Father’s roses


Last year Steven and I drove to Goose Island for Palm Sunday Mass at Stella Maris, and Father Ralph was overjoyed to see us.

“I was hoping you two would show up!  I’ve got great news!  Follow me so we can talk,” Father said, leading us to the slightly bigger than standing room only space behind the altar.

Miracle shared

Without being asked Joe, attentive sacristan and devoted friend, opened a folding chair for Father to sit as he shared his latest stories with us.

“I’m healed!” Father gushed and then proceeded to fill in all the glorious details as Steven bent down to listen and I looked up intently, almost breathlessly, from where I sat on the old wood floor.

We couldn’t get enough!  After all the trips to M.D. Anderson and more, Father Ralph’s news was the answer to our collective prayers.  We were so grateful for Father’s reprieve from his medical roller coaster ride that we couldn’t stop smiling.  Again and again we thanked and praised God for his merciful kindness.

Faith revisited

Father Ralph was on fire.  He was  a walking-talking miracle whose homily, in part, focused on a familiar story from the Bible.

Or take the woman who had obviously heard Jesus preach.  She might even have seen some of the miracles.  She’d gone to doctors for twelve years.  She had a hemorrhage.  Only women can appreciate the misery of all that, day in and day out.  No cure.  And she’d spent all her money.

’If I could just touch the hem of his garment,’ she thought, ‘I would be healed.’

That’s a position of faith, isn’t it?  She wanted a point of contact, so she could release her faith.  And the power of God would come flowing through her body.

Did she find it easy to get to Jesus?  Oh, it was easy to see him.  ‘Yes, there he is over there.  Uh-huh.  I see the prayer shawl.  Oh, my goodness.  There are so many people around him!’

She didn’t let the press interfere with the possibility of cure.  She didn’t let the devil talk her out of it.  She pushed and shoved— did whatever she had to do— until, finally, she got behind him.  She touched his garment, the hem of his prayer shawl.

Jewish men wear the tallit in Israel to this day when they pray at the Wailing Wall.  I’ve been there.  I’ve seen it.  I have one that I use.  At the base of it are all these tassels that represent the Commandments of God, the promises of God.

What the woman was thinking was, ‘If I touch the one that keeps all the Commandments and if I touch the one for healing, I will be made whole.’

The woman released her faith when she touched it, and Jesus said, ‘Virtue has come out.  Who has touched me?’

’I did,’ the woman replied.

’Your faith has made you whole,’ Jesus told her.

So it’s always an impediment to get to Jesus, isn’t it?  Sometimes it’s our own doubt.  Most of the time, it’s the devil.

‘Oh, but you don’t deserve to have a miracle.  Remember what you did when you were a young man?  Or a young woman?  Just forget that, and just keep going.  You can’t change, and God can’t forgive you.  You’ll never have a miracle.’

Oh, my goodness.  The devil is the father of lies, isn’t he?

Although Father’s homily wasn’t perfectly geared for Palm Sunday, it certainly touched on the faith— the “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1)— that Jesus embodies for us to witness during Holy Week.

Lesson gleaned

Through Father Ralph God refreshed us with yet another of his extraordinary lessons.  Believing requires stoutheartedness, courage, and patience.  Believing is trusting that God knows best.  “Your will be done,” not mine (Matthew 26:42).

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Father’s roses

After Mass Father Ralph insisted that Steven and I accompany him to the back yard.  With scissors in hand he snipped at his prized rosebush; created a lovely, fragrant, lavender-pink cluster; and jubilantly presented me with the unexpected bouquet.

Thoughtful?  Yes.  Then again, healthy or unwell, that’s Father Ralph.

On the drive home, in the days that followed, and especially now that Father Ralph’s health has waned again, his roses are more than just a sweet remembrance of our time at Stella Maris; they’re an enduring recollection of God’s loving mercy celebrated on Palm Sunday a year ago.

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March 18, 2016

I struggled with [the devil] in my imprisonment.  At one moment I thought I was victorious; the next day I was defeated.  This cruel and stubborn fight lasted five years.  Then God gave me the grace to triumph over my enemy (St. Augustine).

March 20, 2016

“The Mass is long,” you say; [to which] I add, “because your love is short”  (St. Josemaría Escrivá).

March 24, 2017

We are not to be without pain.  Pain is Jesus suffering in us, but we are to look to him for strength and courage.  We are to learn this ability to shoulder our cross by gazing at him and being gentle and humble in heart (Mother Angelica on Suffering and Burnout).



Father Ralph’s homilies: 10 Oct 2010 / 22 Jan 2012 / 16 Sept 2012

Links of interest…  Christ’s way of the cross…  Do you want to be well…  Fr. Ralph: service to God & country / story of healing (3.13.15)…  How to overcome worry by trusting in God’s providence…  Pope laments “defeated Christians” who do not fully trust in God…  Saints: novenas (969)…  St. Peregrine: about / articles (prayer card) / “cancer saint”chaplet / feast / friends of / healing power / May 1stchapletfeastfriends ofhealing powernovena / prayers  (requests) / shrine…  Stella Maris: anniversaryfacebookhistory (more) / Lamar, TX / marker…  Trusting in God completely / in uncertain times…  Would you have touched Jesus’ cloak

WP posts…  Delightful visit…  Healing service…  Holy relics…  Memorable as ever…  Powerful intercessor…  Prayers and blessings…  Saintly connections…  St. Peregrine relic…  Stella Maris…  Stella Maris moments

Delightful visit


Visiting Stella Maris is a treat.  Father Ralph is such a joy that I long to sit and talk with him for hours on end.  God bless him and keep him healthy!  He needs our prayers!

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Father Ralph, eager as ever to promote St. Peregrine, gave us two booklets— prayers below are from pages 20-21— and two sets of cards.  “I had the big one specially made!” he beamed.  Father’s generous to a fault.  He knows I share, too!

For healing…  God of goodness and mercy, I praise and thank you for the many blessings I have received through your generous love.  Grant me the grace to be attentive to all you are asking of me at this time in my life and to respond with courage and faith in your compassionate love for me.  Let me spend my life doing good and avoiding all that is not in accord with your will for me.

Trusting in your goodness and with confidence in your power to heal I humbly ask, through the intercession of St. Peregrine, for this grace (mention your request).  May all nations come to know the power of your love and the unfailing gift of your mercy so that one day we may glorify you with all the saints in heaven.  Amen.

For someone with cancer…  Almighty and eternal God, healer of those who trust in you, through the intercession of St. Peregrine, hear my prayer for (name).  In your tender mercy restore her/him to bodily health that she/he may give you thanks, praise your name, and proclaim your wondrous love to all.  I ask this through Christ your son, our Lord.  Amen.

For the family of a cancer patient…  Compassionate and loving God, among your many gifts one most cherished is the love of family.  I ask now that you be particularly mindful of ___’s family.  Hold each of them in your loving hands and care for them.  Give them courage and patience, hope and optimism; relieve their fears and anxieties.  During this difficult time let your love sustain them and their love for one another be a support and consolation.  Amen.

St. Peregrine, pray for them.

Praise and thanksgiving…  Lord Jesus, I praise, glorify, and bless you for all the graces and privileges you have bestowed upon your chosen servant and pastor of souls, St. Peregrine.  By his merits grant me your grace, and through his intercession help me in all my needs.  At the hour of my death be with me until that time when I can join the saints in heaven to praise you forever and ever.  Amen.

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Father Ralph’s homilies: 10 Oct 2010 / 22 Jan 2012 / 16 Sept 2012

Links of interest…  Gratitude…  St. Peregrine: about / articles (prayer card) / “cancer saint” / chaplet / feast / friends of / healing power / May 1stchaplet / feast / friends of / healing power / May 1st / novena / prayers  (requests) / shrine…  Stella Maris: anniversary / facebook / history (more) / Lamar, TX / marker

WP posts…  Call of service…  Healing service…  Holy relics…  Memorable as ever…  Powerful intercessor…  Prayers and blessings…  Promise of hope…  Saintly connections…  St. Peregrine relic…  Stella Maris…  Stella Maris moments

Healing service

SMC91512-9September 15, 2012, Steven and I returned to Stella Maris, so I could hold Father Ralph’s first-class relic to pray for Lina the way I’d done for Olivia in January.

We smiled on finding Father Ralph in his outdoor confessional and walked over to where he sat between two trees to exchange stories as usual.

“Father Ralph, a friend of ours in Brownsville is battling cancer; so we’re here to pray for her,” I said.

“Let’s wait till after Mass.  We’ll take care of it then,” Father said reassuringly before leaving the picnic table to welcome newcomers.


After Mass, Father Ralph stepped outside the tiny church to bless and encourage those departing for home.  Yet more than half the pews were filled with those of us anticipating something.  But what?

I distracted myself by taking photos as I listened for a cue to start my audio recorder.

What followed was simply amazing: Father Ralph held an impromptu healing service that lasted almost an hour and twenty minutes.  Wow!

Father Ralph’s intro

“I see that you all stayed for another church service,” Father quipped on his return.  “What if this old man couldn’t make it?”

Everyone laughed.

Jesus, healer of the sick

“I was glad when I heard you say, ‘Let us come into the house of the Lord.’

“Yes.  We’re always glad to come into your house.  You are our Father. Just like a little kid returning home after school, eager to see what mother would give us— a cookie, a glass of milk, that popsicle, or something nice— or, if we got hurt along the way, to wipe our tears, tend to our owies, and make everything well.

