My friend, Olivia, called on New Year’s Eve. She wanted to tell me about her upcoming surgery, January twenty-third.
“Did you receive my Christmas card?” I queried.
“Why do you ask?”
“I included a St. Peregrine prayer booklet,” I said. “He’s a true wonder worker.” Then I proceeded to tell her what had happened a few Saturdays back.
For at least three weeks, I’d been having serious abdominal cramping. Sometimes it was off and on throughout the day; other times, constant.
Being a worry wort, my imagination knows no bounds; so I’d been in search-and-find mode on the internet, looking at sites— the Mayo Clinic, WebMD and others— I’ve come to trust. I’d feel okay about what I’d read, but I’d still wonder… and be concerned.
Still, I hate going to the doctor; so I always put it off as a last resort. I hate to take meds for anything since they irritate my stomach and abdomen. I don’t do well with over-the-counter drugs either, so it’s quite a conundrum especially when I have no choice but to bite the bullet and take something prescribed.
Father Ralph’s homily
Sharing all this with Olivia, I then said, “So I was lying in bed, the room dark and perfect for focusing on just one prayer. I remembered, as I often do, Father Ralph’s homily regarding St. Peregrine’s powerful intercessions.”
Yes, the good God Almighty has indeed done wondrous deeds. [Moreover,] since he is as the Bible tells us— the same, yesterday, today, and forever— we can expect to see, to experience, and many times to be part of, his miraculous delivering power in our lives and the lives of those that are very near and dear to us. It’s an ongoing testimony to the reality of God and to the truth of his word.
[With] the St. Peregrine novena, I’ve seen ongoing miracles [but] you must have faith to believe and expect God to do what no one else can do.
God is real. Miracles are real. God [doesn’t play favorites]. [He’s] bigger than any problem you could possibly face or endure. He said, “Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will answer you and show you marvelous things you know not of” (transcribed audio; Lanoux, 2010).
“What I recalled most about Father Ralph’s homily as I lay in pain,” I continued, “was that I didn’t need to be present before St. Peregrine’s first-class relic at Stella Maris to state my petition. I remembered the story Father told about little Cooper from Victoria, Texas.”
“Father, we’ve got a problem…. [My] twenty-one-month-old grandson… can’t walk, [and] the doctors can’t figure out why.”
I said, “Bend over now. Touch your ankles, [and] we will pray. There’s no distance in prayer. God’s a healer. He’s not dead; he’s alive.”
I don’t know what I prayed. I just prayed.
A week or two later, [the grandfather called]. He [was] ecstatic.
“I went to a family gathering for my son,” [he told me], “and little Cooper was there. He was running all over. You can’t keep up with him!”
[The grandparents brought Cooper] to the chapel. I hadn’t [met] Cooper [until then]. At the end of Mass, I had [the grandfather] give that little testimonial.
“As I lay in bed that night, I prayed. Mentally, silently, I focused on the words with resolve.
St. Peregrine, I’ve had this terrible pain for weeks now and I’m scared. It could be nothing serious, but I’m still concerned. If it’s God’s will that I should be healed, then please help me.
“And you’re not going to believe this, Olivia. The moment I reached the period at the end of my visualized sentence, the pain was gone! I haven’t had any more abdominal discomfort since then. Isn’t that amazing?!! Father’s words, ‘There’s no distance in prayer,’ empowered me to ask for healing. And I got it! So this is why I sent you the prayer booklet.”
“I’ll most certainly read the leaflet,” Olivia said enthusiastically. “In fact, my sister called to remind me about the prayer shawl she’d sent some time back. She insisted that I cover myself with it. The prayer blanket ministry she belongs to made it, so I’m going to use that, too.”
We talked and laughed a while longer before we hung up the phone. I assured Olivia that I’ll be at the hospital to keep her husband, George, and the others company the afternoon of the surgery; and she, in turn, told me that she feels “positively about everything.” She also said that she’ll petition St. Peregrine for healing.
Prayers to St. Peregrine
A novena offering… We thank you, heavenly Father, for the Church’s constant blessing upon the beautiful custom of invoking special saints for special needs.
In St. Peregrine we honor a powerful helper in certain bodily ailments and afflictions. May his prayerful and loving intercession, added to our own prayers, obtain for us the special graces for which we plead during these nine days of prayer.
As we begin our novena, please accept it as our filial offering of worship to you, almighty and merciful Father. In rendering homage to your holy ones, it is you, Father, whose favors and blessings we seek. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Daily novena… Heavenly Father, we thank you for giving us St. Peregrine as patron of persons suffering from cancer, foot ailments, or any incurable disease.
May he unite his prayers to our own. May he intercede before the throne of grace for all persons now suffering and afflicted.
We recommend especially those for whom we now request his prayers. (Please name the ones you are praying for— and don’t forget your personal needs.) In the name of Christ our Lord, who is glorified in Peregrine and all the other saints, we pray. Amen.
