Years ago my sister Kate gave me a lovely book to read called “Our Lady of the Lost and Found” by Diane Schoemperlen, it was terrific. Such a step back into time of reflection, it was rather like having a best loved Aunt stop by and explain the simplicities of the Universe to you. Just how all the grand things really boil down to people just needing to be loved. It also covered in it’s course the how and why the Virgin has miraculously appeared over the years to people who needed her and in doing so helped them get through this life with the assurance that this is only a temporary station, and really it would be all right in the end.
In this book, Mary shows up at this lady’s house just before May and asks to stay with her for awhile and rest up for the month of May (her busiest). Well of course the Lady says sure, and while Mary is around she and Mary get to talking about some of Mary’s appearances over the years. The point is it is that Mary is always around. You just have to look for her but when you finally go looking she surrounds you with her constancy and calmness. It really will be alright. Well, I read this book, thought it lovely and returned it to Kate.
Shortly after, I was driving past an old farm in our area that for years I’ve watched because they had on one side a closed up old fruit stand still in good condition and on the other side just barely viewed from the street and very old tiny cemetery. Call me silly or whatever you want but I love cemeteries..and this old Iron railing fenced one set way back on their property proved to be just a magnet to me a lover of local history. I could never screw up the courage to go up that long driveway and knock on that front door to seek permission though. I wanted to, but the ranch house sitting on that rise seemed a little reserved and forbidding. Very Private. So I’m driving by about a year ago and I notice a yard sale in the old fruit stand. Well I went whipping by before I realized this was not an opportunity to be missed. I made a u turn and and went back and parked in front of the stand and proceeded to get out and buy an old glass pie dish. I left again…and started kicking myself before I’d gone 100 feet, tortured by the thought that I was too afraid to ask if I could peruse the old cemetery. I said to hell with my fright and went back and asked the lovely girl with the cash box If I could take a look at the cemetery. She took one look at me huffing and puffing and realized that I was having a little tough time breathing and wasn’t likely to be threat. She said sure, and also just drive your car back and If you see my Dad back there just tell him your going to visit the Cemetery, take as long as you like.
Well, driving way back on that long long driveway that ended with the rise in the land I could see waiting at the end of the drive surrounded by a small flower garden a statue of Our Lady. I had just returned the book to Kate and was somewhat startled to see Mary already showing up. Well I got out and walked over to the far side of the house and took a look at this wonderful old cemetery and sure enough on my way back to my car, this lovely girl’s Dad came out from working in the garage and said “Hi!” he wanted to know if I enjoyed history and started sharing such a great amount of terrific history I asked If I could possibly return and take notes while he gave me the history of his farm and the area. He said yes and I returned and heard wonderful amazing tales of his postwar service (protecting the Japanese as they left China after the war) how he met his wife, how they’d run the farm business over the years and diversified into insurance to survive the bad farm years, how they had the first farm roadside stand in the area. It was amazing and delighting and sure enough just before leaving who should I see at the end of a hallway but a terrific portrait of Our Lady. This led us to his story of his wife and himself meeting the Pope (John Paul II). His Polish heritage and how his daughter (the same one at the cash box at the yard sale) had made and paid for all the arrangements to visit Rome for their Wedding Anniversary. Well it seems these wonderful souls had been sending box after box of much needs foods and medicine to Poland before and after the Second World War. There were mutual friends (clergy) who made it possible for them to attend a Mass that the Pope celebrated. After the Mass as the Pope passed this Gentleman Farmer from Ohio, caught his attention and the Pope stopped and thanked and blessed him saying how he could remember all the help from the Polish in the United States. He would never forget. So grateful. Stunning stories found by the roadside, when you stop to ask, people just want to be asked.
And now my daughter Susan is going to contribute her own take on this Mary appearance stuff. It seems that Mary’s currently traveling in Susan’s trunk. The girls ( my sisters T and Marg ) have sold the old family house in Lakewood and I had asked Therese if nobody else stepped forward to ask for the statue we had all given Dad years ago on Fathers Day, could she come out to my house? Now Susan will bring her out on Sunday and She’ll be staying here amongst my flowers. So there you go…Mary’s always there. Just look… and P.S. It really will be O.K.