“Yeah, we are your children.  We come as children, expecting your acceptance, your love, your help, and your mercy.

“We truly love you, Jesus; and we remember several things you said on the shores of Galilee.  As you said it along those shores, ears pricked up.  Faith developed the minds.  Hearts were moved.  Lives were changed, and miracle after miracle happened.

“Jesus said on one occasion, ‘Be it done unto you according to your faith’ [Mt. 9:29].  And the Bible says, ‘Faith comes by hearing and hearing, by the word of the Lord’ [Rom. 10:17].  The more I know the Word of Jesus, the more I have within me.  I have the mind of Christ.  I have the anointing of Christ.  ‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me” [Phil. 4:13].  And to encourage us also, he said, ‘I am the God that heals you.  I will take sickness out of the midst of you’ [Ps. 91:15-16].

“Oh, yeah?  Yeah.  That’s what he promised.

“H??????????e has two delivery systems, doesn’t he?  One is natural, such as doctors, chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, herbology….  The list goes on.

“There are all kinds of natural therapeutics.  Who’s the author of all that?

“Not the devil, who comes to kill, steal, and destroy, never to make you well again.”

Jesus, miracle worker

“Jesus heals supernaturally, sovereignly, and miraculously.  He still does it today contrary to the belief of some of our separated brethren that preach and believe that the miracle ceased when the last apostle died.  How sad.  I’ve even read their King James Bible.  I’d like to take them into it.  I have one.  I know what it says.  It says he’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.  That’s right.  If he worked miracles then, he can still do it today.

“The Bible says these signs will follow those who believe.  I believe!  They would pray with the sick, and people would be healed.

“As they heard these things, they developed faith.  They came with him and to him and received miracle after miracle of every possible kind.  The blind saw, the deaf heard, lepers were healed, demons were taken away.  As people heard and saw these miracles, their faith grew; and they got faith also for their loved ones who weren’t there.”

Jesus and the paraplegic

“Then we have the story of the young people.  Oh, my goodness.  I thought young people are always in trouble.  No, they’re not.

“These young people had heard about Jesus, and they went and got their friend who was a paraplegic— hopeless, hopeless, hopeless— lying on his back and not able to do anything.  Their faith was enough to convince him to allow them to take him to Jesus; but, when they got there, did they get a front seat and everything went fine?  Oh, no!  There was no room in the place, the Bible says, or outside the house either.  There were too many people there.

“The devil always sets problems in front of you, so you can’t get to the Lord.  You can’t go to that service.  The car has a flat.  Whatever.  That’s how he operates, or doubt begins to work in your mind.  Why are you going to some stupid service?  What makes you think God will heal you with your past?  See?  That’s the devil, isn’t it?  That’s our friend sometimes interfering in our lives.

“Anyway, so they went; and they didn’t let that difficulty deter them.  They probably prayed very hard.  Then they got the idea: Remove part of the roof.

“I’ve been there to Israel.  I’ve been to what they think is a house.  It was a frame with palm branches on the top.  That was the roof.  Give me a break!  It was easy to remove, so they put their friend up and lowered him down in the presence of Jesus and all the doubters, skeptics, disbelievers, and a few that really wanted help.

“What happened?

“‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ Jesus told him.

“Religious scholars sitting there thought differently.  ‘He can’t talk that way!  That’s blasphemy!  Only God can forgive sins.’

“But Jesus said, ‘So that you can believe that the son of God has the power to forgive sins, pick up your mat, walk, and go home.’

“And that’s exactly what he did.  The miracle was there.”

Peter’s first miracle

??????????The miracles did not cease when Jesus went to heaven.  Peter was the first to perform a healing miracle, wasn’t he?  The Bible says that, even if his shadow touched you, you’d be healed.

“A beggar wanted gold, silver, food.  He couldn’t work.  He couldn’t move.  He was paralyzed there on the sidewalk.

“Peter said, ‘Silver and gold I have not, but what I do have I give unto you.  Take up your mat!  Walk!  And go home.’

“That’s exactly what he did, and the miracles have lasted even to this day.”

More miracles

“Now I’m going to tell you about a few miracles that I know about.  I didn’t heal these individuals.  If I could perform miracles, I would’ve healed my own cancer, don’t you think?

“I think so, Father.  You would have,” Father Ralph answered himself.

“I was healed by other methods.  Prayers and natural medicine healed me in combination.  I’m now cancer-free.  Praise God!”

The little girl

“I’ll tell you about the most recent miracle.

“Two weeks ago in this very chapel, right here kneeling was a little Hispanic girl, four-and-a-half years of age.  Her diagnosis, confirmed by medical science, was a tumor of the brain.  She had an appointment at M. D. Anderson for doctors to further evaluate her and figure out what they could and couldn’t do with this horrible thing that was upon that cute little girl.

“She was with her mother and her grandmother.  They came all this way, about three hundred miles up here.

“I administered the sacrament of the sick, which is healing itself.  The Church has it.  It’s in the Book of James.  I blessed her with St. Peregrine’s relic— first-class part of his body— and his oil, and I prayed over her.

“We were about ready to dismiss when something checked me.

Go to the tabernacle.  Take me out of the tabernacle.  Bring me to her.  Let me bless her.

“And so I took the monstrance.  I’ve done this with groups of people.  I did it at the charismatic renewal at Most Precious Blood Church.  Everyone was blessed by Jesus, so, okay, fine.

“I blessed this little girl.  Rather, I let Jesus bless this little girl.  I made the cross over her and put him back.  Then, goodbye.  The little girl left.

“The next day, which was Thursday— that was a week ago this Thursday— she had an eight o’clock appointment at M. D. Anderson.  I came here to the chapel to say Mass at seven; and the few who were here prayed for her, too.  We joined our prayer together; and, about two o’clock in the afternoon, the grandmother called me from the car.

“She was in orbit.

“‘Father!  When the doctors examined her, there was no tumor at all!  There was just scar tissue where the tumor had been!’

“The doctors said, ‘We have no explanation for this.’

“And she said, ‘We do.  Several have been praying for this little girl.’”

Prayer handkerchiefs

“Let’s go back and see.

“I gave out prayer handkerchiefs.  They’re from the Bible, the Acts of the Apostles [19:12].  Not everyone could get to St. Paul, and he couldn’t get to everybody either.  That was impossible, so he blessed the prayer handkerchiefs and sent them to people.

StP91512-1“There was no magic in those handkerchiefs that I gave out.  They can’t heal anyone.  They’re good for blowing your nose maybe, but that’s it.  Still, that’s all I could do; but they were a point of contact for releasing faith.  The practice was started by a holy man of God, a saint.

“Just like the woman who said, ‘If I touch the garment, I will be healed,’ I know of two miracles that have happened from handkerchiefs that have left this chapel.”

Family healing

“One was a marine general who was bitten by a viper.  They’re deadly, more deadly than a rattlesnake.  He not only lived to get treatment, but he didn’t die and had no swelling.  His wife was pregnant with twins, but they were going to lose one or both of them.  The handkerchief was put on her stomach, and both twins are healthy and the cutest little kids you’d ever want to see.  They’re eighteen months old.”

Remembering to give thanks

“People come from the Rio Grande Valley on little pilgrimages.  They have simple, direct, and loving faith.  I have a lot to copy from them.  A few weeks ago three women returned.  They had a young couple with them that had a baby, cute little kid.

“After seven o’clock Mass, we had an hour of Adoration.  Then I had a healing service for them and gave them the whole meal deal.  They were ready to leave; but during my talk, I said, ‘You know what’s sad?  Jesus healed ten lepers.  Only one was thankful.  Only one came back to thank him and acknowledge what he did.  Yet, all were healed.  I find that in my priesthood.  The majority of those healed never calls to let me know, but enough do that I know God is healing them.  It’s not my imagination.  It really is true.’

“Oh, I’ve met people going out the door at HEB on Leopard Street who ask, ‘Father, do you remember me?’

“Of course, I don’t,” Father Ralph whispered to us teasingly.

“’You prayed for my husband,’ the woman said.  ‘Do you remember?  He had lung cancer’— or whatever it was— ‘but he’s well now.’

“Or, I was at Fruit King.  I used to go there every Saturday to buy things for our college.  This woman kept looking at me.  Finally, she said, ‘I know who you are.  You’re Father Ralph.  You prayed for my nephew who had cancer.  He’s totally healed.’”

The man’s tonsillectomy

“So the three women and the couple with the baby were ready to leave, and one of the women came back to talk to me.

“’I was here before I had a prayer handkerchief, so a friend lent it to me.  My husband had a tonsillectomy.’

“Now, most people in their ignorance think that’s a simple operation— it is— but don’t realize people die from that every year.  They bleed to death in their sleep or in their crib like a little baby, and they’re gone.

“So the woman’s husband got home from the tonsillectomy, and everything was fine for about four or five hours.  I don’t know what the time was.  Then he coughed up some blood, and blood began to flow from his mouth.  He was hemorrhaging to death.

“The woman started praying, believing in Jesus; but nothing happened.  She called 911 and was desperately waiting for the ambulance to arrive when she remembered the handkerchief.

“I don’t know why she placed it on the back of the man’s neck, but that’s where she put it.  She said, ‘Father, the bleeding instantly dried.  Then I thought, I don’t need the paramedics after all; but they were already there.’

