More Showers of Roses from St. Thérèse of Lisieux (Part 3)

Part 3 continues the inspiring and amazing ways St. Thérèse continues to “send down a shower of roses from the heaven” and spend her “heaven doing good upon earth.”

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When it comes to help for families, health, and all kinds of prayerful requests, there’s no limit to the way St. Thérèse finds ways to shower a rose, or roses, in answer to prayers. She manages everything quite well, making the seemingly impossible possible.

Take the experience of Kathleen Fogarty, who writes and records little stories called “Living in His Light” for the local Catholic radio station, Redeemer Radio, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Kathleen’s story also sows a common thread people experience. First, that unusual or unexpected way St. Thérèse brings or delivers the rose. Second, once people get this rose, they never forget it or the details and answer to their prayers.

Kathleen’s story concerns her and her grandmother Marie Frecker, who was also from Fort Wayne and passed away in 1994.

“She had a great devotion to St. Thérèse,” Kathleen said. “My Grandmother would receive roses, and pictures of roses, and all sorts of roses after invoking her little saint.” This one involved her granddaughter who tells the story.

“No Carnations??!! Is the entire town out of carnations?” Kathleen thought to herself when she stepped into the third flower shop on this particular day. Her grandmother Marie was in the hospital and Kathleen and her mother planned to surprise her with a pink carnation.

“Grandma was having a small surgery that day, and we wanted to show our love through the beautiful flower.” They wanted that pink carnation. But the town was dry of carnations.

When Kathleen walked into yet another shop to find no carnations again, she describes how the “sales clerk at the third shop, apologized and timidly added, ‘We did just received a shipment of large red roses.’”

“I’ll take one,” Kathleen said. “Tiptoeing into Grandma’s room, I handed her the long stemmed beauty. She looked at it, amazement and tears forming as said whispered, ‘She answered my novena! St Theresa heard my prayers. You brought me the rose that she always sends when I pray her novena.’”

Kathleen recalls, “In that hospital room, I felt so blessed to be used by this powerful saint to deliver a rose to my Grandmother, which was sent to her by a saint. She took a lot of care to line up all the circumstances so that Grandma would receive her Rose in answer to days of praying her novena.  No wonder there were no carnations available in all three flower shops. Grandma and St Theresa had everything under control.”

 

Marriage or Mirage?

Many folks find themselves asking St. Thérèse to help them out of a dilemma, or with a decision that they want to make correctly but for whatever reason they’re having a difficult time deciding which route to take.

It so happened to Joseph Taylor. He had been friends with for several years a girl named Susan and was indecisive over whether or not he should ask her out on a date. At the time he was a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. He found himself praying about this quandary in the college’s small adoration chapel on campus. It happened to be on Oct. 1, St. Thérèse’s feast day.

Joseph picks up the story. “As I was kneeling before Jesus present in the Eucharist, I was hemming and hawing about what to do. Is this just what I want to do, or is this what God wants me to do? What if I ask and she rejects me and it ruins our friendship? All of these thoughts, questions, and doubts were swirling in my mind.”

He recalled he had a great love for St. Thérèse ever since he had read The Story of a Soul a few years earlier. He frequently prayed for her intercession and very well knew her promise to spend eternity showering roses from heaven.

He decided to pray to St. Thérèse: “St. Thérèse, if I’m supposed to ask this girl to be my girlfriend, send me a flower — but not just any flower, it has to be a rose. But not just any rose, it has to be a pink rose. Further, it has to be unmistakably clear that the rose is meant for me. I don’t want to be driving down the street and catch a glimpse of a flower on the side of the road and think, ‘Oh, hey, that might have been it.’ No, it has to be completely clear and obvious that it is a pink rose that is meant for me. There can be no room for doubt.”

Wow! He wanted to be very picky and specific in his requests to leave no room for misinterpretation. But he remembers that after I prayed this, “I came to my senses and apologized to God and St. Thérèse. ‘I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be demanding signs. That is very presumptuous of me. Mea culpa.’” Then he continued his regular time of adoration.

When he finished praying and left the chapel, as he walked away he saw another student stopped on the sidewalk and just staring at something. When he got closer to her, she looked at him, and without saying a word, pointed to something.

Joseph took a good look. “It was a rose bush, and growing out of it was a single pink rose. On the other side of the sidewalk was a rose bush that was filled with at least a dozen red roses, but this person was pointing out to me the single pink rose.”

He continues, “Even though I was being presumptuous, St. Thérèse helped me out anyway. It gave me the courage to do what I increasingly felt called to do: ask the girl out. And I did. And she said yes.”

After that, did Joseph and Susan both grow in a devotion to St. Thérèse? As he tells it, “We gave out St. Thérèse holy cards as our wedding favors when we got married. We have been married for 14 years. In the hallway outside our bedroom door we have a picture of St. Thérèse hanging on the wall, and on the shelf underneath there is a single pink rose. It serves as a reminder that she is always looking out for us and offering her help.”

 

The Gift of Children

In Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, Lisa Powers also knows of the heavenly connections of the Little Flower though her life-long devotion to St. Thérèse. She shares how “As a young child I loved the pictures of her in my saints’ book. Thérèse was one of five girls and I was one of four, and when I was 8 years old this made me think we had a lot in common!” In her early teens Lisa read The Story of a Soul and was captivated by Thérèse's childhood and life as a young nun in the late 1800s.

