Novena of Grace

It has become a tradition for my family, that when we gather for Christmas, we each blindly reach into a bag containing the names of many saints and pick one. The chosen saint becomes that person’s patron for the year. We learn about our saint and ask for their prayers and intercession throughout the year. Saints are our friends in heaven and we all hope to join them in heavenly adoration of our Lord one day.

My patron saint of 2023 is Saint Francis Xavier and I have to admit, I knew little of him. After doing some internet searching, I found that Saint Francis Xavier was born in 1506 in the Castle of Xavier in Navarre, Spain. He was one of the founders of the Society of Jesus, which is known as the Jesuits today. He is the patron saint of Catholic Missions, as he successfully converted many to the faith. Before he died in 1552, he made a great effort to convert the Japanese, but found it to be very difficult. He was canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622.

I also learned that St. Francis Xavier was the patron saint of Alexandria, Louisiana, where a Cathedral bears his name. I was delighted to learn about this Cathedral, which is less than two hours away from my home, and I vowed to make a pilgrimage to visit.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I planned on visiting Alexandria on a weekend, but I fell ill with a head cold that had me knocked down for a couple of weeks. Finally feeling better and having a free weekend, my husband and I planned to make the drive today, Saturday, March 4th.

Yesterday, I pulled up the Cathedral website and noticed that on the first Saturday of the month, a First Saturday Mass was celebrated at 9am. Perfect! We left our neighborhood at 7am sharp on a beautiful sunny morning. We arrived at the Cathedral early and had time to walk around gazing at its majesty. St. Francis Xavier Cathedral was dedicated on November 30, 1899.

We arrived in time for adoration and the rosary. When it was quiet, I pulled out my prayer book from my purse. I had picked up a St. Francis Xavier prayer card and stuck it in the book. I began to read the novena on the prayer card. When I concluded the prayer, I was astonished to read the novena should be started on March 4th! God’s providence never ceases to amaze me! My husband and I had not originally planned the trip on March 4th and were unaware of the novena dates – and here we were in St. Francis Xavier Cathedral praying the novena on March 4th!

When I arrived back home today, I once again pulled up information on the internet about this novena, which originated in the 1600’s following the canonization of St. Francis Xavier. During that time, an elaborate structure was built for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in the College of Naples. Father Mastrilli was supervising the removal of the massive structure, when a worker from above, dropped a hammer that fell directly on Father Mastrilli’s head causing a deadly wound. At that time, St. Francis Xavier, appeared to Father Mastrilli, asking him to renew the vow to return to Japan for mission work adding that “All who implore my help daily for 9 consecutive days, from the fourth of March to the twelfth of March, inclusive and worthily receive the Sacrament of Penance and Holy Communion on one of those nine days will experience my protection and may hope with entire assurance to obtain from God any Grace they ask that is for the good of their souls and the Glory of God.” Father Mastrilli was fully healed and spread this message and novena prayer, which came to be known as the Novena of Grace.

Novena Prayer

Most amiable and most loving Saint Francis Xavier, in union with thee I reverently adore the Divine Majesty. I rejoice exceedingly on account of the marvelous gifts which God bestowed upon thee. I thank God for the special graces He gave thee during thy life on earth and for the great glory that came to thee after thy death. I implore thee to obtain for me, through thy powerful intercession, the greatest of all blessings — that of living and dying in the state of grace. I also beg of thee to secure for me the special favor I ask in this novena…..

(Mention requests)

In asking this favor, I am fully resigned to the Divine Will. I pray and desire only to obtain that which is most conducive to the greater glory of God and the greater good of my soul.

V. Pray for us, Saint Francis Xavier.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

O God, Who didst vouchsafe, by the preaching and miracles of Saint Francis Xavier, to join unto Thy Church the nations of the Indies, grant, we beseech Thee, that we who reverence his glorious merits may also imitate his example, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen

3 Our Father’s and 3 Hail Mary’s in memory of Saint Francis Xavier’s devotion to the Most Holy Trinity;
Glory be 10 times in thanksgiving for the graces received during his 10 years of apostleship.

C’est Bon,



Granny’s Legacy

When I introduced my mother to the man that was to be my husband, she smiled and told him, “I gave you your first bath!” We both learned that day my mother was the labor and delivery nurse the day my husband was born. Our two mothers were destined to cross paths many times over the years as their firstborns married and gave them grandchildren.