“She told the paramedics what’d happened; and they said, ‘To be safe, we’d better take him to the ER and have the doctor check him.’

“As soon as they got to the hospital, the man started bleeding again.  Do you see the miracle?  The prayer handkerchief stopped the bleeding till God got him to the medical solution he had waiting for him.”

Grandfather’s concern

“There was a couple who came here.  We have many visitors.  They were grandparents from Victoria.  After Mass they told me, ‘We’ll come back another day.’

“Oh, okay.  That’s good.  You’re always welcome.’

“About a week later, the man called me.  ‘Father, we have a problem.’

“’What is it?’

“’We have a grandson who can’t walk.  He’s twenty-one months old, and doctors don’t know why he can’t walk.’

“I said, ‘Hold the phone with one hand, bend down, and touch your ankles.  Let us pray.  ‘Pray one for another that you might be healed.  Affected with fervent prayer, the righteous availeth much.’  And he did!

“Several weeks later the grandfather called me.  He was in orbit also.  ’Hello, Father.  Do you remember me?’”

“’Yeah, yeah, yeah.’

“’I was at a family gathering, and Little Cooper was there running all over the place.  No one could catch him,’ the grandfather said.

More stories

“I’ll tell you a couple more stories.  I’m not going to keep you long, but do you see what I’m doing?  I’m quoting the word of God.  I’m showing you how Jesus uses the word of God.  He is the word of God.

“People said they didn’t believe until they got healed.  Now I’m telling you about real cases I’ve interacted with, not that I could heal a flea.  I can’t, but that convinces me even more about the reality of God.  Jesus still heals, and Grandpa Doug isn’t so old and senile that he can’t remember or help any of us.”

Father Ralph was momentarily pensive.  “Well, let’s see.  I have so many stories.”

The man and the little boy

“In my memory bank, this one is still a miracle to me,” Father said emotionally.  “I’ll never forget this one.

“A Hispanic man came to our chapel in the interest of weeds that he called grass.  It was no more grass than seaweed.  Anyway, he wanted to volunteer to work for us day and night; so he did a lot of yard work and landscaping in the process.

“One day he came with a statue of the Child Jesus, a beautiful, expensive thing.  I didn’t want to accept it; but I know that if you don’t accept from the Spanish, you offend them.  I learned that the hard way, so I accepted the statue.

“The man told me he had a lot of devotion to the Child Jesus; and, because he did, all year long he collected toys, clothes, candy— anything of value— for kids.  He usually got enough to rent a huge U-Haul van and pack it full.  This little Hispanic man with a big heart would go all the way to Laredo, TX; and there, about a week before Christmas, he’d give it all away to all the kids.

“Well, one day he quit.  I was sorry to see him go, but he’d done a marvelous job while he was working with us.

“Several months went by.  I’d finished noon Mass at the big adoration chapel in Corpus when I saw the man with his wife on one side and his son on the other.  He could no longer walk without help.  He could not talk any longer.  He could not swallow anymore.  He had a hole in his stomach through which he was fed.  He’d come prepared.  I gave him the Sacrament of the Sick, prayed over him with St. Peregrine’s oil— the whole meal deal.

“The man started coming to the Monday night novenas to St. Peregrine.  After about two months, I noticed that he didn’t need anyone to help him walk.  That’s all I saw.

“Then he started coming every Sunday evening.  As I was praying over people, he came up, too.  I raised my hands to him like this,” Father Ralph said, extending his hands to show us.  “I don’t touch people.  I want God’s grace to touch them, his power to touch them.  Then this came out of my mouth: ‘The day will come, mijo.  You’ll eat tacos and burritos again.’

“From my own mouth!” Father Ralph chuckled.  Then, after I said it, I thought, If that’s not God, you’re in deep doo-doo, Father.  Get ready.

“So the man kept coming.  Then one Sunday he was way back in the chapel, so I thought, Did I give him false hope or what?  Was that God or was that you, Father, in your wishful thinking?  I honestly did not know, so I continued praying over people.

“The woman in the front pew looked like my mother to me.  Maybe she was.  She looked that old, and she had this little boy with her who was about seven years of age.  She interrupted me, ‘Father!  Father!’


“’This boy likes to pray for the sick.’

“In my mind— I hate to have to confess this— I looked at the boy and thought, You’re the priest.  You’re the child.  You’re ordained.  You’re not.

All these prideful, egotistical thoughts ran through my head, and then God checked me.  ‘That man has a devotion to me as a child.  That man sacrifices for kids every year.  Maybe I’ll use this little boy to give him his miracle.’

“I thought, This little kid, what can he do?  But I’ll ask him anyway.  I’ll satisfy his mother.  So I asked the boy, ‘Son, would you like to pray for someone?’

“’Yeah!’ he said, whipped up like he was a professional.

“Oh, my goodness!  He followed me all the way to the back of the chapel to where this Hispanic man was kneeling.  I didn’t tell him anything, so the boy knew nothing about that man.  He put his hands on his head.  Remember, he’d had a stroke.  It hits the brain with the nervous system going down.  Then he put his hands to the man’s throat— remember, he couldn’t swallow or speak— then to the man’s stomach.

“As the child was doing this, I was going, Oh, Holy Spirit!  Hallelujah!  Praise the Lord!  You’re really moving through this little kid!

“The man got his miracle.”

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Prayer from Favorite Patron Saints (The Leaflet Missal Company, n. d., p. 25)

Dearest Mother Mary, Mother of Sorrows, behold me, your child, in prayer at your feet.  I have come to plead for this special favor through the intercession of your faithful servant, St. Peregrine…

Sorrowful Mother, I beg you to present my petition to your divine son.  If you will pray for me, I cannot be refused.  I know, dearest Mother, that you want me to seek God’s will in all things.  Therefore, with childlike trust, I abandon myself to God’s holy will concerning my request.  If what I ask… should not be granted, pray that I may receive that which will be of greater benefit to my soul.

Sweet Mother of Sorrows, I love you!  I put all my confidence in you because your prayers before God are most powerful.  For the greater glory of God and for the sake of Jesus through the intercession of St. Peregrine whom you have led to sainthood, hear and grant my prayer.  Amen.

For healing…  O God, who created beings both visible and invisible, we praise you for the service and protection of your angels.  Through the intercession of your archangel, Raphael, guide us on our journey and guard us on our way.  We pray for your merciful cure upon those most in need of the care of your angel, Raphael; and we implore your healing from all our afflictions in body, mind, and spirit.  May we rejoice with all your angels and saints as we praise your glory forever.  Amen (Stephen J. Binz in Saint Junipero Serra’s Camino: A Pilgrimage Guide to the California Missions).

Father Ralph’s homilies: 10 Oct 2010 / 22 Jan 2012 / 16 Sept 2012

Links of interest…  Do you really want to be healed…  Intercessory prayer…  Miracle prayer (Fr. Peter Mary Rookey)…  Pray with Fr. Bob (audio novena)…  Saints: novenas (969)…  St. Peregrine: about / articles (prayer card) / “cancer saint” / chaplet / feast / friends of / healing power / May 1st / chapletfeast / friends of / healing power / May 1st / novena / prayers  (requests) / shrine…  Stella Maris: anniversaryfacebook / history (more) / Lamar, TX / marker

WP posts…  Bearing one’s crosses…  Capuchin church stations…  Finding St. Rita…  God’s master plan…  Holy relics…  Memorable as ever…  Mercy and justice…  Powerful intercessor…  Prayers and blessings…  Saintly connections…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  St. Bonaventure Church…  St. Felix…  St. Jude Shrine…  St. Peregrine relic…  Revisiting St. Simon…  Stella Maris…  Stella Maris moments…  Today’s Beatitudes

Memorable as ever

On September 15, 2012, Steven and I returned to Stella Maris and delighted in finding Father Ralph peacefully seated under a tree.

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“Hello!  How are you?” I chirped.

“How are you?” Father asked.

“I’m just fine, looking forward to seeing you again.”

“Praise God!  It’s been a while.”

“Olivia called me on August 30, to let me know she’s healthier than ever.  She’s exercising an hour and a half every day.  She’s the one who had the colon cancer surgery on January 23.  Remember?  We came here, and we told you.  She’s doing just fine.  Praise God!”

“Oh, how wonderful!  Well, he hasn’t retired, and he hasn’t become senile yet.  He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Transformational experience

“We brought you this.  We were in Detroit.”

“Oh, yes.  Solanus Casey,” Father Ralph said as he examined the baggie’s contents and saw Father Casey’s relic badge and the prayer leaflet.

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“Yes.  Have you been there?” I asked excitedly.

“I did my master’s there.  He died the year I got there.  July or June, 1957.”

“Oh, this is priceless!  We were there April 28, and he was transformed,” I said, referring to Steven.


“I walked into the chapel,” Steven began, “and there was no doubt in my mind that I was on holy ground.  Something very special happened.”

“Praise the Lord!  You want to hear about the latest miracle?” Father asked enticingly.

“Yes!  Yes!  Oh, and please, please, please, I need to pray for somebody.”

“We’ll do it after Mass.  We will,” Father assured me.

Another miracle

“There was a lady who called from the Valley,” Father Ralph continued.  “We’ve been getting a lot of visitors from the Valley, way down there where Our Lady of San Juan is, at the basilica and around that area.”

“A lot of people have been checking out my blog posts on you and this church,” I told Father.  “The first time we were here, I recorded your homily, typed it, and added it to my post.  You talked about fourteen miracles.”

