Thursday, July 30, 2009

One cannot love...

In June, we visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. In a seemingly random spot in the hills of Wisconsin, it's an incredible peaceful and beautiful place to visit. We met up with one of Dad's best childhood friends and his wife, and headed over to Mass at the Shrine.

As Our Lady is the patron of the unborn, I offered a prayer for wee Baby Roach, who will be born to my Wisconsin Relay friend, Angie, who is due in about 8 weeks. The Mass was beautiful...and humbling when Thomas began screaming at the very top of his lungs. The walls were 100+ feet high, and by the time I reached the doors to exit with him 10 seconds later, his screams were still echoing in the shrine.

When walking back in, I noticed that there was a set of devotional candles in front of St. Gianna Molla. St. Gianna was a physician, working mom and loving wife. When she was pregnant with her fourth child, she was diagnosed with cancer. She was given the option of aborting the child to save her own life, but refused. She underwent surgery while pregnant to remove the tumor from her uterus. Seven months later, a healthy daughter was born.

Her cancer continued to advance and she died two weeks later in 1962 at the age of 39.

St. Gianna was canonized a saint in 2004 and was declared a patron saint of the unborn.

She is (in)famous in our family, as both Mike and I were unplanned pregnancies. Mike named his Portuguese Water Dog after her. { sidenote: In the Mauss family, it's not as sacriligious as one would Mom and Dad's Portie is named after St. Andrew, patron saint of fishermen. For several years, he had a third class relic of St. Andrew in his collar. }

Anyway, after Mass, Thomas and I stopped to light four candles and pray for four babies that were on my heart:
  • Clara Marie - the daughter of one of my close friends and bridesmaids, who miscarried while in the womb
  • Baby Q - the future child of our good friends Brent and Sandra, who are in the process of adopting
  • Baby Mauss - our future niece or nephew
  • Baby ?? - a child that was on my heart, though I didn't know who it was at the time

Prayer is an exceptionally powerful means of reaching out to our God. At the same time, I was lighting these candles, my Mom was beginning a year-long devotional for our family.

We had no idea at the time what was to come over the next few weeks.

I invite you to read the story of our nephew, Gabriel Joseph, over at Mike and Kristine's blog.

It is not an easy story to read, but an intensely beautiful one worth knowing about the beauty and sanctity of life - no matter how young.

Please keep Mike, Kristine, Avila and Gabriel in your prayers.


KCina said...

Beautiful post Shelley! Your brother & sister-in-law are amazing! Keeping them in our prayers.

Have a wonderful weekend!
~ Kathy

Unknown said...

A beautiful, touching post, Shelley. Thank you for sharing.

Those babies will be (or already are!) in my thoughts and prayers, too.

It's amazing how one's perspective shifts when you become a parent, too. My heart aches for Mike and Kristine. May they feel the love and prayers that are surrounding them and Gabriel, too.

Much love to the Ski family.

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