To say our mothers were Catholic would be an understatement! Our mothers lived and breathed their faith. My husband and I both grew up in a Catholic home with mothers who were Mount Carmel Academy graduates. Our mothers would sprinkle holy water around the house during bad weather, pray to Saint Anthony when something important went missing, and dutifully prayed the rosary daily.

My mother-in-law, affectionally known as Granny, took an active role in being a spiritual mother to her family. She taught her grandchildren to pray the rosary among other prayers. My children and all her grandchildren have wonderful memories of attending mass and receiving sacraments with their Granny. She began hosting weekly family rosaries which laid a solid foundation of faith and family in each of our hearts. She taught me how to be a more faith-filled mother and grandmother for my children and grandchildren. She taught us all how to love Jesus and His mother, Mary, and imitate them in our lives by seeking God’s Will. She has been the heart and soul of our family.

Granny showed me how to face adversity and suffering in life with grace and hope. Even though her illness robbed her each day of her independence while adding to her pain and suffering; when asked how she was doing, she would always smile and answer, “I am having a good day”. Her smile was contagious. The last gift she gave me was to reassure me of God’s presence in my life. During her last weeks here, she asked me to bend my head close to her so that I could hear her faint voice. It brought me great joy to hear her say that she loved me like a daughter. She went on to say that everything had worked out like God had planned and that made her very happy.

There is a photo I love of my mother and mother-in-law at my son’s wedding. They are sitting side by side with heads bent toward each other in conversation. Some time after the wedding, my mother relayed to me Granny had quietly told her, “Who would have thought when you were delivering my baby that the two of us would be sitting together fifty years later in St. John’s Cathedral, about to watch our grandson marry.” My husband was the man God planned for me. From the moment he was born, his mother was also destined to become my mother. She has been a precious gift to my family.

This past week has been a week of grief, sorrow, holiness, prayer and reflection as our family spent time with Granny for the last time on earth. My mother is too frail now to leave home, but she called me daily to reassure us she was praying rosaries and thinking of all of us. It is tremendously hard to watch a loved one suffer. I found myself in my prayers telling the Lord enough was enough. I started to question His motives as I watched a beautiful, faith-filled woman slowly wither away.

Fridays in the Catholic Church is a day of sorrow in remembrance of the Passion of Christ. This past Friday morning I had a talk with Father before mass and confessed that I was telling God what He should be doing instead of trusting in Him and His Will. Father gave me words of encouragement and told me to go to Mother Mary that day, saying “Let Mary take you to the cross.” God knew Father’s words were exactly what I needed to hear. God did not stop there, on the ride after mass, while listening to Catholic radio, I learned about Anselm of Canterbury, a mystic from the medieval period who was given the gift of seeing Christ’s passion through the eyes of Mary. One of the swords which pierced the heart of Mary was meeting up with her Son while He carried His cross. Jesus lovingly thanked Mary for being a wonderful mother and for always taking such good care of Him while allowing Him to follow the will of His Father. Suffering is never in vain; the Cross led to the Resurrection. I had to trust my Father in heaven and know that as my mother-in-law had told me, God has a plan. It was on the eve of this special day that our Granny was called home.

She leaves behind a legacy. I will continue to host family rosaries. I will encourage more families to do the same. I will share my faith and trust in the Lord in good times and in times of sorrow.

Yesterday my mother called and asked that I stop by her home, saying she had something for us. She handed my husband and I an envelope and expressed her sympathy for our loss. On the ride home, I opened my mother’s envelope and found some cash with a note it was for masses intended for Granny. These two mothers’ paths will cross again one day. I have no doubt there is a special place in heaven for mothers who follow God’s Will and devote their lives to caring for not just the physical needs but also the spiritual needs of the souls of their children and grandchildren.

Thank you Granny for your love, lessons, and legacy. You will forever be cherished in our hearts and souls!



Daddy’s Wash Shed

I was lucky enough to grow up in the seventies. Life was very different then. I was the oldest of two girls at that time with a hard-working, stay-at- home mom and a blue collar, hard-working father. Life for my family was very routine; not too much out of the ordinary came our way. In 1970, my sister, Debra, and I enjoyed playing outside with neighborhood children during the day and watching our favorite TV sitcoms in the evenings as a family. Daddy was off from work on Saturdays, which was yard mowing day and Sundays, which was reserved for visiting grandparents after attending mass at our Catholic Church parish.