“Praise God!  They’re still coming.  This one will blow your mind.  A week ago this Wednesday.  Well, first of all, a lady called me from the Valley about three weeks before that.  She said her daughter had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.  She had an appointment at M. D. Anderson to determine what they were going to do.  What could they do?  I prayed over the phone for the child.  I always stress that there’s no distance in prayer.  God is the healer, and so I quote the Word.

“Last Wednesday she came— the mother, the grandmother, and this very cute little girl.  She’s about four-and-a-half, very shy, very timid.  I annointed her with the sacrament of the sick.  I blessed her with St. Peregrine’s oil and first-class relic and prayed over her.  Then, just before they left, I was led to do something I’d never done.  I’d done it on a group basis but never one-on-one like that.

“I took Jesus out of the tabernacle and blessed her with the monstance.  Rather, I held it while Jesus blessed her.  They proceeded to the hospital in Houston.  She had an appointment at eight o’clock the next morning.

“We remembered her during seven o’clock Mass; and people here prayed for her, too.

“About two o’clock in the afternoon, the grandmother called me.  They were in orbit!  They were on their way back home to McAllen.  She said, ‘Father, when they got in there and rechecked her with their tests, there was no tumor whatsoever, just a little scar tissue where it had been.  The doctor said, ‘I have no explanation for this medically.’  And the grandmother said, ‘We do.  Several have been praying for this little girl.'”

“Praise God!” I interjected.

Blessed handkerchiefs

StP91512-3Father Ralph continued.

“About two months ago I gave out some blessed handkerchiefs, like St. Paul did, to some of the pilgrims who came here.  Anyway, I did my thing; and they left.

“A couple of weeks later, three who’d been here came back.  They had a couple with them, a young couple with a little baby.  They came to the seven o’clock Mass and stayed for Adoration.

“I did a miracle service for them during which I said, ‘You know, it’s sad.  Ten lepers were healed by Jesus, and only one came back and acknowledged and thanked him.  I’m not the healer; but I find that in the priesthood.  Very few, if any, ever acknowledge that they got help.  Yet, you get enough that you know God is alive and still doing it.’

“I run across people in odd places.  I have at the door of HEB, at Fruit King.”

I laughed heartily.

“I’m serious.  At different places.  ‘Oh, Father, Father, do you remember?’

“Anyway, one of the three women remembered.  She told me, ‘Father, someone lent me the handkerchief you gave her.  My husband had a tonsillectomy.  He came home, and everything was fine.  Several hours later, he coughed up a little blood… and then a little bit more blood… and then more blood.’  She said, ‘He was hemorrhaging.  I prayed for him.  Nothing happened.  I called 9-1-1, and then I remembered the handkerchief I’d borrowed.   I put it on the back of his neck.’

“Now why she put it there I don’t know.  She said, ‘The bleeding stopped instantly.  Then I thought, Why did I call 9-1-1 anyway?  I don’t think I need them at all.’

“By that time it was too late.  The paramedics were already there; so they went in, saw what was going on, and said, ‘For safety sake, we’d better go by the ER with him.’

“As soon as they got there, the man started hemorrhaging again.  The handkerchief had stopped the bleeding until they could get him to competent hands!  That was the miracle.

“Then I gave a healing service in George West, TX.  They have a church up there called St. George.  They wanted a devotion to St. Peregrine, and I knew there’d be a powerful move of God because they had a statue of St. Peregrine in the church.  It looked quite large, but I guess it was resin.  It looked heavy; but it wasn’t at all, so the priest moved it near the side of the altar.

“The people came forward for anointing and so forth, and a couple of them had pictures of those who couldn’t be there.  I just vaguely remember this.  One of them was an infant who had cancer.  There was no chemo they could use and no radiation, or it would kill her.  She was just a little kid, and so they got their miracle.  The cancer totally disappeared.  St. Peregrine is very powerful.”

“Yes, he is!” I agreed, recalling Olivia’s healing miracle.

Memorable as ever

Just then Father Ralph spotted a familiar face.

“Hey!  Hi there.  Welcome to church!  You’d better be careful.  You’re going to be addicted!” he teased as the woman approached.

“I know!  How was your trip?” the woman asked joyfully.

“It was wonderful.”

“Father, this is my son, Josh.  He’s down from San Antonio.”

“How wonderful!”

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Steven and I took that as our cue to give others the opportunity to visit with Father Ralph before Mass.

I wondered what he had in store for us, but I was sure it’d be as memorable as ever.

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O God, you gave St. Peregrine an angel for his companion, the Mother of God for his teacher, and Jesus as physician of his malady.  We ask, through his merits, that we may intensely love and forever bless our holy angel, the blessed Virgin Mary, and our Savior.  Grant that we may receive the favor for which we now petition.  We ask this through Christ, our lord.  Amen.

Pray seven Our Father’s, seven Hail Mary’s, and seven Glory be’s.  Close with “St. Peregrine, pray for us.”


Father Ralph’s homilies: 10 Oct 2010 / 22 Jan 2012 / 16 Sept 2012

Links of interest…  Franciscan Mission Associates…  Prayer: intercessoryMiracle prayer (Fr. Peter Mary Rookey)…  Novenas (969)…  Pray with Fr. Bob (audio novena)…  St. Peregrine: about / articles (prayer card) / “cancer saint” / chaplet / feast / friends of / healing powerMay 1st / novena / prayers (requests) / shrine…  Stella Maris: anniversaryfacebookhistory (more) / Lamar, TX / marker

WP posts…  Capuchin church stations…  God’s master plan…  Healing service…  Holy relics…  Mercy and justice…  Powerful intercessor…  Prayers and blessings…  Saintly connections…  Saturday evening Mass…  Sensory overload…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  St. Bonaventure Church…  St. Felix…  St. Peregrine relic…  Stella Maris…  Today’s Beatitudes

Saintly connections

Pain can wreak havoc on one’s mind, just as one’s internal processes can affect the body externally.  The body’s systems are interconnected, interdependent: When one system is out of synch, the entire body suffers.

St. Peregrine relic

St. Peregrine relic

As a result, we tend to seek help from friends, relatives, medical practitioners, and others who can provide healing through treatment, home remedies, advice, consolation, and encouragement.

Time and again, too, we ask God’s help and call not only on the Blessed Mother, but also on our saints for their steadfast intercessions.

Peregrine and Dymphna

Over the years, I’ve noticed that prayers for St. Peregrine and
St. Dymphna always arrive together from Franciscan Mission Associates (FMA).

St. Peregrine intercedes on behalf of those suffering from foot ailments, cancer, and other dread diseases.  “He’s also good with wayward teens,” Father Ralph told me.  And St. Dymphna assists those with mental and nervous disorders.

But what’s their connection?

Time of need

I first heard about St. Peregrine’s powerful intercession from Father Ralph during our first visit to Stella Maris, October, 2010.  Yet, I hadn’t felt compelled to call on
St. Peregrine until my friend, Olivia, needed a healing miracle January of this year.

But why didn’t I call on him before?

I find this rather odd, considering that other friends have been in need of St. Peregrine’s prayers as well.

Olivia’s story

December 7, 2011, Steven and I arrived at St. Paul’s for the Immaculate Conception vigil Mass.  Our good friend, Sam, had thoughtfully asked that mom’s name be added to the Mass intentions that evening since mom had died the week before.

Stepping into the church foyer Olivia’s eyes met mine, so I quickly walked over to embrace her.  We hadn’t seen each other in some time, so we talked for a few minutes.

Calmly, quietly, Olivia told me about her visit to the doctor that day.  She was concerned about her health, but she was worried about her husband: George wasn’t coping well with the diagnosis.

Listening, I felt compelled to do something beyond the usual.  Only I didn’t know what.  “I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers in a very special way,” I told her.

We exchanged addresses and telephone numbers.

“Call me,” I insisted.  “I want to know what’s going on with you.  I’ll be at the hospital to keep George company the day of your surgery.”

Saintly connections

Thinking about Olivia’s story, I’m in awe of her healing miracle.  I haven’t stopped singing St. Peregrine’s praises since January 23, 2012!

This is why I was glad to receive St. Peregrine’s novena leaflet from FMA last week.  Only St. Dymphna’s prayer card was in the letter, too.

How can I share one saint’s prayers and not the other’s?  Why are the prayers for
St. Peregrine always accompanied by
St. Dymphna’s?  Are their memorials celebrated the same day?

I searched online and found that St. Peregrine’s special day is May 1; St. Dymphna’s, May 15.

This must be why the novena Masses and prayers are announced early in April.  FMA mails its prayer cards and leaflets on a monthly basis, so keeping these two saints together makes perfect sense.  But why else might they be paired together?

I spent most of the day pondering this— way, way too much time— until I came up with a theory that made perfect sense to me, even if it wasn’t FMA’s intent.

Saints Dymphna and Peregrine complement each other for total effect.  Together, they implore God’s intercession for our healing in toto, mind, body, heart, and soul.


FMA-H9RaFor healing…  Lord, our God, you graciously chose St. Dymphna as patroness of those afflicted with mental and nervous disorders.  She is thus an inspiration and a symbol of charity to the thousands who ask her intercession.

Please grant, Lord, through the prayers of this pure youthful martyr, relief and consolation to all suffering such trials, especially those for whom we pray.  (State your petitions.)

