Grotto at Emmitsburg
March 25, 2001
On March 25, 2001 all of the people who met at the Grotto on February 10th in Emmitsburg to start the Consecration Prayers of St. Louis DeMontfort met there again at 3pm to complete the prayers. All of the people who were there on February 10th showed up along with about another 100 or so people because many of them heard about the spectacular solar event that took place when we started the prayers.
We started at the lower entrance of the Grotto at the statue of Saint Faustina where Jim O’Brien chanted the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy. We then moved to the Grotto of Lourdes where we completed the necessary prayers and then Sister Claire spoke for a few minutes about Divine Mercy and Saint Faustina.
We then started to say the Rosary and just like we did on February 10th we started at the Lourdes shrine for the 1st decade and moved to the next shrine for the next decade. Ted Szymanski and I were at the very back of the line and as we approached the statue of Saint Therese’ I started to smell roses and they were very strong. I made the decision not to say anything out loud about the roses and to just thank God for this gift from the stillness and peace of my heart. After a few seconds Ted stopped and said “I smell roses, Robert, do you smell the roses?” I stopped walking and turned to Ted and said “Yes I do”. Just at that moment a woman whom I had never seen before walked from behind me and around my left shoulder and stopped directly in front of me. This woman looked to be about 50 years old and was wearing a very old looking brown coat. She smiled and said “Yes, those are roses you smell” I looked at her and said “Oh, so you smell the roses too.” She then said “No, I do not smell the roses”. There was a few seconds of silence at this point and the thought ran through my mind “If you are not smelling the roses how can you say that I am.” The woman in the brown coat then looked at me, smiled and said “THE ROSES ARE FOR THE BAPTISMS” This statement left me in a somewhat dazed state and my mind went directly to July 3, 1998, the day I was standing in nearly the same spot in front of the statue of St. Therese’ and promised God that my son C.R.C. would be baptized, in addition I also had a clear and sudden mental recall of the day David G. was baptized and the upcoming baptism of his sister R______. At this point and for just a split second I turned to Ted and then turned right back to this woman to ask how she knew about any baptisms but she was GONE. She was nowhere to be found and she would not have had time to take more than 1 step. I did not know who this woman was and I had never seen her before. There was absolutely nothing about her that seemed out of the ordinary except for maybe the very old style brown coat she was wearing and the things she said to me. The brown coat was the brownest brown I have ever seen.
I put this whole episode out of my mind and we finished the Rosary as a group. When it was over I ran into my friend from Philadelphia, Roberta who comes to Emmitsburg every chance she gets and she showed me a very old framed picture of St. Therese’ and told me the story of her very old friend who gave it to her.
As time went on the strange conversation I had with the unknown woman continued to remain at the foremost top of my thoughts. The next night I called Ted on the phone and asked him if he would describe what he remembers (if anything) during the time we were smelling the roses at the Grotto in Emmitsburg on Sunday. Ted said “I remember walking along and out of nowhere I started to smell the roses, they were beautiful, I also remember you talking to a lady in a brown coat. I knew you were talking to each other but I could not hear what you were saying”. I asked Ted if he remembered seeing the woman leave and he said he did not.
The following Thursday night (March 29) I told Sister Genevieve who is one of the Emmitsburg nuns who continues the Thursday night Rosary about this mysterious event and she reminded me that Saint Therese’ is a Carmelite and therefore wears brown. She also reminded me that it was because of Saint Therese’ that I was in Emmitsburg to begin with. I then looked up on the wall and there was a picture of Saint Therese’ very much like the one Roberta had at the Grotto, as soon as I saw it I got one of those delightful tingles like a gentle breeze. A few seconds later the aroma of roses returned. I can’t sit here and tell you that woman was Saint Therese but I can tell you I will go to my grave believing it was.