1972 brought big changes to our family when my parents purchased my mother’s parents’ home. Most of the routines stayed the same, but at a different address with different neighborhood friends, stores, church and school. Since it was previously my grandparents’ home, I settled in to my new world very quickly.

My mother was meticulous when it came to housecleaning. In those days children were usually forced to play outdoors as housewives wanted to keep the house as clean and neat as possible awaiting their husband’s return from work. Of course we did not have video games and the technology of today. We enjoyed playing tag, hopscotch and catching doodle bugs. We ran into the house at noon to get a quick bite of lunch, then it was back outside until we saw Daddy pull into the drive in his red plumbing truck.

My dad’s trade was plumbing. He returned at the end of each day smelling like galvanized pipe; his green uniform turned black with mud and sweat. Looking back now, I find it funny that he was not allowed in mom’s house either! Located at the back of our home was an old wash shed. It housed a washer and dryer as well as a toilet, sink and shower. Living in south Louisiana, the wash shed was always musty and humid. As kids playing outside, we frequented the shed for a quick restroom stop. The concrete floor was always wet and the lighting was extremely poor. I imagine kids today would be horrified to have to use such facilities; however, back in those days, we thought nothing of it. My dad ended his work day each day with a shower in the wash shed.

I can still remember my mom opening the back door of the house and handing my dad a stack of clean clothes, towels and soap. We continued playing in the back of our house as dad took his shower. He exited the wash room smelling of Irish Spring Soap, clean and refreshed. We could now all enter mom’s domain and start our nighttime routine of supper, bath, TV and bed.

Dad’s use of the wash shed was a humble and loving way to show respect to my mother and all the hard work she did in keeping house. As I recall these special memories, it reminds me that one day we all hope to enter God’s home and just like my Daddy, we should want to enter clean and refreshed. Our Loving Father in Heaven gave us the Sacrament of Reconciliation from which He pours His Grace upon us and washes us clean.

The following was written in Saint Faustina’s diary: “Today the Lord said to me, Daughter, when you go to confession, to this fountain of My Mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My Heart always flows down upon your soul and ennobles it. Every time you go to confession, immerse yourself entirely in My Mercy with great trust, so that I may pour the bounty of My Grace upon your soul. When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I Myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of Mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My Generosity. The torrents of grace inundate humble souls.”

By the time my two youngest sisters were born, mom and dad had remodeled our new home and tore down the old wash shed. Dad started up his own plumbing business, driving a white van and wearing a blue uniform. He continued to work hard, and at the end of each work day he retired to his new master bath to shower off the day’s sweat and grime. He and my mother, without knowing it, were a great witness to this first-born, who is now a mother and grandmother herself, of the humbleness and respect of admitting a need for cleansing. We are all sinners, we are all in need of God’s Mercy and Grace. Jesus left us a visible Sacrament whereby we can obtain these gifts if we humble ourselves and enter the “wash shed” of the confessional.

John 20:22-23 “He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain, are retained.”

Cest Bon,

Love, Sherry

Wiping the Face of Christ

I had brought my daughter to the emergency room one night a few years ago. She was in pain and so I sat with her in a crowded emergency wait area and we waited. And we waited. Time seems to pass so slowly when we or a loved one is suffering.

The hospital staff were obviously overwhelmed with the amount of patients seeking care. I surveyed our wait area and noticed an elderly woman sitting in a wheel chair in the corner of the room. She looked very ill and feeble. She was quietly spitting up in a plastic bag the nurse had given her. She was alone.

The elderly woman’s face became sweaty and smeared with her spittle. Her breathing seemed very labored and she longingly looked at each medical attendant as they whizzed by, trying to be patient and wait her turn. She began coughing, almost choking. I looked around the room and found that not one person was even looking up to check on the woman. I realize these people were in an emergency room and had some type of medical issue, but most seemed young and healthy compared to the elderly woman in the corner of the room.