We beg you, Lord, to hear the prayers of St. Dymphna on our behalf.  Grant to all for whom we pray patience in their sufferings and resignation to your divine will.  Please fill them with hope and grant them the relief and cure they so much desire.

We ask this through Christ our Lord who suffered agony in the garden.  Amen.

For sick relatives and friends…  We honor you, St. Peregrine, as a mighty wonder worker because of the miracles obtained through your intercession for persons who had recourse to your kind and powerful prayers.  For many years you were afflicted with the same cancerous disease from which thousands now suffer.  When the power of man could do no more, you were favored with a vision of Jesus leaning down, touching, and healing you from the cross.

Trusting in your compassion and readiness to help, we request your prayerful support for our sick relatives and friends.  (State your intentions.)

OSM-SM1115aMay the gracious blessing of Almighty God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, descend upon all our sick relatives and friends.  May it be accompanied by the complete cure which they desire and for which we pray.

Intercede for us all, St. Peregrine, that we may be sincerely grateful for every healing, every favor and grace from the Lord God who is ever glorified in his saints.  Amen.

For Christian faithfulness…  We praise God with you, St. Peregrine, for calling you to religious life and for strengthening you to remain faithful until you entered into the Lord’s joy forever.

Please pray for all whose lives are vowed to Christ.  May they remain true to their sacred commitment and be a source of inspiration to all their fellow Christians.

May all religious and lay persons inspired by your constancy live in Christian faithfulness, helping to renew the face of the earth in Christian charity, justice, and peace.  Amen.

For all intentions…  With you, St. Peregrine, we proclaim our faith in the God of miracles.  We thank him for transforming your life through a holy man’s generous forgiveness.

After years of suffering, one night you were miraculously healed of cancer of the foot.  Please pray for all persons so afflicted with cancer, foot ailments, or any incurable disease.  Pray that a cure be found soon for cancer and healing for all physical and emotional ills.

For these intentions and all our material and spiritual needs, we seek your powerful intercession with the Lord.  Amen.

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Contact information

The St. Peregrine card is from the Order of Friar Servants of Mary, USA Province, 1439 Harlem Avenue, Berwyn, IL 60402-0712.  The St. Dymphna prayer cards and the leaflets are from Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mount Vernon, NY 10551-0598.

October 15, 2015

“In order to bear our afflictions with patience, it is very useful to read the lives and legends of the saints who endured great torments for Jesus Christ” (St. Teresa of Ávila).

Father Ralph’s homilies: 10 Oct 2010 / 22 Jan 2012 / 16 Sept 2012

Links of interest…  Finding inspiration each morning in the saint of the day…  Franciscan Mission Associates…  Holistic healing…  How the saints faced anxiety…  Intercessory prayer…  Miracle prayer (Fr. Peter Mary Rookey)…  Novenas to the saints (969)…  Saints: alphabetical / Franciscan (calendar) / fun facts archive / of the day / patronages / resource / stories…  Spiritual warfare prayers…  St. Dymphna: about / chaplet / history / May 15 / national shrine / novena / prayers / saint…  St. Peregrine: aboutarticles (prayer card) / “cancer saint”chaplet / feast / friends of / healing power / May 1st / novena / prayers (requests) / shrine…  St. Raphael, a powerful healer for anyone suffering right now…  Stella Maris: anniversaryfacebookhistory (more) / Lamar, TXmarker…  Stories, traditions keep devotions to the saints alive…  Ten powerful saints…  To those who are suffering…  Your soul finds rest in God

WP posts…  Healing service…  Holy relics…  Memorable as ever…  My Franciscan Crown…  Powerful intercessor…  Prayers and blessings…  St. Peregrine relic…  Stella Maris

Prayers and blessings

Neither the dreariness of the day nor the rain, which alternated between a fine mist and serious clusters of heavy drops, kept us from driving to Stella Maris with Mary Ellen and Steve last Saturday.

For two weeks we’d anticipated the payoff.  We’d have lots of time to do what we do best— talk— though, regardless of how much time we spend together, it’s never enough.

Stella Maris

We arrived early enough to chat with Father Ralph before Mass, and right away he asked how Olivia was doing.

A familiar face from St. Joseph Church
came up to us, so I hugged Kathleen hello.

“Tell her the story,” Father prompted.

“Another miracle,” Kathleen concurred in a soft, almost whispery voice.

Then Father asked, “What?  Did you want to see me, Kathleen?”

“Father Deane wants to invite you over for Mulligan stew after Mass.”

“Sure, sure,” said Father Ralph.

Just then a tall, robust man with white hair greeted Father.

“Oh!!!  I’m being invaded by the Irishmen!  I’d better get my kalelis,” Father Ralph laughed.

Conversations here and there

I turned to Mary Ellen as Father Ralph continued to greet the newcomers.

“I was talking about Olivia and—“

“Praise God!” Father Ralph interjected.

“Yes, praise God!” I agreed.

“Always,” Mary Ellen chimed in.

The man with the lovely Irish brogue stopped to greet us on his way to the chapel.

“Hello there.  How are you?” he asked, extending his right hand.

“Hello!  How are you?” I smiled, reaching out to shake hands.

“I’m Father O’Callaghan directly from the old sod.”

“The old sod,” Steve echoed.

“I thought you were coming from heaven,” Mary Ellen twinkled.

“[Mary Ellen’s] family came from the old sod also,” Steve added.

“It’s wonderful to meet you, Father!” I said excitedly, not yet making the connection between Father Deane, our former priest at St. Joseph’s, and Father O’Callaghan.

Angel in our midst

Father and his group headed to the chapel, and I turned to Mary Ellen again.

“After Mass, Father Ralph… will talk and show you the relic.  He stays a little after.  I know Kathleen is here, and she wants [Father to head over to the house for dinner; but he’ll do it].”  Then I realized I hadn’t yet documented the moment.  “I want to take a picture of you all.”

“Should I stand here and smile and all?” Mary Ellen asked.


“She wants to see natural, though,” Mary Ellen told Steve and Steven.  “Don’t act silly now!”

I snapped a few photos.


“And I want to get the bell.  I got you in the back, too,” I said to the sacristan.

“Good, good,” Mary Ellen said, “Like our little guardian angel back there.”

“Nowhere to go when I’m breaking the camera,” the sacristan quipped as he walked over to us.

“Hello.  How are you?” I smiled.

Two weeks before, the sacristan had stood in our midst as I’d prayed for Olivia’s healing with the St. Peregrine relic; so I shared her remarkable news.

“It was awesome; so, of course, I’m going to tell the world.  Earlier, Father Ralph told Kathleen and me about a woman from Cuero.”

“Yeah,” nodded the sacristan.

“And there was a miracle, too?” Mary Ellen finished my sentence.

“Then there was… a lady with a tumor in her shoulder,” I continued.  “And she had been completely healed.”

“There’s been a lot of them,” the sacristan said.  “An awful lot of them.  Father’s trying to help me right now [with my] cancer.”

“Well, may you be healed!” Mary Ellen offered.

SMC12112-13a“I’ll be healed,” the sacristan asserted.

“Absolutely!” I agreed wholeheartedly.

“[Father Ralph’s] a healer,” continued the sacristan.  “Anyone who comes here for that, he’s here for them.  I just love him to death.  We came here two years ago, and I became the sacristan….  I serve at all the Masses except Sunday when I work.”

“Of all days,” I said.

“But you’re able to be here all the others?” Mary Ellen asked.

The sacristan elaborated.  “I train and schedule the altar servers so that they know what to do when I can’t be here.”

“That’s wonderful!” enthused Mary Ellen.

“Before I leave here today, I’ll set the altar up for tomorrow.  And my wife… in the white [robe… is] a Eucharistic Minister, so we’ve both been serving for two years.  We just love it.”

“Just enchanted to be here, huh?” added Mary Ellen rhetorically.

Then we all turned to acknowledge the folks whose path we were blocking on their way to the chapel.

“Hello!  Excuse us,” they said.

“Hello!  We’re the official welcoming committee,” I teased.

Everyone laughed.

“We’re here to bless everybody.”

“Well, Sister Mary, you think you’re ready to go inside?” asked Steve.

“Oh, this is their first time,” I told the sacristan about Mary Ellen and Steve.

“Come again.  We always need people.”

Before heading to the chapel, I introduced the four of us to the sacristan.

Then he did the same.  “I’m Joe, and my wife’s Sharon.  We’ll see you after church, probably.”

“Yes.  It’s such a blessing to be here!”

“It’s a blessing to have you,” Joe replied.


More conversations

After Mass I asked Mary Ellen, “Are you going to ask Father about the relic?  I want to photograph that.”

Mary Ellen had wanted to have her chaplets blessed, too.

“I have both of them [in my purse].”



“Good to see you,” Father O’Callaghan said to Steven.

“Thank you for visiting, Father.”

During Mass, Father Ralph told us that Father O’Callaghan has known Father Deane since their seminary days in Ireland.

So that’s the connection between them!  That’s why Father O’Callaghan attended Mass at Stella Maris.  He’s visiting Father Deane here on Goose Island.  That’s why Kathleen showed up to invite Father Ralph to dinner!

Interestingly, Father O’Callaghan served at Our Lady of Victory Church in Victoria; so I shared that we’d been to Our Lady of Victory Church in Prague.

“Prague, TX?” Steve asked.

“Czechoslovakia,” I said, quite surprised to hear there’s a Prague, Texas, too.

Prayers and blessings

Waiting for Father Ralph was a joy.  We listened as folks spoke with him in littles.

