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04 January 2009 @ 12:19 am
Shower of Heavenly Roses  
Stories of the intercession of St. Therese of Lisieux

taken from Shower of Heavenly Roses.
titles of stories were changed to summarize what is under each LJ cut
I transposed it myself so sorry for any typos or anything.


loss of childhood innocence, healing, and rose petals

I used to tell God that if He ever answered this prayer, I would consider it a miracle. We have two children, a boy named Simon and a girl named Carly. There are nine years between them and something went terribly wrong when Carly was five, something so horribly unspeakable, it changed our lives for ten long years.

When Carly was thirteen, she confessed to me that her brother had molested her for years, swearing her to complete secrecy. This shocking news threw our family into an upheaval of overwhelming pain and misery. It literally tore us apart. Carly mournfully revealed how deeply this situation had affected her mind, how she suffered flashbacks and relived the torture every time she looked at her brother. She told me for years she tried to block out the whole experience, but to no avail. It particularly came to a head one day after Simon had been away for six months, and his sudden return made the memories come flooding back to her to the point where she could no longer bear it.

Devestated for my daughter and my family, I made arrangements for Carly to see a counselor. She refused to allow her brother to attend the sessions, as she could not face him. Before long, she stopped going altogether - the memories were just too painful.

One night, after Simon had been in the house, I went into Carly's room to check on her. When I opened the door I could tell by the look on her face we were in trouble. We took her to the hospital and had her admitted under a suicide watch. A week later, Carly returned home with an appointment to see a psychiatrist. She was found to be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress and a dissaciative disorder in which she suffered from multiple personalities, only in her case they were all her own personalities at different ages.

At this time, Carly had started living at school, and she eventually refused to go to any more therapy session. Then, late one night, we got a call from our daughter that she was planning to die. Fortunately, we got to her in time and again she was hospitalized. This time, she dropped out of school and came home to live with us. We could not allow Simon to come home while Carly was there. For ten years he did not come home for Christmas or even call on the phone for fear she might answer. We had to go to him. Mind you, my son was living in the same hell as the rest of us. He was so sorry for what had happened and wanted to heal his sister, but Carly was not ready to able to forgive her brother. She even called him from time to time, threatening to call the police and have him put in jail. Our family lived in complete and utter misery during this time with no hope of ever escaping this nightmare. No matter how much I prayed for peace and forgiveness to heal our family, the situation remained the same.

Just about the time I was reaching my breaking point, the reliquary of St. Therese was passing through town. My son, through an unusual turn of events, became the driver for the "Theresemobile". He spent three days driving the sacred relics from church to church, and all the time he was with the holy saint he begged for her intercession.

Three weeks later, Carly saw her brother driving on the street and mentioned it to me in passing. This may not seem miraculous to an outsider, but bear in mind Carly had not mentioned Simon's name once in ten years. (She even for a while, when asked if she had siblings, told people she was an only child.) I told my daughter that Simon had seen her as well, but didn't want to upset her by waving. What Carly said next shocked me so profoundly I thought I might faint on the spot. She said matter-of-factly that she wasn't angry anymore, it just wasn't worth it, and to tell Simon the next time to wave. Only a month before, she had made one of her threatening phone calls to him!

A few more weeks passed by. Carly and I were at a local hospital to visit someone. Just as we were about to enter the room, Simon walked out. There they stood, brother and sister, face-to-face for the first time in years. I was so scared I couldn't even breathe. Carly told Simon that things were okay, that she was feeling good. I thought I was dreaming. It was truly the miracle I had been seeking.

I am confident that St. Therese had interceded for my daughter and that God graced Carly with the power to forgive. It still brings tears to my eyes whenever I think about that moment. Carly hold me later that for years she had out-of-body experiences, which is common for her disorder. She said one day (shortly after her brother had started prayer to St. Therese) that she felt all the other parts of her personalities become one. She was so frightened she started crying because she didn't know what was happening. Now we all recognize this as a miraculous healing.