I was sitting across the room and asked the woman if she would like a cloth to wipe her face. She nodded that she would. I retrieved a cloth from the nurse’s station and handing it to the woman asked if she had family with her. She told me that she did not. I sat next to her and volunteered to call someone for her. She asked if I could call her daughter. After calling both of the woman’s daughters, who were both busy with work, the elderly woman asked that I call her brother. Her brother seemed confused by my phone call; I handed the phone to the woman and let her explain to her brother. Finally, a family member took an interest in the woman’s health and agreed to meet her at the hospital. Knowing that someone was going to be there for her, seemed to relieve the woman. I saw her smile as she handed me back my phone. Not long afterwards, a nurse opened the door and called the woman’s name. She was finally leaving the wait area. She smiled and told me thank you. She pointed at me and told the nurse, “that is my sister.” It was humbling and unexpected. As I rejoined my daughter, who as it turned out was having appendicitis, I was again humbled to hear my daughter say to me, “I would never let you come alone.”

What happened to kindness in the world?

Today during Good Friday Service, I found myself sitting near the 6th Station of the Way of The Cross, depicting Veronica wiping the Face of Christ. I found myself contemplating the simple act of kindness that brought a moment of comfort to our suffering Lord, Jesus.

It has been Church tradition that after the death of Jesus, His mother visited daily the scenes of Christ’s Passion. The origin of the Way of The Cross is the Holy Land as still today pilgrims reverently walk the Via Dolorosa at Jerusalem. It developed over time to the 14 stations we have today.

Veronica and her cloth are not mentioned in the gospels. She and her act of kindness have been a tradition passed down through the centuries. It is unknown if Veronica was truly her name or what became of her; but there is proof of her existence in the Veil of Manoppello, Italy.

The Veil has many similarities to the Shroud of Turin. Like the Shroud, its image is not painted on the cloth, but rather, apart of the cloth. The image when placed over the Shroud is an exact match. Like the Shroud, it has a history of being stolen and hidden until it found its home with the Cupuchins in Manoppello in the 1600s.

As I venerated the Cross of Jesus today, I wondered if I had been alive back then, would I have tried to comfort Him? I cannot go back in time; I must comfort Jesus by being kind and loving to my brothers and sisters here now. I like to think that as I handed the elderly woman the cloth, it was also an act of comfort to my Lord, Jesus. There is no time outside of this world. We can through our prayers and works of mercy be a comfort to Jesus during His Passion just as Saint Veronica. He will leave an imprint on our hearts just as He left an imprint on Veronica’s veil.

C’est Bon

Love, Sherry

My Friend Shirley

I was a young mother moving away from my home of south Louisiana to Virginia where my husband was stationed with the US Navy.  The year was 1988 and there were no cell phones, home computers or GPS devices.  It was a new life in a big city with no family or friends for hundreds of miles.

 My husband would be traversing mostly onboard the USS Shreveport; I had to figure out how to navigate an unknown area with two children under four years old.  My solution was to look up addresses of businesses in a phone book.  I then located the address on a city map and mapped out a route from my location to my destination.  I was able to find my way to the grocery store, medical facilities, church and so on.  I am a person with no sense of direction, so I felt quite accomplished with myself!  My first year in Virginia, I was a stay- at- home mom getting acquainted with new surroundings and reassuring my little ones that this new, strange land was safe and was now home.

A year later, during one of my husband’s deployments, I felt secure enough to venture out into the workforce.  After obtaining a sitter for the kids, I walked up the steps to Sussex Apartments’ office and met my future boss/friend, Shirley.

My first impression was – this is not going to work out!  I found Shirley to be nothing like anyone I had ever met.  Here I was, this short, conservative, modest, Catholic wife and mother; there was Shirley, a platinum blonde, heavy make-up and spike high heel wearing divorcee – we were the very definition of opposites!  Looking back on that moment, I imagine it was comical to behold!  She carried herself with such elegance and self-confidence; I knew I had just met a force to be reckon with!

Always polite, I carried on a conversation with Shirley and smiled while she ranted about her current assistant, who she described as “drab and depressing.”  She complimented my smile and thought out loud that I would be such a welcome change to the office.  I left that interview not knowing what the heck just happened!  Shirley and I seemed to hit it off and talk effortlessly – I saw something in her that I lacked, and she evidently saw something in me.  Before long, I was sitting at the front desk and working daily with the ever surprising and bodacious Shirley!

