Over the course if the next several weeks, I will be publishing my story, as wife, mother, sister and daughter. This is the evolution of how a little girl can change the course of her mother’s story, can change the course of her heart. If your new to this blog, please begin here.
Chapter 17 ~ Surprises Unlimited
I slept like a log that night.
The next morning after breakfast, Father Mike found us. He filled Jerry in on what the protocol would be when we called home.
“Mary, are you ready to make the call.”
I was beaming. “Yes, let’s go.”
We headed down to the phone booths where I had called home days before. As luck would have it, the only booth that was free was the same one I had used before. Yes, God does have a sense of humor.
My hands were shaking as I dialed the church number. The secretary answered and we exchanged pleasentries. I asked if Father G. was there and she said no. He was away for a few days but Father Specht was there.
My heart dropped through my feet. Father Specht was a very serious man and not known for his bubbling personalirty. He was a former Naval Submariner and had a reputation of being rather unbending.
Oh No! We were so close…
I weakly asked to speak to him. I handed the phone to Father Mike. “Good Luck” I said.
Father Mike explained what had happened and what Bishop Curlin wanted to do. He laughed several times and the two priests chatted for almost fifteen minutes then he handed the phone back to me.
“Hello?” I asked tepidly.
“Mar. How are you doing?”
“Mar”? Had the man been drinking? He sounded almost giddy. This could not be the same Father S. I knew.
“Yes, Father I’m here. Um…Are we going to be able to do this?”
“Mary when the Bishop calls and asks to do something, especially something as wonderful as giving Courtney First Communion, there is no way I am going to disagree. This is just glorious, just glorious. God and Our Lady are just moving mountains over there aren’t they?”
Glorious? I had never heard him say that before. I was stunned. I could not believe what I was hearing. He had said yes.
He said YES!!
“Father, I look forward to telling you all about it when we get home. I can never thank you enough for allowing this. Thank you.”
“Mary make sure she puts on her finest next weekend. She can make her second communion here with your family group. I am serving that Mass and Courtney should be with her classmates.”
“I will Father. I will. Thank you so much.”
“I look forward to seeing you Sunday. It will be a glorious event. Wonderful.”
We said our goodbyes and I hung up. This was going to happen. It was actually going to happen. I looked at Father Mike and then suddenly I was hugging him. “Thank you Father. Thank you.”
He laughed “Your welcome. Thank Our Lady. It’s her work. I will talk to His Grace and decide on a day to do this. I will find you later. God Bless.”
“God Bless Father.” I needed to call Jonathan. I needed him to know something special was happening.
I stepped back into the phone booth and dialed my friend Kathy M.’s house. She answered and I told her what had happened. She was so happy for us.
“So many prayers have been said Mary. The homeschool group has had you covered in prayer 24 hours a day since you left.” she said.
“How’s that?” I asked.
“We had everyone sign up for periods of prayer. There has been someone praying for you and Courtney since you got on the plane. Twenty four hours a day. They are going to be so excited to hear about this. So excited!”
I was floored. Twenty-four hours a day someone was praying for us. Amazing…we are so loved…thank you Jesus, thank you…
“Kathy, I can never thank you and Dave enough for being there for us. I just done’t know how we would have done this. Thank you.”
“Your welcome. It’s our pleasure. I’ll get Jonathan for you.”
I waited a moment and then I heard what sounded like a herd of elephants coming to the phone.
“Hi Mom!” Jonathan was slightly out of breath but didn’t see any worse for wear after the last phone call home. “Are you coming home soon?”
“Yep, three more days and we will be home. How are you doing? Is everything OK now? Did you talk to Grandma and Grandpa? Are you OK?”
“I’m OK Mom. Grandpa explained how things work. God never makes mistakes Mom. Sometimes miracles happen later and sometime they happen and we don’t ever see them. But God knows whats going on. He is still there. So I need to keep praying for Courtney.”
“Grandpa’s right buddy. We all need to keep praying. Hey, guess what?”
“What?” he asked in return.
“You sister is going to receive her First Communion this week. How amazing is that?”
“Yep, she sure is. Then she gets to do it again on Sunday with Sarah and Lauren and the other kids from Family Group.”
“But Courtney gets to do it first, right Mom? She gets to have her First Communion first.” He was laughing.
“I know. It will be the first time Courtney is first in anything. What do you think?”
“I think God doesn’t make mistakes.”
A tear slipped down. “No bud. God does not make mistakes. I love you so much Jonathan. I miss you buddy. I need to get back to Daddy and Courtney. I will see you later this week. I love you!”
“Love you too, Mom. Tell Courtney I’m happy for her. Give her a hug for me OK. Make sure she knows it was from me.”