“Thank you for joining us tonight,” Father said as folks departed.

“Oh, my goodness!  How long has he been on crutches?” a woman asked as a man gingerly made his way out.

“Three weeks, and then it’ll be another week or two,” the man’s wife answered.

“On the seventeenth… I’ll get a boot,”  the man added.

Then Father asked both the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Peregrine to intercede on the man’s behalf, but I only heard part of the prayer:

I ask for you to put your protective mantle around him.  I ask you to open up the providence of the gifts and talents that you have right now….  Amen?

“Amen!” we all responded resoundingly.

“Come back again when you can,” Father said, bidding the man and his wife a good night.

“I will.”

“We’ll be praying for you!” Father Ralph told the man.

Finally, Mary Ellen had her chance.

“Okay.  You have things to be blessed?”


Mary Ellen showed her two chaplets to Father Ralph.


“Oh, my goodness!  What’s this a chaplet of?”

“One’s for St. Anthony; the other, for the Holy Infant.”

Father Ralph said that he’s belonged to the St. Anthony Guild for many, many years.

“Do you think I could see the relic?” Mary Ellen asked.

“You want to see the relic of St. Peregrine?” Father wanted to know.

Mary Ellen was quiet.

“I’m serious!” Father Ralph offered.


“Oh, she wants a full meal deal, John.  What do you do with someone like that?  Better be like McDonald’s.  Give her the whole thing.”


“I’ve seen real miracles— a lot of them— with this saint.  A lot.  A lot of them, including two today.  The one you talked about that other people were involved in,” Father said, referring to Olivia, “and one this morning.  I was told about someone whose tumor on the shoulder totally disappeared before they could go through surgery.  So okay.  We’ll pray for you.”

“Pray for my sister,” Mary Ellen requested instead.

“I’ll let you kiss [the relic],” Father told Mary Ellen.  “And you, too,” he said to me.

Mary Ellen repeated, “Please pray for my sister because she’s ill.”

“Oh, okay.”

Father touched the relic to Mary Ellen’s forehead as he prayed; and then he did the same with me.

“Amen!  Amen!  Thank you, thank you!” Mary Ellen and I said.


In the meantime, Father O’Callaghan had been observing.  “I see four angels with halos.  May I receive a blessing, too?” he asked.

“Yes!” Mary Ellen and I both said at once.

Then Father Ralph prayed over Father O’Callaghan.

Mary and St. Peregrine:  Mother Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Prompt Succor, the mother of your vocation, the one that’s kept you, prospered you, and blessed you all these years.  Mother, we ask you to go to Jesus so that he that began a good work in the Monsignor will bring it to a satisfactory conclusion in the right time.  Keep him healthy, well, and wise.  And we pray, in virtue of your Queenship, that you would dispatch Raphael, the archangel who’s the archangel of healing and deliverance and of travel that he would go with you as you do these trips.  In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

“Amen!” Father O’Callaghan agreed with childlike enthusiasm.

“And for all for whom you may be praying in holy sod, Ireland,” Father Ralph added.


On that note, Father O’Callaghan reminded Father Ralph about dinner.

“Oh!  Yes.  I’ll come by.”

We took that as our cue to depart; so Steve, Mary Ellen, Steven, and I effusively thanked all those remaining.

“I’ll say one thing for sure,” Steve noted as we walked to the vehicle.  “With you, there’s never a dull moment.”

How very nice indeed!


Our Lady, Queen of Ireland…  Holy Mary, if you will, hear your supplicant.  I put myself under the shelter of your shield.  When falling in the slippery path, you are my smooth, supporting hand staff.  There is no hound in fleetness or in chase, north wind, or rapid river as quick as the Mother of Christ to the bed of death to those who are entitled to her kindly protection.  Amen.

March 17, 2015

May the strength of God pilot us, may the wisdom of God instruct us, may the hand of God protect us, may the word of God direct us….  Always ours this day and evermore (St. Patrick).

August 28, 2015

“God is more anxious to bestow his blessings on us than we are to receive them”
(St. Augustine).

Chaplet prayers…  Child Jesus / St. Anthony (WP posts)

Father Ralph’s homilies: 10 Oct 2010 / 22 Jan 2012 / 16 Sept 2012

Links of interest…  Relics: (more)…  St. Patrick’s prayers…  St. Peregrine: aboutarticles (prayer card) / “cancer saint” / chaplet / feast / friends ofhealing powerMay 1stnovena / prayers (requests) / shrineanniversary / facebook / history (more) / Lamar, TX / mapmarker

WP posts…  Christmas year ’round…  Delightful visit…  Father’s roses…  Healing service…  Holy relics…  Memorable as ever…  Powerful intercessor…  Saintly connections…  Stella Maris…  Stella Maris moments…  St. Anthony chaplets…  St. Peregrine relic

St. Peregrine relic


We first attended Mass at Stella Maris on October 9, 2010; so we could hardly wait for our second visit.  Mary Ellen and Steve were supposed to have joined us, but they asked for a last-minute rain check instead.

“Well, do we go or not?” Steven asked.

We’d been waiting for Mary Ellen and Steve for half an hour, so we were ready.

“Let’s do it!” I said.  “Then we’ll go again two weeks from now.”

Be still my heart!

Standing on the brick walkway that led to the chapel completed in 1858 was exciting enough.  Looking at the historic cemetery from our spot was special, too.  But the very best part was conversing with Father Ralph before five o’clock Mass.

First-class relic

Having waited long enough, I dared to ask, “Did you, by any chance, bring your
St. Peregrine relic with you today?”

“You mean you didn’t see it the first time you were here?” Father asked.

“No,” I replied.  “I wish you had it with you, so I could pray for Olivia.”

Father Ralph continued talking to Steven as I stood among them in silence.

I guess he didn’t bring the relic with him.  Oh, well.  At least I asked.

Then Father Ralph extended his hand palm side up.

“Oh, my gosh!  St. Peregrine’s first-class relic!”  I was thunderstruck!  “May I hold it?”


I asked for St. Peregrine’s intercession on behalf of Olivia and her loving spouse, George, and promptly placed the relic back in Father’s hand, which he kept extended for me to continue looking at the relic.

SMC12112-34St. Peregrine

Another couple joined us just then.

“Something special’s going on.  May I ask what it is?” the woman asked, wanting to be included.

Excitedly, I told her about St. Peregrine’s relic; and she wanted to touch it, too.

As her husband and Steven touched the relic, Father Ralph began telling us about the saint’s intercessions.  “We can use him, too, for another reason.”

“There was another reason, but I forgot what it is,” the woman interjected.

“With him, it could be cancer.  He’s mainly known for that, but it could be any potentially terminal illness or chronic [disease] but also for children that cause you problems, especially wayward teenagers and young adults.  He slapped a priest, hit a priest when he was a young man.  Since he got victory over that, we can ask him to pray for young people,” Father Ralph continued.

“You’re so wonderful!” I exclaimed.

“I’m so glad we came!” the woman exuberantly professed.

“Yes!  Yes!” I enthused.

“This is job security.  Do you think I could last a day without any of this?  My goodness,” teased Father Ralph.

“We came all the way from Alabama;” the woman offered, “and here we are discussing [St. Peregrine].  This is amazing!”

“Are you far from EWTN?” Father Ralph asked.

The woman said that she’d been there quite a few times; Father Ralph, once.

Then the conversation turned to other folks who were also arriving for Mass.

“What a blessing to be here!  Thank you!” I said to Father Ralph as Steven and I made our way to the chapel, no doubt missing out on more lively conversations before everyone headed in for Mass.

Wow!  What a glorious experience!

I was on Cloud Nine for the remainder of the evening and not much lower after that.



SMC12112-14         SMC12112-15         SMC12112-16






St. Peregrine, as a humble servant of Mary, you experienced human weakness and the pain and suffering of sickness.  Knowing that medicine and human knowledge have limits, we pray for all those involved with the medical profession that they will be a true source of healing and comfort to all people.

Like you, we also turn to God in our suffering.  Just as Jesus reached out and touched you with his healing hand, we pray that our loved one(s) will be strengthened in body and spirit and cured of their illness by Jesus Christ through your intercession.  (Mention the name(s) of your sick one(s).)

In gratitude we pray for all the people of the world that they will come to know you, St. Peregrine, and the love that God has for each of them.  Amen.

February 10, 2012

Having received an email from Genevieve and Harold, the couple from Alabama whom we met and prayed with at Stella Maris, I replied asking if I could add their emails here.

February 13, 2012

Genevieve emailed not only giving her consent, but also asking that we keep her son in our prayers.

Date: Friday, February 10, 2012 10:48 AM

Saw your piece on the Mass we attended.  Since we came back we found out our grandson has cancer.  Please put him on your prayer list.  His name is Adam Harrison.

We enjoyed meeting and praying with you.  May God bless you and your family.

Date: Friday, February 10, 2012 11:42 AM

I so very much appreciate your email, as it’s always good to connect with such lovely people.  I’ve had you in my thoughts and prayers since January 21st, believe it or not; and I’ve been wishing to know your names for my post.  Then again, I’m not surprised.  God’s always listening, always providing in his own time, in his own way.  Awesome, isn’t he?!!!

I’ve added Adam to the “petitions” and “praise” pages.  I’m a believer that one must walk in faith to receive what one asks, so giving thanks and praise is the way to go.  (Read “two angels.”)  If you’re interested, the WP posts listed below the St. Peregrine relic post have links to prayers.  (Read “powerful intercessor” and/or “Stella Maris.”)