Why the two of us got along so well is still a mystery!  I had two little kids at home and an early bedtime. She had two Russian wolfhounds and no bedtime.  She dressed to kill every day and flirted with every man that walked in the door, married and unmarried alike.  I was friendly and sweet with everyone, but always was careful to keep my distance.  She walked into a room and lit it up with her presence; I was shy and quiet trying not to bring attention to myself.  She visited psychics and was very New Age.  I loved my Catholic faith and had never been exposed to such things. We were worlds apart as far as personality; yet for a time, she was my dearest friend and confidant. 

Shirley had a huge heart!  She genuinely cared about her staff and residents.  I watched her cry over employee firings and rejoice at our accomplishments.  A lonely, elderly neighbor to our office was visited almost every evening by Shirley.  I accompanied her once or twice while the gentleman served us cake and talked about his wife that had passed.  

My best memories of Shirley are from Christmas. Shirley absolutely loved Christmas!  She took great care to decorate for the Christmas season and was a gracious hostess to our Christmas party.  The season of giving just delighted her to no end. 

I still love that dear woman to this day – even though I have not seen her since my family moved back to Louisiana – thirty years ago!  I was just in my mid-twenties then and Shirley and I made plans to visit over the years; but life is just so busy that it never happened.  Each year for Christmas, I receive Virginia salt-water taffy from my friend, and I ship out some Louisiana gumbo to Virginia.   We exchange Christmas cards and catch up once a year.  Since I have seen Shirley, I had a third child, and watched my children graduate and get married.  I am now a grandmother and have a blessed life with my love of thirty-seven years and our dog, Archie.  Shirley, now retired, has been a mother to many fur babies over the years.  I have numerous photos of her rescues who were treated to a wonderful dog life!

The time I spent in Virginia was intimidating – I was a fish out of water.  My friend, Shirley, took me under her wing and filled my days with laughter while listening to her escapades.  Whenever I think of her, I smile, and that has to be the most wonderful compliment I could give anyone – you make me smile!

Merry Christmas Shirley and thank you for the taffy!

Your friend still,


Shirley, 1989

Our Little Cajun Saint

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb.'” Rev. 7:9-10

Today is the Feast Day of All Saints’ Day. We know from scripture that heaven is filled with multitudes of people from every nation. We know the names of some of these Saints and celebrate them on individual Feast Days; however, most of the heavenly Saints are unknown and are celebrated as a group on November 1st of every year. The reason for the November 1st date is Pope Gregory III, in the sixth century, dedicated a chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to all of the Saints and set the anniversary date as November 1st.

Having been brought up in Cajun country and seeing firsthand the devotion to the Catholic faith here in south Louisiana, I imagine heaven has many many saints with a thick Cajun accent! The most famous of these is known as the “Little Cajun Saint”, Charlene Richard. Charlene left this world at the young age of twelve in 1959. She succumbed to a terminal illness while offering up her sufferings and uniting her cross with Jesus. More than fifty years later, tens of thousands visit her grave site every year to ask for her intercession.

In January 2020, Bishop Deshotel officially opened the cause for canonization of Charlene Richard. This is the first step in a lengthy process to be named a Saint. Charlene’s life will be investigated as well as the many testimonies of miraculous healings attributed to her intercession.

My husband and I have visited Charlene’s grave site over the years and have requested her intercession and prayer. We made a recent trip in early September of this year. I have been suffering from arthritis in my right knee for many years. The pain was close to being intolerable this year. I scheduled an appointment with my orthopedic and expected to be told another shot in the knee would be needed. Instead, I was told a total knee replacement would be needed in the near future. I was given a shot and told I would have to return in three months. This time the shot did nothing. I struggled to walk as every step led to severe pain in that right knee.

I have been blessed to serve as a Eucharistic Minister at my parish church. As I continued to have problems walking, I was forced to ask for a substitute on my weekend to serve. The pain of not being able to serve my Jesus was just as severe as the pain in my knee. The following weekend, I asked my husband to drive me to Charlene Richard’s grave.

The day was lovely and I found the grave site to be just as peaceful as ever. I sat on a nearby bench and prayed. I asked Charlene to pray for me. All I asked for was for the pain to be at a point where I could still stand and serve communion. My husband also joined in praying for Charlene’s intercession. Afterwards, I hobbled towards my husband’s truck; still in severe pain.

