Saturday, December 4, 2010

Blessed Maria Fortunata Viti (Feb. 10, 1827 to Nov. 20, 1922)

  "A mother holds her children's hands for a while, their hearts forever." (Author unknown)

  As I was falling asleep last night, I could hear my mother's cheerful voice in the distance like she was in the next room. It was a comfort knowing she was nearby, although I was too tired to get up and speak with her.
  But, just a few minutes later, she came into my room to say goodnight.
  "Where are you?" I asked her although I could see her beside my bed.
  "I'm right here with you," she answered.
  "No. I mean, where are you, really?" I asked, again.
  I was a bit confused because my mother died more than 11 years ago. Yet, I could see her and hear her familiar voice while I was in a semi-dream state. I wanted her to say she was in Heaven or give me some type of clue about the afterlife.
  When I awoke the today, my eyes were puffy like I'd been crying. I thought about last night and tried to piece together what it all had meant. It could be that my mother was trying to tell me she was with me unconditionally. To paraphase, Matthew 28:20: "I am with you always, even until the end of the world."
  Before my mother died from cancer, I tried to get her to take milk thistle as an alternative to chemotherapy once it had spread from her colon to her liver. She took her doctor's advise like she should have but, just weeks before her death, my mother said, "I should have listened to you. Maybe the milk thistle would have worked. I just didn't want to take something that might make me feel sick."
  My mother trusted her doctors, although they admitted to giving her the wrong treatment during a major operation and wanted us (the family) to file a law suit, which we didn't.
  I assured my mother that she was going to get stronger and, when she did, we would try an alternative treatment.
  Now, more than a decade after her death and the day after my strange "dream," I went into the local coffee shop and looked in the beverage cooler. The first thing that jumped out at me was a line of drinks called RESCUE (by the makers of Arizona iced teas). Right on the bottle, it said milk thistle in big letters. Why was I being reminded of this? Was it a subtle hint from my mother that she could really see me? Was I making something out of nothing because I wanted to believe?
  The mystery continued tonight.
  Two months ago, I lost a cuff bracelet made from silver, shell, and turquoise. The more time has gone by, the more I thought I'd never see it again.
  I knew it was in my house, although I had searched every corner of it. I checked every inch of my car and even called a local clothing store to see if I had left it in the dressing room.
  So, tonight, I decided to play a little game. I had nothing to lose, since the bracelet was already missing.
  I said in a quiet voice in my bedroom loft, "Mom, if you really can see me, then tell me where my cuff bracelet is."
  All of a sudden, the energy in my body made me go over to my bed and kneel down on the floor. I had already looked there numerous times before, but now I was drawn to the head of the bed. I looked underneath and didn't see a thing.
  Then, I squinted and just beneath the radiator was what looked like the ends of the silver bracelet. It gave me chills.
   Skeptics might say that I forced myself to concentrate and that's how I located the bracelet. But, that's not the case here. I was drawn to the most unlikely place in the house. How did it get there in the first place?
  My mother used to say she'd give anything just to see her late father for one day. I didn't know what she meant until I lost her.
  My aunt told me that before my mother died she said to her, "Betty, I'm going to miss my children."
  What did she mean? How will she miss us when she's dead?
  Then, I think about St. Francis of Assisi (he's my only reason I believe that there is something after we die) and his famous quote: "It is in dying that we are born to eternal life."
  Blessed Maria Fortunata Viti is a patron against the loss of parents. She was born in Veroli, Frosinone, Italy on Feb. 10, 1827. Her father was a heavy drinker and gambler and her mother died when she was a teenager.
  Blessed Maria Fortunata Viti worked as a domestic servant to support her eight siblings. She joined the Benedictines at age 24 and remained with them for more than 70 years. She was devoted to the Blessed Sacrament and lived as a humble and hardworking person.
  After her death on Nov. 20, 1922, numerous miracles happened in her name. Blessed Maria Fortunata Viti was beatified on Oct. 8, 1967. Her feast day is Nov. 20.

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