Just so we would never doubt St. Therese's involvement in this matter, we received the proverbial sign of roses. I had asked Simon to get me some of the roses from the reliquary, which he did. I had planned to keep some of the petals and give the rest to my mother. I carefully placed the rose petals in an envelope to save. A few months passed and I forgot all about the petals until my husband went to give Carly something in an envelope. When she opened it, she asked ,"What's with all the rose petals?" I looked and realized that it was the same envelope I used to save the petals. I have no recollection of putting that envelope back in the box. To me, it was St. Therese sending roses from her reliquary that were delivered from my son's hands into my daughter's. It was the ultimate sign of forgiveness.

Today, my children are on very good terms and my daughter is mentally healthy, happily married, and expecting her first child. She is thinking of making her brother the godfather. My children together bought me a three-foot statue of St. Therese, which is one of my greatest treasures. Without this dear saint's intercession and the power of forgiveness, nothing would have ever changed in our family. I am truly blessed. Thank you, St. Therese of Lisieux.




Living to the fullest?

On June 7,1997, I was staying at my father's house in Maryland with some friends while my father was in Europe for a few weeks. During this time, my friend Elizabeth introduced me to St. Therese of Lisieux and gave me a copy of her novena. She told me this was a very powerful prayer. I was intrigued by the story of roses, and immediately began meditating on the novena. I even made a photocopy of it and placed it in my wallet.

Fifteen minutes later, another friend who was staying with us came back from breakfast. She carried in her hands a freshly plucked pink rose, which she promptly placed on the kitchen table. I was astonished. I couldn't believe a response could happen so quickly. But this was only the beginning.

That night, I had a dream in which a woman appeared to me. She was a nun, with a beautiful countenance and wearing a brown habit. (It is important to understand that I at this point had no preconceived idea of what St. Therese looked like, as there was no image of her on the novena prayer card in my wallet.) The woman in the dream said to me, "When you die, you will be united with Jesus." She then proceeded to place a set of brown Rosary beads around my neck. (I would later discover that brown rosaries were often affiliated with [Carmelite nuns, the Order of Religious that Therese belonged to].

I immediately woke up from the dream at 5:30 in the morning. I told my friend, Elizabeth, who was sleeping on the couch at the moment. Her feeling was that the woman in the dream was most likely St. Therese. A few days later, we drove home. After arriving at my friend's house, I asked her aunt what St. Therese looked like. The aunt produced a framed picture of St. Therese that she kept in her bedroom. To my amazement, it was the same nun who appeared to me in the dream!

After this profound experience, Elizabeth and I decided to go to St. Charles Seminary in Philadelphia for a conference they were having on St. Therese. Ironically, they were celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the death of the Little Flower ["Little Flower" - an affectionate nickname for the adorable St. Therese]. I sat through the lectures and listened intently as each professor presented a slightly different interpretation of Therese's writings. I distinctly remember one professor who lectured on the suffering of St. Therese. She said, "Where there is suffering, there is mercy." This, to me, is the essence of the teachings of St. Therese.

After the conference, I purchased her [St. Therese's] autobiography, Story of a Soul. I wanted to find some evidence that she used the word "united" in her writings to confirm my vision, as I was still a bit skeptical. Sure enough, I found the words "united with Jesus" throughout her writings. There was more than enough evidence that reflected the same languaged this saint used to me in my dream. Without a doubt, Therese was passionate about being united to Jesus.

After my spiritual experiences with St. Therese, I decided I wasn't living up to my fullest potential. I always wanted to have a music degree, but had never pursued one. The same weekend that St. Therese was proclaimed Doctor of the Church - October 17, 1997 - I enrolled in college. I now have a music degree (cum laude) and recently have been matriculated into graduate school.

St. Therese has had a profound influence on my spiritual life. I hope that this testimonial will change your life in some way and unite you more closely to Jesus though the intercession of St. Therese of Lisieux.




Life After Death

My mother and I were very close, so close that it is hard to explain in words the wonderful relationship I had with her. She had breast cancer and, after a thirteen-year battle, passed away on September 20, 2001.