There was no difference in my pain or my walk for a couple of weeks. Then once again, it was my turn to serve as Eucharistic Minister at mass. The week leading up to the mass I noticed that I was walking much more easily. The pain in my right knee was still there, but had diminished to a point that I was very capable of serving at mass. And serve I did! I do not consider what happened to me a miraculous healing. I do know that I prayed at Charlene’s grave for a specific intention and that intention was fulfilled! It has been two months and I am still able to walk and serve at mass.

Today on All Saints’ Day, I would like to thank Charlene Richard for her prayers and intercession. I will pray that her cause for sainthood progress so that one day she will be named in the book of Saints.

C’est Bon!

Love Sherry

Missing 1976

A celebration of the Bicentennial of the United States of America was everywhere in 1976. Logos and labels on commercial products were red, white, and blue. Sports’ jerseys proudly displayed the Bicentennial logo. There were parades, exhibits and special performances to celebrate the birth of the nation. Locally, there were flags on homes and red, white, and blue painted mailboxes.

President Gerald Ford, on the morning of July 4, 1976, sailed down the Hudson River aboard the USS Wainwright and Johnny Cash headed up the U.S. Bicentennial parade. Meanwhile, in New Iberia, Louisiana, the Poirrier family held it’s annual Fourth of July picnic. My mother hosted the family picnic and due to the special celebration; the 1976 picnic was a day to remember! Many cousins, aunts, uncles and family friends showed up to celebrate. The day was filled with family fun and food. There were many competitions for us children. I competed in all of them from the three-legged race and long jump to the bubble gum blowing contest. Mom had painstakingly hand-made patriotic plaques for all the lucky winners. I was small and agile those days and showing off my speed. It was a beautiful day!

The men were grilling and enjoying a cold brew. The women were setting the food out on picnic tables and fussing at any kids who were misbehaving. The air was filled with the smell of bar-b-que and the sound of laughter. That afternoon, there was a family baseball game that was as competitive as the Yankees and Red Sox! We returned home in the dark and sat in lawn chairs in the front yard, watching fireworks light up the sky. We were tired, sated with happiness and proud to be an American! Life was good! The family was so appreciative of my mother’s efforts that year, that they pulled together and bought her a professionally made plaque thanking her for the joy of that day.

This memory of mine seems such a stark contrast to the America I see today. We seem to have forgotten the sacrifice of our founding fathers and those who shed blood so that their children and grandchildren could live in a country of freedoms. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the pursuit of happiness came at a great cost. No other nation on earth has created opportunity for generations as this great nation. Has the journey been perfect? Absolutely not – but, then again, there is no perfect in this world. The founding fathers of this nation were given Divine inspired words which formed the Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness- that to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed..”

We must teach our children and grandchildren these truths. This new generation should understand how proud they should be of what this great nation has accomplished. 2026 will bring about the 250th birthday of this land that I love. It is my hope that I will once again see the enthusiasm and patriotism of 1976!

C’est Bon!


God Bless the United States of America!

Sherry, 1976, Dodson Elementary

Saying Goodbye to Oscar

Oscar, 6/10/2004 – 11/04/2020

I have learned that life is a series of letting go. In my fifty-five years, I have let go of many people, places and things. I have let go of childhood and all those childish possessions such as Barbie dolls and crayons. I have said goodbye to my parents’ home when I left the morning of my wedding day and eventually, stood at the door of my own home; watching my three children one by one leave home to start their own journey of life.

With each letting go came new beginnings; new people, new places and new things. My husband and I have moved on from our hometown to settle near our grown children and their families. We have joyously welcomed two daughter-in-laws and several grandchildren. Letting go has brought an abundance of love and instead of lessening, has added to our lives.

Our dog, Oscar, came into our lives when our first child and only daughter left home. He was an empty-nester puppy. He shared over sixteen years of our lives.

Letting go of children is a step by step process. First a mother lets go of the babe she holds in her arms as the child learns to walk, talk, and do things for him or herself. The small child turns into a preteen and teenager, needing their mother less and less, until one day, a fully grown adult is waving goodbye from the driver’s seat of a car. A mother has years of little “letting go’s” so that when the day comes when the child is a child no longer; there is some sadness, but there is much more pride and a sense of accomplishment. This is not so with a dog.

