying for an hour outside Planned Parenthood. Will I see you there?

I now look forward to praying there. I hope to see another heart opened. I look forward to greater things happening because of faith and prayer.  Perhaps we’ll meet someday soon. If we do, I have some wonderful stories to share with you.

Lamp post by Derek Bruff

Lamp post by Derek Bruff



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