By: Sr. Shawn Pauline, O.C.D.
The phone rang. A terrible accident had just occurred. One of her grandchildren had just been in an accident on the farm.
The faith I witnessed in that moment was enough to never forget my grandmothers’ rosary.
It was my cousin Drew. He had been driving the farm tractor when it accidentally flipped into a deep valley on the side of the road. Being only twelve years of age, it was my first encounter with a trauma that threatened the life of one whom I loved. I watched my grandmother receive the news in shock, and then in awe I saw this woman of faith turn to God. In what means did she pray? What do you say when you are at a loss for words? What do you cry out when fear grips your soul, and the powerless grasp of your human littleness is choking your throat. Looking up to God and with a bold instinct through Mary, she picked up her rosary and began to pray out loud. Then she invited me into her union with God through His Mother.
The witness of her faith in that moment lasts like a brazen brand on my heart. In time of need go to Mary, and pray the rosary. When you don’t have the words, give it to Mary. Although Drew was seriously injured that day, he was alive, and within a few hours he was on the road to a long recovery.
Such rock solid faith was carved in the heart of my grandmother, whom we affectionately called, “Oma”. Oma, a native of the Netherlands, learned the importance of prayer from her devout Catholic parents. She lived through the horrors of World War II, and even escaped near death when a bomb shell fell through the roof of their house. The bomb shell never detonated, and to this day its shell sits shelf-bound to remind our family of God’s providential care. At the moment of that air raid, Oma was on her knees in the basement, praying the rosary. She knew who had spared their lives.
Riding in the car with Oma always meant praying a rosary and it gave me a sense of God’s closeness. Her holy and tender heart made me want to pray. With Oma, praying the rosary was not a penance, but a joy. Her devotion was so inviting, and her gentleness made one feel so loved. Having ten children Oma, intended that they should all learn this powerful means of prayer. Faithfully the whole family prayed the rosary each night before dinner on their knees.
This is the faith that she passed to my mother, who in turn passed it on to me. And so goes the chain of faith, like the chain of the rosary that links our souls to God. Faithful pilgrims on the journey know that the road of life can be rough, yet what tender links of gospel love we finger upon each bead. A grateful heart I lift to God for the witness of my grandmother’s rosary.