I compared Oscar to my guardian angel. He followed me everywhere. For sixteen and half years he was my shadow. Even when he ached with arthritis and was not well that last year, he rose with me every morning and followed me throughout my morning routine until I left for work. He never waivered in his devotion.

When Oscar turned ten, our vet told me he was considered a geriatric patient. He told me to look for signs and be prepared for a time when he had no “quality of life.” Oscar was a very healthy ten-year-old and I was not worried. I did ask the vet what “signs” would I look for. “He will no longer get up with you in the morning,” was the answer. After Oscar turned fifteen, I did notice a change. He moved slower and more cautiously. His hearing was gone and eyesight was not the greatest. But, every morning, he rose from his bed as soon as I rose from mine.

On November 4, 2020, I rose from my bed and Oscar was walking along side of me. He had been ill most of the year; frail and failing. I had looked for the sign, but Oscar refused to stop rising from his bed when I was up. I knew it was getting too much for him. An appointment had already been made for the end of the week for his goodbye. We never made it. That night, I awoke thinking I had heard Oscar walking on the side of my bed. When I looked over, he was not in his bed, nor at my side. I found him laying on the kitchen floor, dying. I yelled for my husband to join me, and quickly took Oscar into my arms. He died a few minutes later while I held him and thanked him for being the best doggie guardian angel. It was a most painful experience.

On November 5, 2020, I rose from my bed to face my morning routine alone. My little friend was no more.

Those first couple of months were hard. I shed many tears as I grieved and let go. I did know that I wanted another dog. I enjoyed my years with Oscar and began searching for a new little angel to add to our family. The search ended Sunday when little Archie was picked up by my husband and I from a havanese breeder in Texas.

Archie was born on Easter Sunday and he has resurrected my joy! I have already called him Oscar several times; old habits are hard to break! He is very different from Oscar. He is outgoing and always looking for trouble. He has my husband and I in stiches every day!

Life is a series of letting go – but it is also a series of new beginnings. Hearts mend and heal and find room for more to love.

I have the most wonderful memories of my Oscar. I am making new memories with Archie. (He is sleeping on my foot as I am typing this).

C’est Bon


Archie, 4/4/2021

The Mary Tree of Pine Island

During Holy Week 1993, my husband and I and our three children, drove to the small Louisiana town of Pine Island to look at a tree. Word had spread that in a farmer’s rice field, in the middle of nowhere; a tree’s branches had grown into the image of the Virgin Mary and many were making pilgrimages to see this little miracle. We were curious and it was a lovely day for a drive.

We arrived in the early afternoon just as the sun was at its peak in the brightly lit blue sky. Our children were ages one to eight and were getting restless as we came to park our vehicle on the edge of a field. As I exited the vehicle, I was amazed by the sense of calm and stillness in the air. It seemed that we had stepped out of our world and into a spiritual realm that was steeped in peace and joy. The five of us stood near each other basking in the sun’s rays and soaking in the rays of peace and grace in silence. Even the one year old held his tongue and just watched.

Up ahead was the tree. The outline of the branches drew a clear picture in my mind of Our Lady of Grace. This was Cajun country, and there are thousands of homes with a Mary statue in the front yard. As I looked at the tree, I immediately thought of the many statues in my home town, placed lovingly in front of homes, in honor of our lady. I smiled as I gazed upon this creation that seemed divinely inspired.

Just ahead I spotted a group of women; most were holding rosary beads and praying. There was a thrown-together altar at the base of the tree with petitions and rosaries turned gold that were left behind. As we marveled at this site, a woman came over and invited us to look at the rosary she was holding. Rays of sunlight beat down on the tiny beads and the chain that was binding them glistened a golden color. We were told her rosary had turned the golden color while being prayed at the tree. She gladly answered some of our questions as she was a local and had frequented the site from the beginning.

A young woman had first spotted Mary in the tree a few months prior. The woman lived nearby and had looked out her kitchen window, gazing upon what seemed to be the Virgin Mary in a tree. The woman had been grieving the death of her father and the vision gave her comfort. Eventually, the family shared their discovery with others, and word spread…

While standing at the foot of the tree and gazing at the likeness of Mary, we heard a shriek of joy as another woman began to yell out “Jesus.” We followed the group of pilgrims over to her to see what was happening. She had just taken a Polaroid photo of the sun and was holding the picture that developed. It was a perfect photo of the Face of Jesus, in black and white, much like a negative. Tears were streaming down her face and someone told her to take another photo of the sun. Once again she held her camera up and took a picture of the sun. Once again, the Face of Jesus appeared on the developed photo!