When October 1 came along, I invited a friend of mine to a Mass in honor of the Little Flower ["Little Flower" - an affectionate name for St. Therese] at the Carmelite Monastery in Latrobe. She, too, has a special fondness for the Little Flower, and I thought she might enjoy being at the monastery and celebrating the feast of St. Therese.

We arrived at the monastery and, as I knelt down in prayer, I offered my Mass for my mother, that she would be happy in heaven. I just wanted her to be at peace. It was a beautiful Mass, at the end of which the Carmelite sisters distributed blessed roses, and we all went home.

The next day was a beautiful October day. I decided I should put my porch furniture away for winter, knowing we would not have many more nice days like this one. I carried the furniture, piece by piece, into the garage until I was finished.

In order to understand what happened next, I have to mention that my mother had given me a climbing rose bush that grew beautifully, year after year, until this last year. Therefore, in early spring, I asked my husband to cut off all the dead branches and throw them away in the hopes that the plant would grow better. My husband did as I asked, but I never realized that instead of throwing the dead branches away, he tossed them in a pile just outside of the garage. I supposed I had been too caught up in caring for my very sick mother to notice them.

On my last trip out of the garage after putting the porch furniture away, I spotted in the corner of my eye something small and colorful. Looking down, I saw the dead branches, brown and leafless, yet from one of these branches emerged a red rose in full bloom. I knew then that St. Therese had given me a sign that my mom was happy with our dear Lord. It was a sign of God's promise of life after death.




note - many people mentioned in Shower of Heavenly Roses make requests of St. Therese to give them a rose as a sign that someone they know who has recently died is in heaven. There are many touching stories of people receiving roses as an answer that the person they prayed for is in heaven.

I made a similar request in 2008 about an elderly man I had cared for before he had died after hearing about some of the stories (but not reading the book myself yet).
A whole rose bush that had trouble blooming for many years had grown whole clumps of roses on it overnight.
... It was wonderful and cool and very similar to other stories of intercession, as I found out later when I read Shower of Heavenly Roses.




Spared in WWII & a quick answer

The Little Flower has been a tremendous help to me as a Dominican Sister for over seventy years. I first became aware of this special saint through the example of my mother. She has a strong devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux, and sought her intercession many times on behalf of our family. Perhaps the most memorable occasion involved the safe return of my brother, Tom, during World War II.

An air force pilot on a B-17 bomber, Tom saw a lot of action. On one particularly dangerous mission in Germany, Tom encountered many enemy bombers at the same time. As pilot, he gave the order for all ten crew members to bail out. Before Tom could jump himself, however, his plane was shot several times and left incapacitated. The only way for my brother to survive was to evacuate immediately since the plane was carrying firebombs.

To avoid the advancing flames, Tom had to climb out over the top of the aircraft. This was a difficult feat as the plane was beginning to plummet. As a result, my brother slipped and fell, breaking his arm above the elbow. The pain caused him to pass out and fall away from the plane.

All Tom remembers is that the air seemed to receive him, to sort of catch him on the way down. The thought flashed across his mind that someone was praying for him. In his semi-unconscious state, Tom somehow managed to open his parachute. Perhaps it was an automatic reflex due to the endless drills he and his fellow soldiers had practiced.

When Tom hit the ground, he was fully awake and in pain. He had landed in a little orchard where a [German] caretaker was working. Tom, all wound up in a blood-covered parachute, looked up in time to see two German soldiers approaching him with guns drawn.

To my brother's surprise, the caretaker told the soldiers that this was his prisoner, and that he would "take care of him." Tom was certain this meant that he would be killed. The soldiers let the caretaker have the prisoner and, to Tom's amazement, the caretaker took him to a nearby hospital that had a special room for prisoners of war. Tom was greatly relieved to have had his life spared and delighted to find Americans with whom he could recover and even play a little cards.

But the good fortune didn't end there. One day during his recovery, Tom was talking about his home state of Ohio with another soldier. The German nurse on duty heard the soldier mention Buckeye Lake, and immediately she joined the conversation. It turned out the nurse had a sister who lived there. Even more ironic, it was discovered that the nurse's mother was married to a cousin of Tom. This unlikely connection between feuding nations earned Tom and his comrades extra care and better food than the typical fare of black bread and potatoes.