Nine Days Prayer to St. Peregrine (B-28R/07) is from Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mount Vernon, NY 10551-0598. The booklet focuses on one of nine intentions daily: trust, love, peace on earth, humility, patience, hope, living by the day, thankfulness, and perseverance.
January 21, 2012
Oh, glorious day! Steven and I visited Stella Maris again and spent time visiting with Father Ralph before five o’clock Mass. My wish came true when Father Ralph let me hold St. Peregrine’s first-class relic so I could pray for Olivia.
Of course, I prepared in other ways, too.
January 23, 2012
Thinking that I might not be allowed to visit Olivia before her surgery, I’d anticipated that George would take my gifts in for her to know that I was there. I’d specially selected a prayer blanket from church that I’d added to my care packet— a St. Anthony card with the chaplet prayers, a copy of my “Mary’s seven joys” post, and a heartfelt note— as tokens of our love and prayers.
Back at St. Paul’s George beaded my first Franciscan Crown for me. The one shown here is one of about a hundred or so that I’ve beaded to gift to others along with the prayers above.
Saturday, January fourteenth, I received a St. Anthony relic for you from Father Primo, director of Franciscan Mission Associates. For this reason, I beaded a chaplet and printed out the prayers for you.
Saturday, January twenty-first, Steven and I visited Father Ralph Jones at Stella Maris, the little church on Goose Island. I told him about your surgery today, and he showed me his first-class St. Peregrine relic for me to pray with for you and George.
Then today I emailed Father Xaviour to request a prayer blanket for you, which I obtained from Ninfa, the office secretary at St. Joseph’s.
You and George are in our thoughts and prayers always.
Much love & heartfelt hugsss,
Deli & Steve Lanoux
23 January 2012
Mary sat in the waiting room when I arrived at the hospital. I’d first met Mary and her husband, Jack, along with Olivia and George, at Steven’s first Knights of Columbus breakfast at St. Paul’s in 2006. The four of them are longtime friends, but today Jack couldn’t be there. Still, we agreed that he was there in prayer.
George was still in the prep room since Olivia’s surgery hadn’t yet begun. I’d wanted so much to let Olivia know I was there as promised, but there was no way to do that. Not much later, George joined us, so we walked with him to the cafeteria for some coffee and conversation. Mary and I knew that George was highly anxious about Olivia’s surgery, so our game plan was to distract him as much as possible.
Olivia’s surgery went better than fine. Although the procedure took about eight hours, the surgeon, who was all smiles, was surprised and quite pleased at how well everything had gone.
I told him that we’d networked prayerfully since December 7, 2011, when Olivia had first been to her doctor. “Olivia said, ‘Let’s pray for the doctors and all the medical staff.'”
“Keep it up! It worked!” the surgeon beamed.
January 24, 2012
I visited Olivia in ICU today, and she was awake long enough for us to talk a while.
“You just missed George,” she said. “He was here since very early, but all I did was sleep so I sent him home to rest.”
Then the chaplain dropped by. “Are you part of her family?” he asked sweetly.
“Part of her church family,” I twinkled.
Gently, genuinely, the chaplain inquired about Olivia’s health.
As he prayed, I joined in by touching his arm and raising my right hand, just as the chaplain was doing over Olivia.
Where two or more are gathered, there in their midst is God.
“You’re my angel,” Olivia said after the chaplain left. “No one had come by; but, as soon as you showed up, the chaplain came to see me.”
Olivia wanted to know what’d happened yesterday.
“Didn’t George tell you?”
I shared all the good reports we’d received while she’d been in the operating room as well as Dr. Varin’s very optimistic news afterwards.
Better than what I did can’t be done. The surgery took longer than expected, but even I am AMAZED at how well things went!
“We had a network of prayers going,” I told Dr. Varin, to which he replied,
Keep it up! It works!!!
Then I told Olivia about Steven’s and my visit to Stella Maris on Saturday.
Olivia was very happy to hear that I’d actually held St. Peregrine’s relic. “Touch me,” she insisted before I left.
As I made the sign of the cross on Olivia’s forehead and caressed her face, her body relaxed. I gave thanks and praise to God for his angels and his saints, especially
St. Peregrine and St. Anthony. I gave thanks and praise for the doctor and the medical staff. And I gave thanks and praise for the network of prayers on behalf of Olivia and George.
“George loves you so much, Olivia! Go to sleep now so you feel better.”
Olivia quickly closed her eyes and turned her head sideways to slumber.
“We love you,” I whispered as I turned to leave.
March 2, 2012
Olivia left me a message on the answering machine.
Just wanted you to know I’m doing very well. The doctor did a great job! I don’t need chemo or radiation. Thanks for your prayers.
March 29, 2012
Olivia showed up to the women’s ACTS retreat send-off, and she was radiant.
