In May 2008, I was granted an interview at the IHM Motherhouse in Southeastern Michigan (Editor’s note: A community of Catholic nuns; IHM stands for “Immaculate Heart of Mary”), for a position as the Administrative Assistant to the President of the Community, Sister Mary Fran Gilleran. The interview went well.
Let me pause here and mention a bit about my prayer background. I am Catholic, and I have a favorite saint, Therese of Lisieux, “The Little Flower”. When people pray to Therese for an intervention, a common way that she sends confirmation of having heard the prayer is that a rose appears. The rose often appears in an unmistakably coincidental place or time that adds to the feeling of the design of the moment. When a rose confirms that my prayer has been heard, I have a peacefulness within my spirit, so to speak. I feel OK. It releases that element of doubt that I had. It gives me that light at the end of the tunnel. It makes me feel good that it’s an answer.
Now back to the story of the job. I was called back for a second interview, and after that, they called me and said they would like to offer me the position, and if you are interested, this is the package, etc. And I said, “Well, I’d like to discuss it with my husband.”
At about the time I got that call, I had been in the yard. In that yard I have about five rose bushes along the side of the house. I’m very partial to roses because of Saint Therese of the Little Flower. On that day, there were a handful of blossoms. Literally five or six blossoms on the bushes.
I didn’t act on the offer right away because I had not worked for a religious organization in the past and had other options. I needed time to think. A week later, my husband and I were in the yard doing yardwork, not near the roses, and he said, “Have you made a decision yet, if you’re going to take the job?“ I said, “Ah, I don’t know, it’s kind of a pay cut, but it might be something different.” He said, “Well I think your decision’s been made! Look over there at your rose bushes!” And there were, easily, 200 blossoms on my pink, white and yellow rose bushes. And so I said, “I think you’re right. I think my decision’s been made!”
So I went from there and accepted the position. When I went in on my first day of work, I stopped at a floral shop and picked up a pink, white and yellow rose and wrote this story in a card to Sister Mary Fran, my new boss. I said, “I just have to tell you, I feel I was inspired to take the job for more reasons than one, but this was just living proof.” I found out that I was not the only one that found roses to be important. She always had a huge bowl of dried roses on her desk. But during her life, she never told me her stories about the roses. Only last year did I hear from you, Bill, one of her rose stories. (Editor’s note: One of the roses that Sister Mary Fran Gilleran kept framed on a wall was the rose that survived a cremation furnace when all other items in that furnace were turned to ash. See that story on Wtness.org: Rose Cremated with Body of Father Jack)
After taking the position at the IHM Motherhouse, I felt an inner strength; peacefulness in myself. I truly believe God wanted me to be here!!
Ann from Monroe, Michigan
Editor’s Commentary on praying to someone other than Jesus From Bill Schaef, editor: Since this website is written for any person interested in Christianity, whether Catholic or Protestant, who don’t believe in praying to anyone except the holy Trinity (God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit), when Ann was asked to comment on praying to someone other than Jesus, here is how she responded:
Ann: That other person, like Therese, is with Jesus right now. I feel like that person is a representative of what God wants to happen on this Earth, and they’re still continuing their works, even from heaven by sending you signs and being there for you. Now that she’s in heaven, there can be no doubt Therese knows exactly what He wants, and I have no doubt that she wants to do exactly what He wants, especially because she wanted to please Him so much even while she was on earth. I have this little St. Therese prayer that’s probably 100 years old, and I truly believe it, and it might answer what you are getting at.
When St. Therese passed away and went to heaven, she was only 24 years old. And she wrote,
“I count fully on not remaining idle in heaven. My longing is to labor even there for the church and souls. I ask it of God, and I am certain He will be here; He will hear my prayer. Even now I know all my hopes will be realized. Yes, our Lord will work wonders for me that will indefinitely surpass my boundless desires. I feel that my passion is soon to begin, my mission to make others love the good God as I loved Him, to give to souls my little way of trust and self-surrender. I will spend my heaven on doing good upon Earth. Nor is this impossible since from the very heart of the beatific vision and the angels keep watch over us. No, there can be no rest for me until the end of the world. But when the angel shall have said, “Time is no more”, then I shall rest, and I shall be able to rejoice because the number of the elect will be complete.”
And that’s how I feel. You have to be a believer, and then it makes sense.
Bill Schaef: Prior to deciding whether to publish this story, I consulted with a Protestant medical doctor who is an advisor on this site. He writes here as John T. Spencer. We were debating whether to publish this story at all, as there is nothing we could think of in the Bible that suggests we can pray to anyone other than the Holy Trinity. In fact, John Spencer quoted this verse:
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” 1 Tim 2:5. (KJV)
Despite that, we both decided to include it, given that it was evident that Ann has had a truly spiritual experience and it guided her to make the right choice for her and others. Then, a surprise. A confirmation. Five days ago, I had made a note on my mobile phone’s calendar for Sunday, Sept. 29 to carve out time to write some Editor’s notes for this story to make it more palatable for our Protestant brothers and sisters. However, I didn’t quite know how to approach it. On the morning of Sunday, Sept 29, I went to church at my church in Birmingham, Michigan, and the Gospel reading coincidentally had the answer squarely in it. It was Luke 16:19-31. It’s the story about the rich man dressed in purple who dined sumptuously every day, but would not give even the scraps from his table to a poor man named Lazarus who was lying at his door. Both men died and went in different directions; Lazarus to the bosom of Abraham to be comforted, and the rich man to the place of tormenting flames. Jesus, who is telling the story, would only tell something that is possible. Here is what He said (my synopsis):
The rich man cried out to Abraham, across the great chasm that separated them, and Abraham was able to hear the rich man, and explain to him heaven's stance.
It occurred to me that here is the example I was looking for of someone speaking to a heavenly being other than the Holy Trinity, and of that other person being able to provide an answer, as a representative of the kingdom, in full conformity with the will of the Father, whom Abraham undoubtedly knew very well by this time.