Please know that I’ll continue to keep your family in my thoughts and prayers, especially since you’re part of my story from January 21st.  May I have your permission to add your email to the bottom of my post so that others who read it can also intercede for Adam’s well-being?  It’s okay to say no.

Date: Monday, February 13, 2012 6:14 PM

Very glad to give permission for any and all prayers.  Have found it the most treatable of leukemia, but need all prayers.  We are going to Ohio to visit with Adam and his wife this weekend.  Please keep us in your prayers.  God bless.

Date: Monday, February 13, 2012 9:26 PM

I’m so glad that your miracles are unfolding.  As Father Ralph told us, St. Peregrine can be called on for preventive measures… and/or to help lessen the trials of illness.

I’ll most certainly continue to keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers… so that Adam continues to do well, so that his wife is comforted in knowing that God has indeed heard your pleas, and so that you and Harold have a safe trip.  God bless you most abundantly.

Prayer to St. Anthony of Padua before a trip

Dear Saint Anthony, today I greet you as the special guardian of those who must travel or go on a trip.  I appreciate your continued interest in my welfare and your unfailing help.  I’m sure you’ll continue to watch over us and protect us.

You were constantly on the move from one country to another… Sicily, France, Spain… and in many other cities of Italy, so you know the perils of being on the road.  You’ve seen the troubles along the way.

In the journeys my family and I make, please guide and guard us.  Let us move with caution even as we rely on your assistance.

Our Lord, Jesus Christ, told us, “I am the way.”  Pray to him for us to keep us always on the right path.   Amen.

V.  Pray for us, Saint Anthony.
R.  That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Date: Thursday, February 23, 2012 9:45 AM

We visited Adam this weekend and found him to be in good health and feeling fine.  Thanks be to God.  [His] blood work was almost where [the doctors] want it.  Thanks again for your prayers.

Date: Thursday, February 23, 2012 10:12 AM

I’m delighted that Adam’s health is much improved.  There’s power in prayer, and miracles do happen!  Thank God for his angels and his saints!  I’ll continue to keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers.

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).



Father Ralph’s homilies: 10 Oct 2010 / 22 Jan 2012 / 16 Sept 2012

Links of interest…  Relics…  St. Peregrine: about / articles (prayer cards) / “cancer saint” / chaplet / feast / friends of / healing intercessor & friend / healing power / May 1st / novena / prayers (requests) / shrine…  Stella Maris: anniversary / facebook / history (more) / Lamar, TX (more) / marker

WP posts…  Healing service…  Holy relics…  Memorable as ever…  Powerful intercessor…  Prayers and blessings…  Saintly connections…  Stella Maris

Powerful intercessor

My friend, Olivia, called on New Year’s Eve.  She wanted to tell me about her upcoming surgery, January twenty-third.

Prayer booklet

“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.

Personal experience

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.”

SMC10910-107Yes, 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).

Healing power

“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.”

SMC10910s-10aAbout a week [after visiting here for the first time, Cooper’s grandparents] called and told me they liked the chapel.  Then about a week or two later, [the grandfather] called [again].

“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.”

Building community

“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.

Contact information

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.

Dearest Olivia,

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.

What excitement!

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).

SMC122014- 16

Father Ralph’s homilies: 10 Oct 2010 / 22 Jan 2012 / 16 Sept 2012

Links of interest…  Five creative ways to pray for others…  Franciscan Mission Associates …  Miracle hunter: Miracles & evangelization…  Relics…  St. Peregrine: about / articles (prayer card) / “cancer saint” / chaplet / feast / friends of / healing power / May 1st / chaplet / feast / friends of / healing power / May 1st / chaplet / feast / friends of / healing power / May 1st / novena / prayers  (requests) / shrine…  Stella Maris: anniversaryfacebookhistory (more) / Lamar, TX / 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

Holy relics

On Valentine’s Day 2009, Junebug and Gary (left) and the lovely Ning and Sam joined us for a special dinner.  And, as usual, “the gang”— our family through Why Catholic? at St. Paul’s in Flour Bluff— had a fantabulous time!


Junebug’s prompting

That evening Junebug excitedly told us about visiting a chapel with the Legion of Mary.  She didn’t recall its name or much else other than having been (and still is) in awe of all the relics there.  “You just have to go see it!  It’s such a special place!” Junebug remarked, adding that she’d never known about relics until then.

“I know just what you mean!” I said.  “I didn’t know anything about relics until I received mine from Father Roderick.  And I treasured them until I gave them away.  Thanks so much for telling me about the chapel!  I’ll have to visit to take photos for my blog.”

Elusive treasure

Junebug’s exuberant insistence that I “visit the chapel out by the Lexington” stayed with me until May of last year.  That’s when, in driving around trying to locate it, I accidentally stumbled across the small, well-kept chapel on the corner of who knows where in the vicinity of the USS Lexington.

Yet, within moments my joy downgraded a couple of degrees.  Our Lady Star by the Sea was locked, and no one was at its adjacent office.

To further dampen my enthusiasm, I’d forgotten my Coolpix; so I had to rely on my antiquated cell phone to photograph the chapel’s exterior.  Not a good idea at all, I found out later, ’cause I couldn’t email the photos to my Yahoo account.

Still, things worked out fine.  I learned the name of the chapel and its location, so the visit wasn’t a total loss.

Now it’s just a matter of attending weekend Mass, Saturday at five-thirty or Sunday at nine, so I can finally see the relics that catapulted Junebug into OMG mode.

Shared keepsakes

Like Junebug, I’d never known about holy relics until— surprise, surprise— I received two third-class St. Anthony relics in the mail from Father Roderick, head of Franciscan Mission Associates (FMA) at the time.

A relic is an object or a personal item of religious significance, carefully preserved with an air of veneration as a tangible memorial….  A third-class relic is any object that is touched to a first- or second-class relic.  Most third-class relics are small pieces of cloth (Wikipedia, 2011).

“Relics refer to the body tissues of saints, items worn or used by them, and things that have come in contact with the originals” (Father James G. Ward, CM in the Association of the Miraculous Medal Bulletin, October 2010, p. 3).

The veneration of relics, most strictly the material remains of a saint or holy person after his death, has a long tradition in the Catholic Church….  St. Thomas Aquinas would explain that the relics “excite to love.”  It is really the saint who is being honored, and the relic assists the giving of that honor through both a visible sign and a physical link with the saint (St. Anthony Shrine, 2009).

I treasured my two St. Anthony relics but eventually gave them away to a couple of acquaintances whose life stories were filled with such despair that I thought the relics would give them hope.

By then Father Robert had become director of FMA, so I wrote him a letter requesting another relic and— wouldn’t you know it— he sent two that I carried with me, knowing I’d give them away as well.

St. Anthony chaplets

August, 2010, I gifted my two relics to Sabrina (left) and Ruth (right) with a note in the St. Anthony booklet that I created specially for them.

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Segy, our youngest, has always said, “The best gifts are those I want so very badly to keep but give away instead.”

In 1998, I wrote to Father Robert at Franciscan Mission Associates.

In 1985, Father Roderick sent me two St. Anthony relics.  But, over the years, as I met others in great need, I gave them away.  And now that I don’t have one, I feel empty.  So may I please have another relic?

And I was surprised, just as I’d been the first time, to receive not one but two.  But, even though I’ve treasured my two relics all this time, I’ve always wondered when the time would come that I’d have to part with them again as before.

Looking through my Companion Prayers booklet on July 22nd, I suddenly took note of the St. Anthony chaplet prayers and the Miraculous Responsory for the first time.  I’d added the latter to my “St. Anthony” post, but it just hadn’t registered till that moment.

I decided to customize a chaplet just right for me and attach not a regular medal, but the St. Anthony relic I’d carried around all these years.

Then I had an epiphany.

Since I had a second relic still in its original little bag I thought, Ruth and Sabrina!  I’ll bead three identical chaplets, place the relics on theirs, and use a different St. Anthony medal on mine.  I’ll write to Father Robert again and request another relic for my chaplet.  Hopefully, he’ll send two.

Sooo…  On Tuesday, July 23rd, I began using the chaplets.  I’ve taken turns with each one so that, when you pray on your own, you’ll know I’m praying with you, too.

Heart’s desire

FMA8410aI have to admit that it was very difficult to part with my last two
St. Anthony relics.  In fact, that’s what kept me from beading the chaplets sooner.  God knew how I felt, though.

Right when I was having serious qualms about giving them away, I received a perfectly timed relic prayer card in the mail from FMA.

In the days that followed I internalized what I’ve experienced before: God always knows and provides just what we need (Matthew 6:8).

Hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to him.  That is all the doing you have to worry about (St. Jane Frances de Chantal).

Holy relics

How amazing that, since finding Our Lady Star by the Sea and gifting my St. Anthony relics, I’ve become aware of other holy relics: St. Elizabeth Seton’s at Sacred Heart Church in Nacogdoches, Venerable Margaret Parigot’s on Sister’s prayer card from the Flower of Carmel Monastery in Australia, St. Peregrine’s through Father Ralph at Stella Maris in Lamar, and Venerable Julia Navarrete’s through Sister Maxie at the Missionary Daughters’ Solemn Place of Prayer in Kingsville.  Then, as a very special gift from the Anthonians in November, I received a seventy-five minute video commemorating the exhibition of St. Anthony’s remains at the Basilica in Padua, Italy.