“Here’s another of God’s miracles!” I rejoiced, sharing her story with Neli-Beli and her family who waited beside me.
“It was a bit rough for the first month after the surgery,” Olivia told us, “but I never experienced any pain.” Her system merely had to regain its balance, she added.
Of course, her smiles said it all; and we were truly happy for her.
April 1, 2012
Olivia joined us for the retreatants’ celebration in the parish hall after eleven o’clock Mass.
“I couldn’t attend the ACTS retreat this time,” she said; “but I’m definitely going on the next one!”
“We’ll be here to send you off and to celebrate with you afterwards,” I enthused.
Olivia’s a walking-talking miracle who’s loving every moment of her new life.
August 30, 2012
Olivia called mid-morning and joyously proclaimed, “I just had to call you, since you’re the one who prayed for me [to St. Peregrine]. I had my third checkup yesterday, and I’m still cancer free!”
She was upbeat and energized, sharing not only her comings and goings but also some health tips.
“George and I have been going to the gym one-and-a-half hours every day. Well, except for Wednesdays. I told George I needed one day off to rest, but we’re having a great time. My legs are getting prettier now, too! I don’t want to stop exercising. I feel so good!” she giggled. “I told God that I’d attend the ACTS retreat in November if my tests came out okay, and I’m fine! I’m so happy! I just had to call to let you know ’cause you always want to hear how I’m doing.”
“I’m so happy for you and George, Olivia! I know how worried he was the day of the surgery. He loves you sooo much! I’m so glad to hear that everything is going so well. Praise God!” I enthused.
“Well, I’ve gotta go now. George and I are headed to the gym! Until next time then,” she said with a youngster’s lilt in her voice.
Olivia’s another of the walking-talking miracles I know. Just like Carlos, Pat’s husband. I’m so blessed to know they’re thriving!
September 26, 2014
There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is (Albert Einstein).
November 1, 2012
Olivia and twenty other women were about to embark on their Thursday through Sunday women’s ACTS retreat, so we arrived at St. Paul’s before they walked into the parish hall for the big send-off.
Of course, George was misty-eyed. “I’m going to miss her,” he told me a few times. “I’m very sentimental, and I’ve heard that it’s okay to be that way.”
“Yes, it is, George,” Steven and I both agreed.
I caressed his face and followed up with a Texas-sized hug. “But she’ll be back before you know it,” I reassured him smilingly.
December 9, 2012
Making my way to St. Paul’s entrance for eleven o’clock Mass, I spotted Olivia, who waved knowing I’d walk over to talk.
“Hi, Olivia!” I said, hugging her close without squeezing the life out of her. “It’s so good to see you!”
“I saw Steve and asked if you’d be attending Mass. He said ‘yes,’ so I’ve been waiting for you. We attended Mass earlier, so I’m not staying for the men’s ACTS Mass or for lunch afterwards. George and I are headed to the gym, but I wanted to talk to you real fast before leaving. I had my doctor’s appointment on November 29, and got great results! I’m still cancer free!”
“That’s great news, Olivia! I’m so happy for you!” I enthused, as I reached into my tote for both my pen and my pad.
“But I have a favor to ask of you,” Olivia continued. “Please pray for George. He’s going in for an epidural on Monday morning at 8:15. He’s got back problems, so the shot will help with the pain.”
“How long will the effects last?” I asked.
“It should help him for months, but the last shot lasted eighteen years.”
“Wow. That’s a long time.”
“Yes. We’re hoping it’ll last as long this time, too.”
“Alright,” I said, jotting everything down. “I’ll be sure to add you and George to the church blog’s ‘Petitions’ and ‘Praise’ pages, and I’ll keep y’all in my thoughts and prayers as always. Take care of yourselves, okay?”
“It’s really good seeing you,” Olivia said, hugging me goodbye.
“God bless you, Olivia. Give George a big hug for me.”
November 9, 2015
“For even now miracles are wrought in the name of Christ, whether by his sacraments or by the prayers or relics of his saints” (St. Augustine).
Links of interest… Five creative ways to pray for others… Franciscan Mission Associates: daily prayer / prayer requests… Miracle hunter: Miracles & evangelization… Relics… St. Peregrine: about / articles (prayer cards) / “cancer saint” / chaplet / feast / friends / healing power / intercessor & friend / May 1st / novena (more) / prayers (requests) / shrine… Stella Maris: anniversary / facebook / history (more) / Lamar, TX (more) / marker…
WP posts… Delightful visit… Father’s roses… Heart’s desire… Healing service… Holy relics… Mary’s miraculous medal… Mary’s seven joys… Memorable as ever… My Franciscan Crown… Prayers and blessings… Saintly connections… Si quaeris miracula… St. Anthony chaplets… St. Peregrine relic… Stella Maris… Stella Maris moments