In 1997, Lisa traveled to Paris and Lisieux for World Youth Day where Pope John Paul II announced that Thérèse would be declared a Doctor of the Church. Lisa remembers seeing a huge banner emblazoned with a beautiful photo of Thérèse's face as it was being carried through the throngs of young people.

“At that time,” she said, “I started to realize that Thérèse was not a faraway saint, or even just a pretty face in a book, but she was real and also somehow very close to me.” The answer just how close came a few years later after she became engaged in 2003.

“I was 36 and we had been dating for a year,” she began. “I'd been praying for a long time for a spouse.  After becoming engaged I started worrying about my ability to have children.  I had no reason to think there would be a problem (other than my slightly older age), but I was concerned that my (future) husband would be disappointed if we were unable to have children.  He was always talking about having children. I almost felt as if I was deceiving him, so convinced was I that pregnancy would not come easily. And of course I dearly wanted to have children too.”

That’s when Lisa decided to pray a novena to St Thérèse for this intention “weighing so heavily” on her. It wasn’t going to be easy because she admits she “never had much success with novenas.” She found it a big challenge to say a series of set prayers for nine days in a row. This time, however, she said, “I was very focused.”

When she had nearly completed the novena, late one summer afternoon she and her fiancé Mark were driving through Boston. At a stoplight, a man was approaching all of the cars to sell bouquets of roses.

‘Mark bought a bouquet of roses and handed it to me,” Lisa said. “That was my sign and I never worried another minute about fertility.” Her explanation of why that was the sign from St. Thérèse? “In the 18 years that I have known Mark, that is the only time that he has ever spontaneously bought flowers for me. I say that not disparagingly, because he always buys flowers for me on special occasions such as my birthday, Valentine's Day, and our anniversary. But spontaneous gifts have never been his style.”

Their story does not end here. After they married Lisa quickly became pregnant. The baby was due Sept. 10. Not to delay the baptism, she decided they would baptize the baby at the Saturday Vigil Mass that fell between two and three weeks after the baby’s birth.

“I thought that I would have a summer baby as there seems to be a family tendency towards early deliveries,” Lisa said. Not this time. “But the baby arrived a few days late on September 14th.

“After she was born I looked at my calendar to schedule the baptism, and lo and behold, the Saturday that fell between two and three weeks after her birth was October 1, the Feast of St Thérèse. I love that my first child was baptized on the Feast of St. Thérèse.”

And it continued. “Exactly one year later — again on the Feast of St. Thérèse — I found out that I was expecting another baby.  These unlikely coincidences were not unnoticed by me!”

Lisa is assured of something else. She affirms, “I'm pretty sure that St Thérèse has her eye on my family, and especially on my two daughters.”

 

A Saintly Rescue

Seven years ago Dennis Neylon’s wife converted and entered the Church during the Easter Vigil at the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak, Michigan.

“At the time we were trying to avoid foreclosure on our home,” Dennis said. They had tried various alternatives for to get assistance, but to no avail as it fell on deaf ears. A couple of weeks later, they received a letter from the mortgage company. It stated the Neylons would be notified of a hearing where a final decision would be made.

“I told my wife the following Sunday that when we got the letter we should start a novena to St. Thérèse to keep our house,” Dennis said.

Next day he went to a pro-life Mass and Benediction at a nearby parish where he had never been to before.  He described what happened there as the service was ending. “A woman at the end of the row passed something to the woman between us. She then passed it on to me. She whispered that these were rose petals from the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, that I should take one packet and pass them along. It was a small plastic bag with rose petals in it.”

During the closing hymn, the lady next to Dennis turned to him again and told him, “She wants you to have these,” handing him more petals. “They are for you.”

“At that moment,” he recalls, “I felt a great warmth and sense of peace that everything was going to be okay, and I was filled with joy. I didn’t understand what was going on.”

When the service ended he rushed out of the church, got into the car, and called his wife and to ask if she had done anything unusual.

“I prayed to St. Thérèse about the house,” she told him. “Why, did I do something wrong?”

“No, you didn’t,” he answered, then told her what had just happened. “I was giddy with joy and peace. I went home and shared the petals with her and told her about the connection between praying to St. Thérèse and rose petals.”

“What’s going to happen?” she asked.

“I don’t know, but everything’s going to be okay,” he reassured.

Next day, they got a call from the lady at the mortgage company. She asked to meet with Dennis and to bring all their paperwork. After going over everything carefully, he reports that she said, “I think I may be able to work something out. I’ll call you before the end of the week.”

At that moment Dennis suddenly felt he should tell her about Monday night. “I shared with her what had happened and showed her the petals I had put in my wallet,” he explained. “She said she wasn’t Catholic and didn’t exactly understand, but she could see the strength of my faith. This was Wednesday. Thursday, she called me and asked if we could pay the five missed payments right now. I said, ‘No’, and she said she expected that and would call me back.

“Friday, she called and said everything had been worked out. We were getting a new mortgage at a lower rate, and the missed payments would be due at the end of the mortgage. St. Thérèse kept us in our house!”

The Little Flower has a way of making what seems impossible possible.