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October 31, 2004

My dear Joseph,

How i hope you read this letter. A wonderful thing happened yesterday. Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, our dear Mother in Heaven sent a messenger to me yesterday with a message about you. What a messenger! Guille was her name and she was impressive. I wish you culd have seen her. She looked totally Aztec and had a bearing that reflected an awarness of her dignity. She shared a lot about her life story. First you need to know what is going on with me and how this is possible.

Since we've been back in Alabama I've taken a job at Holy Spirit Church as the Hispanic Ministries Coordinator. Joseph there are so many Hispanics from all over the Americas here in Tuscaloosa and all over the south. They are they latest wave of new Americans and they bring so much to enrich our country not the least of which is their love of their Catholic Faith. They have so many needs and my bilingualism is serving them now. They have such a clear picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe as a messenger from God who came to exhort us to love her Son. These simple indians knew from day one that she was not a God but a messenger from God. Remember Juan Diego whom she asked to take a message to the Bishop about building a temple for her son on Tepeyac? Well he was a messenger from her as I am for you and anyone who reads this letter and as Guille was for me.

We were at a retreat yesterday and Guille was here with a little group from another state. It was in the last minutes of the retreat when people get up and give a testimony of their faith that Guille got up to talk. She was so quick to get up she was the first one. It was her first retreat. When she was little she said their mother used to beat them. There were nine children. Two of her sisters she beat severly, but she said the beatings severed her well because she has had to endure many difficult things and she has been strong. She commented on how God had worked in her life even as a child. There were 9 children in her family and her mother was a widow so the were so very poor in Mexico. Once they needed a comb and they went looking in the streets hoping to find one and they passes the same places again and again scouring and she had passed the steps of the church three or four times looking there and on the last try there was one laying on the steps. She kept that in her heart and shared it with us. She became estranged from her family because she wanted to marry an evangelical - a non Catholic and they even stole her daughter from her.

She became an evangelical one who proclaims as true only what is in the bible and not in any of the traditional things that have been passed on from the early Christians such as that the Blessed Mother was taken into Heaven. Nor do they believe in any visits from the Mother of God from Heaven such as Our Lady of Guadalupe. Guille was there to tell us that she was once again in the fold of her faith. She said she always held what her parents had taught her deep in her heart and always believed especially in our lady of Guadalupe's love for us. Her faith was like a grain of mustard seed deep in her heart. So you see Joe why this message was for me. Her story so moved me that I could barely take it. I was standing up waiting to talk because others had asked me to proclaim my faith and how it sustains me especially as concerns your separation from us. I felt my knees would fold under me. I did proclaim, but that Guille was a true messenger for me personally from our dear Mother in Heaven with a message not only about you, Joseph, but about Sean, Andrew, Paul and Ellizabeth. I wanted you to know this.

Many times I've prayed that while you sleep our dear Mother in Heaven spread her mantle over you so that you feel her motherly love to refresh you and comfort you. I asked Guille afterwards how she felt far away from her faith and she said she never felt far away. She said she always felt close to her faith and close to our blessed Mother. She told me Jesus does what his mother asks. He turned water into wine ask her to ask for your return and Jesus will grant it. So I continue to pray for you, Joseph, but that is my job anyhow to pray for my children.

It's Sunday morning and we'll go to Mass today and celebrate the Last Supper as we've been doing since our first communion partaking of the Body and Blood of our saviour who so wants to be in our lives. Un abrazo fuerte de tu mama que tanto te quiere. A strong hug from your mom who loves you so much.



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