Though he recovered quickly, Tom was still held as a prisoner of war. He prayed he would get home safely. But Tom wasn't the only one praying. Since the day he'd left for the war, my mother prayed devoutly for his safety. She pulled out the "big guns" for this one - her spiritual friend, St. Therese of Lisieux. The Little Flower ["Little Flower" - an affectionate name for St. Therese] answered the call. I truly believe it was due to her intercession that my brother miraculously saved himself and all ten men that day. First, he had to wherewithal to give the orders to bail out. Second, if he had fallen back into the plane instead of away from it, he would have perished when the plane blew up. Third, the fact that Tom landed in the presence of a sympathetic German caretaker was an unbelievable stroke of luck.

Now the only thing remaining was to get Tom home. A year had passed since he had been taken prisoner. My mother, still praying daily, told St. Therese if Tom returned home safely, she would donate a statue of the great intercessor to her church. Tom was released shortly after, and a statue was presented with gratitude to my mother's parish, where it was displayed in a place of honor.

After the wonderful example of faith and dedication of my mother, I, too, learned to call on St. Therese in times of need. She always seems to come through.

For example, in my younger years as a Dominican, I served as a teacher. As such, I was often faced with problems to solve involving my students. But one time, the source of my annoyance was another teacher. Beside myself, I stopped in the chapel after lunch one day and asked the Little Flower to bring me peace. I remembered how particular Carmelite sisters often annoyed St. Therese and how she struggled to rise above these feelings.

As I left the chapel, my class was lined up waiting for me at the door. Doing a quick headcount, I noticed one student was missing. At that moment, the missing child came running up to me and handed me a beautiful rose. He said a lady down the street gave it to him to give to me. The lady told him her name was Theresa. My startled expression was noticed by all of my students immediately. One of the children asked, "Don't you want it, Sister?" "Oh, yes," I assured her. "It is an answer to the prayer I just offered in the chapel. Thank you." I just hadn't expected my prayer to be answered so quickly.

Another time I can recall an immediate response was on my way to a Mass the Bishop planned for Jubilarians. I had just prayed to the Little Flower for help in a particular matter and asked for a sign of white roses. No sooner had I arrived at the church than a lady with a big smile came up and promptly pinned a corsage of white roses on me.

Thank you, St. Therese, my Carmelite friend, for all the great help and great love you've showered on this Dominican.




AIDS and Peace [edited down from original length]

On October 1, 1985, the feast day of St. Therese, I made a journey out to the Jesuit retreat house on Long Island. I prayed in that chapel many times, and for several years it had been my custom to be there on Therese's feast day. This particular day, I brought to her my deepest concerns and questions about the horros of AIDS and the seemingly senseless loss of lives. There was no cure in sight. Families were torn asunder; people with AIDS were commonly treated the way lepers were shunned not only during the final days of their lives but after death as well. Often, their bodies were not accepted by funeral directors. In addition, many pastors refused to allow funeral Masses in their churches because the disease was aligned with homosexuality which was contrary to Church teaching, and many Church authorities did not want to court scandal.

I pleaded with Therese for some enlightenment, a key to try to fathom all of this, something to help me go on with my work [with AIDS patients]. I needed some way of comforting those who were suffering from the disease, and those who were losing their loved ones, often feeling like shamed outcasts themselves. There were so many people who would not dare to admit that a son or daughter, brother or sister, husband or friend had actually died from AIDS.

[I thought,] In a Church whose mission is salvation, how could true healing take place for [those touched by AIDS]?

I happened to see a copy of a Bible [...] I had not noticed[.] [...] I opened the Bible at random, and when I read the words and the impact became clear to me, my whole body began to shake. The answer to my prayer was given in the words of the Book of Wisdom 5:1-5:
They will come trembling to the reckoning of their sins,
and their crimes, confronting them, will accuse them.
Then, the virtuous man stands up boldly
to face those who have oppressed him,
those who thought so little of his sufferings.
And they, at the sight of him, will shake with coward's fear,
amazed he should be saved so unexpectedly.
Stricken with remorse, each will say to the other,
say with a groan and in distress of spirit:
"This is the man we used to laugh at once,
a butt for our sarcasm, fools that we were!
His life we regarded as madness,
his ending as without honor,
How has he come to be counted as one of the sons of God?
How does he come to be assigned a place among the saints?"

