Saturday, July 14, 2007

32 Roses for Victoria

I was sent an email from a fellow Catholic in Texas who manages Semper Fi Catholic. From her website:

Semperficatholic is a lay apostolate dedicated to preserving the Truth, Who is Jesus Christ. As Our Lord told us in the Gospels, there are many anti-gospels threatening the faithful. We investigate these cancers and expose them to the best of our ability, and in all charity so that the Lord's people can journey a little more safely. We are part of the Church Militant and we are Semper Fidelis, always faithful!

SemperFi Catholic also promotes the words of Fr. Paul Weinberger of St. William the Confessor Parish. Some of our own Grotto parishioners who have had to leave Micighan for Texas are in the care of this good shepherd. I know - they have contacted me ever so grateful to see photos of Assumption Grotto and get updates. When you read the story of how Fr. Paul was removed from an ubran parish he grew from the ground up, you will see an example of how orthodox priests can be treated in some dioceses. If you read his homilies, or listen to them online at Semper Fi Catholic Radio, or view photos from the parish, you will understand how someone from Grotto, now in Texas, could be drawn him and his parish. Fr. Paul visited Assumption Grotto when he came in for the ordination of Daniel Flores to Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit. They went to seminary together.


Victoria and her Dad

Somewhere there in the Bayou State of Louisiana is a 15 year old girl who can teach us a few things. Her leg was just amputated after a lifetime of surgeries. Her story is well worth reading and I make this post to ask you all for your prayers for Victoria. Having consecrated myself to Jesus through Mary, I know that my Mother Mary uses my prayers and sacrifices as she sees fit. In the Wedding at Cana (John 2), we see that her own Son could not refuse her humble request. Therefore, it is through her that I make my humble request.

I ask the Blessed Mother to give Victoria 32 roses - one for each of the surgeries she has had to endure. These roses are any of 32 prayers or sacrifices that I make, as the Blessed Mother chooses them, to be used for continued graces for Victoria. I especially ask Our Lady to give Victoria graces for courage in the face of suffering - emotional, spiritual, and physical. I also ask Mary for another kind of grace - the grace for Victoria to see how she can harness all of that suffering and place it into a lifetime of offerings, united with the sufferings of Jesus for the salvation of souls.


The concept of praying for departed souls, and of "offering it up" is foreign not only to our Protestant brothers and sisters, but to many Catholics. It is evident at funerals when even priests or laypeople speak as if the departed is already in heaven. This implies the deceased is no longer in need of our prayers. Oh, the suffering the souls do in purgatory with no one praying for them in acts of charity. How many babies could be spared from abortion if only we prayed more and offered more of our sacrifices? How many children around the world could have their hunger eased through our spiritual offerings? How many people can be converted to Christ? The list goes on.

Where do Catholics get this notion to "offer it up" with regards to suffering and sacrifices, such as fasting, or foregoing a favorite TV show or food?

Michael Barber, in a beautiful scriptural post on Mary entitled, "Behold your mother (John 19:27)" , he points out the following:
Sixth, Mary was so united to Christ, Simeon tells her, “a sword will pierce through your own soul also that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:35-36). Another passage along those lines appears in Colossians 1:24, where Paul states, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church…” Our suffering, when united with Christ’s, seems to have a redemptive role to play. As his mother, who remained by him until the bitter end, Mary is a model for all of us believers who offer their sufferings in union with Christ’s (cf. Rom 8:17).

May Victoria use all of her pains and suffering to bring others closer to Christ, especially for those afflicted with leg injuries, in particular where adults and children continue to lose life and limb to land mines. May she use all of her pains and sufferings for babies not born yet, in need of prayers and sacrifices to make it into the world and for mothers considering abortion - to give them courage and right judgment to bring the life and soul given to them, into the world. May God enlighten Victoria at least 32 other ways to unite her sufferings to Christ for the benefit of others.

I lead you into Victoria's story at Semper Fi Catholic here. Follow the icon link, then be sure to open the slideshow at the bottom of the article. I am told that Victoria is doing well and is in relatively good spirits. What a champ!

This is a story about a fifteen year old girl, who has spent the whole of her life in pain. This is a story of suffering for a whole family and I hope and pray that those of us who have never been through anything like this will stop and think before we complain about our little aches and pains.

Before I begin, meet Victoria.The two photos below were taken July 10, 2007, the day before Victoria's leg was amputated. What a wonderful smile she has. (click on the icon to continue reading and view slides)

For more on suffering visit these resources:

EWTN Audio Library (free): Suffering and What to do with it by Fr. Benedict Groeschel and Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand

DVD: Suffering and What to do with it?

Does Suffering Make Sense? by Russell Shaw

Te Deum Laudamus! Home