“I will buddy. I will.”
He handed the phone back to Kathy M. and I thanked her again for her help. I hung up and called my Mom at work. By the time I hung up she was in tears. Happy tears for once.
How quickly life can change when you let go and let God. Now all I had to do was find a dress for my girl to wear on her special day. I headed back upstairs and found Jerry and Courtney waiting for me in the lobby. Kathryn, the Dame I had literally run into last night came up to say hello.
“Mary, I am glad I found you.”
“Hi Kathryn. Where did you say that shop was?”
“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about. The shops in town are closed today. It’s a holiday and they won’t re-open until tomorrow at ten. By then you guys will be on the bus for your day trip to the Pyrenees Mountains. I’m so sorry, sweetie.”
“Oh…well I guess she’ll wear her Sunday outfit we brought form home them. It has a white blouse with it. That will be fine.”
“Mary, God doesn’t care what she wears. It will be fine.” Jerry said “All that matters is that she receives the Sacrament.”
“He’s right Mary. It will all work out the way Our Lady and her Son intend. Go enjoy your day. I’ll see you for dinner tonight.” She stooped down and gave Courtney a kiss on her head. Two more days little one. Two more days.” Then she headed off.
Jerry and I spent the day touring the different Cathedrals and lots of quiet time in the Grotto. We walked through the town and then headed back to the hotel. Miss Court needed her nap and we were hungry. After lunch we headed back to our room. All of a sudden we were both exhausted. We put Courtney between us on the double bed and we napped until dinner.
That night we walked down to the Grotto with the Bishop and Father Mike, just the five of us. Bishop Curlin asked about Courtney and her daily life, her medical situation and how we though the trip was going.
Jerry chuckled and told him how this “was the most Catholic that I have ever been.”
The Bishop chimed in “It’s that kind of place. It makes you wonder at the power of prayer and the majesty of our traditions. It is a place of healing and peace. I love coming here.”
I loved it too.
The next morning, we headed out for a day trip to the Pyrenees Mountains. It was our only day out of Lourdes and Jerry and I were really looking forward to it. A large group of us would be having lunch at a retreat at the base of the mountains. It would take about an hour to get there.
We were loading Courtney unto the bus when Kathryn and one other Dame that was part of our group climbed onto the bus. They approached our seat.
“Mary, I am so glad we caught you. Peg and I are headed out on a flight to Bethleham this afternoon to work in the Knights of Malta hospital there. We leave in an hour so we wanted to make sure you got this before we left.”
They handed me a wrapped box. I was a little surprised.
“Go ahead and open it,” Peg said. They both had smiles on their faces.
I ripped the paper and opened the box. I gasped. Then I started to cry.
Nestled in the folds of beautiful pink tissue paper lay a white Communion dress made of polished cotton. I lifted it out of the box. The bodice was sleeveless and simple with no design. The skirt was tiered with three layers. It had a little bolero jacket to go with it made out of the same fabric. It would look beautiful on my girl.
” I don’t know what to say. I can’t believe it. you said the stores were closed.”
“We’re not done yet.” Kathryn handed me another box.
Inside that one was a stunning veil with a cross embroidered in satin ribbon.
“There will be someone form the local floral shop that will come measure Courtney’s head this evening. They will make up a crown of flowers with her to wear with her veil. It will be made up of the same flowers Bernadette would have worn. I just wish we were going to be here to see it.”
“How? How did you do this?” I stuttered.
“I have a friend who owns the English book store here in town. I called last night and explained what we wanted to do. She called the children’s dress shop owner who agreed to open at 6:30 a.m. this morning so we could shop. I think it should be a pretty good fit. Courtney looks to be about the size of my granddaughter.”
I could not believe what was happening. I looked at Jerry and he had tears in his eyes. He looked away. I had asked God to show up in a BIG way. I looked down at the dress. On the tag it said “Made in Paris”. I laughed. My daughter would be receiving Our Lord in dress made in Paris, France. I would say that this entire event had taken on a HUGE quality, a MIRACULOUS air.
I carefully folded the dress back into the box and stood to hug both of these incredibly kind and generous women. They wished us well and then went and kissed Miss Courtney. By the time they left the bus, they both were wiping their eyes. I sat down and looked at Jerry.
“Can you believe this is happening? I just have no words. I can’t believe this is happening.”
“Well your prayers were answered. Your daughter has a white dress to go with her white Reebok high tops. Now that’s Parisian fashion at it’s best.” He answered laughing.
“Nope…it’s Courtney fashion and I cannot wait to see her in the dress and veil. Tomorrow can’t come soon enough for me.”
Courtney started laughing. I guess she couldn’t wait either.
Copyright 2011 ~ Mary E. Lenaburg
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