On this eve our Lenten Journey, I felt led to share an incredible experience that Grandma Marge gifted me the week of her passing. The day she passed, she held my left hand very tightly as I knew she was being prepared to continue her next life. My fraternal Grandmother Susie passed on August 15th which is celebrated as the Blessed Mother’s Assumption. Now please keep in mind that Grandma Marge was always early for everything her entire life. Yet, this most important day of which countless rosaries and prayers were said for many throughout her life, her date of crossing over was early on August 16th. Grandma was always someone who would share a joke and make you happy, and we laugh at her intention to celebrate her passing on the Blessed Mother’s Assumption and just missing it. Since there are different time zones throughout the world, we still believe that she was honored to celebrate her passing on that sacred day. Her beloved daughter, Connie (my mom) passed on Easter Sunday the year of her journey to new beginnings. When Mom was here with us, she traveled to Medugorje and with the children visionaries which impacted her total spiritual life.
Several years ago, St. Padre Pio’s Stigmata glove was being presented for blessings at St. Cyril’s and Grandma Marge and her sister, Bobbie took me there for a continual detached retina on my left eye which I was traveling to have surgery on once again. Aunt Bobbie held the framed glove and blessed my eye with a rose petal placed over the glove. Since that time, my left eye has been stable! Needless to say, St. Padre Pio is one of many Patron Saints for me! Aunt Bobbie (whose birthday was the same day as mine) recently passed and her service was held at St. Cyril’s with a beautiful testimony to her faith. Now the two youngest sisters, who were from a family of 11, are now celebrating!
As family arrived and preparations began, I assembled her outfit with her favorite bright pink blouse and of course, her “poppuchies” (slippers in Slovak) together with her crystal rosaries and wedding ring. After I cleaned the wedding ring, I placed it in her rosary pouch which I held in my left hand. Immediately, the center of the palm of my left hand puffed-out like a fast-forward movie. It hurt and I placed ice on it, thinking that it was just a spider bite. Then it began to enlarge and turn blue and sunk into the palm of my hand, as a heart-shaped blue stigmata. It didn’t bleed, but the spiritual empowerment from this gift made me become a channel for Grandma to prepare things for her celebration as I was led to scripture for her readings Daniel 3:52-90 (which I read) and Philippians 1:18-23 (my cousin read). Fr. Tim made an incredible reference to the meaning of pink symbolizing love and commented on her countless acts of mercy and kindness towards others throughout her life. The entire week of preparations I didn’t sleep and was assembling photo albums and visiting with family to prepare the most beautiful celebration of her life with us. It was that week when the corn stalk tassel turned pink in my backyard as well as her yellow butterfly appeared in my garden.
As I carried her rose-painted ashes vase to her resting place, and sat next to her son holding his right hand with my left hand, I knew why I had received this gift from her. It was for her love and healing light to permeate through me into her beloved son. And then the blue heart-shaped stigmata disappeared.