So I have to wonder…

Has parting with my treasured St. Anthony relics helped me find more along the way?




May 13, 2011

Joyfully, I received Venerable Father Casey’s relic badge, which I showed Junebug at Michael’s Confirmation.  I’ll be ordering another to surprise her with, as I think it’ll make her day.


September 13, 2011

Wow!  How amazing is it to find right here on my computer desk exactly what I’ve wanted for months?  To think that I’ve had St. Jude’s relic for a very long time and didn’t even know it till this morning.

Will wonders never cease!

October 4, 2011

I just received a letter from Franciscan Mission Associates in time for All Souls Day.  Father Primo has replaced Father Robert, who served for the past fifteen years.  I guess it’s time to write that letter I’ve been putting off and wish Father Robert well on the next chapter in his book of life.


If you’d like to request a St. Anthony relic, contact Franciscan Mission Associates at P.O. Box 598, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551-0598.

January 21, 2012

Steven and I drove to Stella Maris for the second time, and we arrived early enough to converse with Father Ralph before evening Mass.  I asked if he had his St. Peregrine first-class relic, and he did!  What a thrilling experience to hold it and pray for his intercession.


January 22, 2012

I went by Mary Ellen’s house to drop off both her St. Anthony relic chaplet and her Child Jesus chaplet, and she showed me the third-class relic she has of the nun who founded the Incarnate Word Order.  I didn’t have my camera with me, so I’ll take a photo another time.

April 8, 2012

I finally got the chance to take the photos of Mary Ellen’s third-class relic of Venerable Jeanne Chézard de Matel (1596-1670), foundress of the Incarnate Word (IWBS) Order.

Oh, happy day!


April 29, 2012

“Be careful what you wish for” certainly comes to mind, only in a good way this time.

On revisiting the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus at St. Pius V in Chicago, I discovered a treasure overlooked in the past.  St. Jude’s first-class relic!  His arm!


July 2, 2012

What unexpected surprises!  St. Teresa of Avila relics from Sister in Australia!


September 29, 2012

From Sister, timely St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus treasures received for October 1st!


January 13, 2013

Steven and I visited the Tepeyac Shrine in San Antonio for the second time and discovered that the Grotto Sanctuary has a first-class relic: Part of St. Eugene de Mazenod’s heart!

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February 10, 2013

??????????This morning Steven fell out as a Knight of Columbus participating in the veneration of José Sánchez del Río’s first-class relic at Immaculate Conception Church in Taft, TX.  Ten o’clock Mass was followed, first, by a procession around the neighborhood and then by visits to the front of the altar to spend one-on-one time in prayer with the relic.

Worth noting is that Joselito died eighty-five years ago today.

June 14-16, 2013

When Steven learned that Father Mario from the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, Italy would be in Rockford, IL, he quickly made plans for us to attend Mass and the veneration of St. Anthony’s first-class relics at St. Anthony of Padua Church.  And we had a phenomenal time!

Father Mario captivated all of us with wonderful stories about St. Anthony and gifted many present with relics touched to St. Anthony’s tongue.  In the photo on the left, the reliquary in the forefront holds tissue from inside St. Anthony’s cheek; the one on the altar, part of his floating rib.

Before Father Mario retired for the evening, he did something totally unexpected: He blessed Steven and me with the small reliquary!

We were so taken with Father Mario that I wanted to bring him home with us, but he has places to go and people to see.  Building community within God’s kingdom is what traveling with St. Anthony is all about, so they’re off to Great Britain next.

SAP61413s-56        StA73113b        StA73113a

The following morning, despite the pounding rain and the heavy traffic, we made our way back to Chicago where we not only spent time at the Dominican Shrine of St. Jude at St. Pius V (like last year), but also visited the Claretian National Shrine of St. Jude at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

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Then we drove to Detroit where we attended nine o’clock Mass at St. Bonaventure Church on Sunday and delighted in the Solanus Casey Center the entire day.

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What an extraordinary experience!

July 1, 2013

Oh, happy day!  St. Pio’s relic!  Thank you, Sister dearest!

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November 21, 2013

Surprise, surprise!  In today’s mail, I received a treasure trove from our niece.

Found this [tiny, old envelope].  Thought of you.  Not sure what it is, but you will know.  Love you.  Sue

Um, yes!  Not one, but two relic badges of then Servant of God, now Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos who needs only one more step to reach sainthood.

After a brief period of parish ministry in Detroit, Michigan, he was assigned in 1866 to the Redemptorist community in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Here also, as pastor of the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption, he was known as a pastor who was joyously available to his faithful and singularly concerned for the poorest and the most abandoned.  However, his ministry in New Orleans was destined to be brief. In September of that year, exhausted from visiting and caring for victims of yellow fever, he contracted the disease.  After several weeks, he died on October 4, 1867, at the age of forty-eight years and nine months (Wikipedia, 2013).

FXS112113-2a        FXS112113-2b

March 28, 2014

Hip hip hooray!  An unexpected St. Anthony relic from the Anthonians!

Anth32814a        Anth32814b

April 18, 2014

Thanks to Diana at Franciscan Mission Associates for expeditiously sending me not just the lovely relic for Sid’s St. Anthony chaplet, but also the prayer card!  Sidney Davis, whom we met at the Solanus Casey Center last week, loved his priceless treasures!

FMA-H62a        FMA-H62b        FMA41814a        FMA41814b

May 24, 2014

Thanks to Father Thomas Franks, OFM-Cap for St. Pio’s precious relic!  The Shrine of St. Pio of Pietrelcina is located at the Church of St. John the Baptist in New York City.  (The address is on “Credits” page.) 

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October 11, 2014

Thanks again, Father Tom, for the wonderful relic cards from St. Pio’s shrine!

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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…  Legion of Mary…  Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish: diocese page / parishes online…  Relics: about (chapelmore – why we venerate them) / altar of (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton) / badge (Venerable Solanus Casey) / feast (more) / first-class / four categories / holy / how to venerateincorruptibles (how can a corpse be incorruptible – saints) / more than I thought I’d ever know (blog post) / of the past & the present / priest martyrs of Mexico / process of beatification & canonization / remains / sacred artifacts / saints / what is…  St. Anthony: basilica (virtual tour) / bones a guide to the living / relics (on display in Padua)…  St. Paul the Apostle Church: facebook / website…  Why Catholic

WP posts…  St. Anthony of Padua: Saint of miracles / Si quaeris miracula…  St. Eugene de Mazenod: Heart of hearts / Memory lane…  St. Elizabeth Seton: Right at home…  St. José Sánchez del Río: Honoring Joselito…  St. Jude: Forever grateful / October novenaSt. Anthony Claret / St. Jude novena…  St. Peregrine: Healing service / Memorable as ever / Powerful intercessor / Prayers and blessings / Saintly connections / Stella Maris / St. Peregrine relic…  St. Teresa of Avila: Gift of love / Seven dwelling places…  St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus: Budding relationships…  Venerable Father Casey: Capuchin church stations / God’s master plan / Mercy and justice / Solano, Solanus, Solani / St. Bonaventure Church…  Today’s Beatitudes…  Venerable Julia Navarrete (of the thorns of the Sacred Heart)…  Venerable Margaret (of the Blessed Sacrament)…  What I learned by caring for holy relics

Stella Maris

After attending the September twenty-first TX Tropical Trail Region outing in Rockport, Steven and I went in search of the chapel I’d discovered online a couple of years ago. 

Although we’d anticipated that Stella Maris might be closed on a Tuesday afternoon, we were disappointed nonetheless but perked up at the thought of returning for Mass, October 9th.

What a joy to hear Father Ralph’s stories about his first-class
St. Peregrine relic and the miracles God has performed!








Prayers to St. Peregrine

O God, in Saint Peregrine you gave us an outstanding example of faith and patience.  We humbly ask you that, by imitating him and by the help of his prayers, we may believe more fully in your healing help, bear the suffering of this life without wavering, and come with joy to the peace of heaven.  We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

For strength and healing…  Loving and gracious God, in faith and trust we place ourselves before you.  Fill me with your healing love.  In St. Peregrine you have given the world an outstanding example of courage, faith, and hope in the midst of pain and affliction; and you showed your greatness and compassion by the miracle of his cure.

Now I ask you, through the intercession of St. Peregrine, to help me, your servant, to endure my illness with courage; and, if it be your will, to restore me to health.

Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.


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FMA-R29-e      FMA-R29-f      FMA-H48-b      FMA-H48-a

Contact information

St. Peregrine prayers are from Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551-0598.


Father Ralph’s homilies: 10 Oct 2010 / 22 Jan 2012 / 16 Sept 2012

Links of interest…  Fr. Ralph Jones (d. 2.13.18) / Franciscan Mission Associates…  Gratitude…  Relics…  Msgr. Rory Deane (d. 3.6.16)…  Signs, miracles, & worship…  St. Peregrine: about / articles (prayer card) / “cancer saint” / chaplet / feast / friends of / healing power / May 1st / novena / prayers (requests) / shrine…  Stella Maris: anniversary / facebook / history (more) / Lamar, TX / marker

WP posts…  Delightful visit…  Father’s roses…  Healing service…  Holy relics…  Memorable as ever…  Powerful intercessor…  Prayers and blessings…  Saintly connections…  St. Peregrine relic…  Stella Maris moments