What had I just witnessed? Immediately, I regretted not having brought a camera! I looked again at the photo, and there was no denying I saw a face. There was not only one photo, but before we left, there were multiple photos with an image that clearly seemed to be the Face of Jesus.

It was a moment in time that I have never forgotten. It was a moment where it seemed heaven had reached out and touched the earth.

Upon returning home from our short but eventful pilgrimage, my children turned on the television. A special regarding the Shroud of Turin was playing. Amazingly on the screen I saw that face again. The face of the shroud, in a black and white negative, was the face I saw appear on a Polaroid photo in Pine Island, Louisiana! It was a holy week like none other.

Eventually, the farmer cut the tree down. There would be no more pilgrimages, no messages, miracles or any other of the unusual experiences at Marion apparition sites. What was the purpose of the tree?

The first woman to notice the tree, felt it was a sign meant for her family regarding the death of her father. It may well have been an answer to this woman’s prayer for hope and healing. Once word got out and the tree site became a place of honoring our mother and prayer, it became a place of hope and healing for all. True to her ministry, Mary was able to greet us pilgrims and lead us to her Son.

We traveled on a sunny beautiful day to see Our Lady in a tree. We returned home with a beautiful memory of seeing the Face of Jesus.

C’est Bon!

My Spiritual Drink

For My Flesh is true food, and My Blood is true drink. Whoever eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood remains in Me and I in him. John 6:55

This week I received a phone call from my Parish Church secretary telling me that starting May 1st I would once again be able to serve as an Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister. I last served about a year ago; prior to the pandemic. There were several months last year without public Mass. Once the church doors opened to the public, there were a very limited number of Eucharistic Ministers and only His Body was distributed. Still, it was a joyous occasion to once again be apart of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and partake of Christ’s Body.

I know that the Host I consume is all of Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity; however, I find myself longing to also drink from His Spiritual Cup. A meal consist of food and drink. Christ asked His disciples to break bread and drink wine in memory of Him. It greatly saddens me that the Blood of Christ seems to be an afterthought, practically discarded as unnecessary and of less importance.

The times I have served as a Minister of the Eucharist, I have favored giving the Body of Christ. Most of the mass attendees receive the Host lovingly and respectfully, bowing before their Lord before stepping up to receive Him. This is not the case with our Lord’s Blood.

A few years ago, I was waiting to get in the communion line when my eyes settled on my Christ in the Chalice being held by an Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister. My mind and heart were greatly troubled as I saw several people after receiving the Holy Host, bypass the Chalice without so much as a glance His way or a bow. After mass, I was relaying this to my husband, who was driving. I was adamant that Jesus was being dishonored and disrespected by the people not recognizing Him in His Chalice. My husband disagreed. He calmly told me that I was overreacting, (which I sometimes do). He reminded me that the Body of Christ contains all of Jesus as he added, “I see nothing wrong with people…” Suddenly he stopped speaking as the truck he was driving jerked as if my husband jammed his breaks! Just as fast as we were jolted to a stop, the truck again returned to a normal speed. All of this occurred without my husband’s foot ever leaving the gas pedal! Without missing a beat, my husband continued speaking, “…And I think you are absolutely right!”

I have heard people say that they do not drink from the Chalice because of the possibility of catching other people’s germs or sicknesses. I find it hard to believe that the vessel that holds my Lord could be contaminated. Just as Mary was made pure to hold Jesus in her womb, I believe any object that contains the Body and Blood of Christ must also be made pure and immaculate by the Holy Spirit.

I am very much looking forward to May and once again being able to give Christ to people. I also look forward to the day that I can also partake of Him in my Spiritual Drink. When that day comes, it is a choice whether or not to receive His Blood along with His Body. I ask that if one chooses to not receive the Chalice; they remember to be reverent while walking by. It is not wine that you are passing up, it is Jesus Christ Himself.

Then He took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My Body, which will be given up for your; do this in memory of Me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new convenant in My Blood, which will be shed for you.” Luke 22:19-20