Later that evening I received a telephone call from a priest whom I knew. He was a pastoral minister at a hospital, and he was especially saddened because a young man who was dying from AIDS had refused the sacraments. As we talked, I hold him abut the incident in the chapel and the words I had read, and suggested that the words might give some comfort to the young patient. Two or three days later, the priest called me to say that the Scripture reading had made such an impact on the young man they were able to talk, and that he had received the sacraments before he died.

As days went on, I shared that reading with many people I knew who were involved in working in some capacity with AIDS patients or their loved ones. The comfort and insight of the reading from the Book of Wisdom seemed to make such a difference in so many lives and helped to make many AIDS deaths more peaceful. In the ensuing months, it seemed to me that this verse became the "AIDS" reading, used at bedside, funerals, and memorial services. It was also read the first Gathering of Franciscans in 1987, where people involved with AIDS ministry on a national level met in Tampa, Florida, for a conference. My husband and I were invited to join them. Ultimately, that first gathering emerged to become the National Catholic AIDS Network.

At a National Catholic AIDS Network conference held at Loyola University in Chicago in 1994, with several hundred people from around the world attending, I was invited to give a workshop on St. Therese of Lisieux and her role (as I saw it) in the AIDS crisis. I shared what I could, including the reading from the Book of Wisdom and the circumstances leading up to these powerful words. I suggested to the groups assembled that perhaps in the writings and life of St. Therese of Lisieux, we can find the key to spiritual healing to cope with this dreaded disease. Perhaps the cure will come one day, but healing on an emotional and spiritual level - as well as some of the insights about the nature of suffering - are all there if only we seek this wisdom. I am thoroughly convinced that Therese will hold the hand of anyone who asks, help him or her to climb the spiritual stairs, and lead each of us home to the Jesus she loves.







Story of this Devotion

Father Putigan, a Jesuit priest, began the Novena to Saint Therese of the Child Jesus on December 3, 1925, asking the glorious Saint for one great favour. For nine days, he recited the “Glory Be” [a short prayer] 24 times thanking the Holy Trinity for the favours and Graces showered on Saint Therese during the 24 years that she lived on this earth. The good father asked Saint Therese that as a sign that his novena was being heard, he would receive from someone a freshly plucked rose. On the third day of the novena, an unknown person sought out Father Putigan and presented him with a beautiful rose.

Father Putigan began the second novena on December 24 of the same year, and as a sign, asked for a white rose. On the fourth day of this novena, one of the Sister-nurses brought him a white rose, saying, “Saint Therese sent you this”

Amazed, the priest asked “Where did you get this?”

“I was in the chapel,” said the Sister, “and as I was leaving, I passed the alter above which hangs the beautiful picture of Saint Therese. This rose fell at my feet. I wanted to put it back in the bouquet, but a thought came to me that you should have it.”

Father Putigan received the favours he had petitioned of the Little Flower of Jesus, and promised to spread the novena to increase devotion to her and bring her more honour. In addition, from the ninth to the seventeenth of each month, a person can join their novena to the prayers of all those in the world who say the novena on these special days.

This novena can be said at any time, however.


Novena - a prayer said once a day for nine consecutive days

The Glory Be is said 24 times each day for nine days, in thanksgiving for all the blessings and favours given to Saint Therese of the Child Jesus during the 24 years of her life. Start the novena each day with this prayer:

“Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God, the Holy Spirit, I thank You for all the blessings and favours You have showered upon the soul of Your servant Therese of the Child Jesus, during the 24 years she spent here on earth, and in consideration of the merits of this, Your most beloved Saint, I beseech You to grant me this favour, if it is in accordance with Your most Holy Will and is not an obstacle to my salvation.”


Then recite the following 24 times in succession:

Glory Be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, pray for us.


from this site which has 3 novenas to the little saint.

 
 
 
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