November 18, 2002
This morning as I was driving to mass I realized that I did not have my rosary with me. The rosary has become so much a part of me that I would rather not have any money in my pocket than not have my rosary. I turned around and went home and got it. I was already running a few minutes behind and this caused me to be a few minutes late getting to mass. When I arrived at "Parish Church" I looked at my watch just at the instant I was opening the door and the time was 8:33:13. When mass was over I glanced at my watch as I was going out the door and it said XX:XX:33. I went to work and was busy most of the morning. Later in the morning Carrol R said “When you get back from praying the rosary lets go to lunch.” I said OK and left to go to Our Lady of the Blue Ridge. I looked at my watch as I was leaving and the time was 11:33. While I was driving I saw a sign that said “Accident Ahead” on Rt. 29. About a mile ahead they were detouring traffic because a Sheetz gas tanker truck had overturned. I turned around and headed back to my hometown to pray the rosary at "Parish Church". Before I got there I stopped at the post office because I told Joe Leprie that I would mail him a copy of “Unbridled Mercy” the Emmitsburg video. I met Joe in Medjugorje this past visit and he lives is Louisiana.
After I left the post office I drove to "Parish Church" to pray the rosary and I looked at my watch because I thought I would be a little late getting back to work. I did not worry about that when I saw the time was 12:13:13. I prayed the rosary and when I finished I looked at my watch and the time was 12:33. I then returned to work and I was not late.
Later in the day I very suddenly remembered that I told Sister Genevieve Walsh this past Friday that I would come and fix her bed to where she can get in and out with less trouble. The bed is a little to high and she has trouble getting her legs up on the bed alone. I was going to take the legs off and that would put the bed about 6 inches shorter. When I remembered this I called her and told her that I would be able to come if she wanted me to. She said “I would love for you to come”. I asked her if there was anything that she would like for me to bring her and she said she would love to have a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. I told her I would get it for her.
When I finished work and was leaving to go fix her bed I had the sudden feeling of peace that was so strong that I looked at my watch and the time was 4:33:13. I drove to Emmitsburg and when I arrived at the Grotto entrance the odometer was 1.3. When I got in town I parked at Saint Joseph’s and was very surprised to see the church was open and people were going in. I then remembered that it was Monday and they have the Miraculous Medal novena and mass every Monday night. I walked over to the Palms restaurant but they were closed so I walked across the street to the Ott House to get Sister Genevieve’s sandwich. While I was waiting for the sandwich I decided that I would go to the novena and mass. I called Sister Genevieve and told her I would be late. She said “honey I will see you when you get here”.
When the sandwich order was ready I walked back to Saint Joseph’s. I put the sandwich in the truck and went in church. The time was 7:13. While I was praying I very suddenly remembered that it has been 4 years since my first visit to St. Joseph’s. At that moment I thought that today was the 4th anniversary but then realized that it is actually the eve of my first visit which was November 19, 1998. During the entire evening my mind was continually bombarded with sudden memories of the past 4 years, some of which I had never given any thought since its original occurrence. The vividness was beyond what my memory alone is capable of producing. This continued to happen the entire evening.
During mass I was suddenly saddened when I realized that I had forgotten and not given any thought to the anniversary and that it had not even crossed my mind, I even felt ashamed. Suddenly I became very happy because I realized that this was another gift that I did not deserve. I forgot the anniversary but God did not and suddenly I realized that there I was again, in Emmitsburg, in Saint Joseph’s, during mass, celebrating with God quietly in my heart the anniversary of a day that I will never again be able to forget.
Jim O’Brien was sitting behind me and tapped me on the shoulder and asked that I pray for his mother because she died 4 years ago today. After mass I walked over to Jim’s apartment to borrow a screw driver to fix Sister Genevieve’s bed and when I got there I looked at my watch and the time was 8:13. I then drove to Sister Genevieve’s and gave her the bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. I started working on the bed and realized that you could not just unscrew the legs. The screws that held the legs also provided support to the frame. The only way to shorten the legs was to saw them off. I told the bad news to Sister Genevieve and she said “then saw them off.” I did not have a saw so Sister called Mr. Gilmore and he brought a saw over and together we shortened the bed so Sister Genevieve could get in and out with fewer problems.
When we finished the job I walked out of the bedroom and the FIRST thing I saw was the clock on the microwave oven that said 3:33. That was not the correct time but that is what is said. Simultaneously I was filled with that special peace that words can not describe so I will not even try. At this very moment I was also filled with a very vivid recall of the first night at Saint Joseph’s that seemed to contain everything in the flash of an instant. Sister Genevieve asked me to sit down and talk for a few minutes before I left and we talked for about 5 minutes. I was not paying any attention to the time at all. I got up and left and when I did I saw the clock and it was 9:33.
I drove back to Saint Joseph’s and walked over to Jim’s apartment and returned his screwdriver. It was a nice night and I did not want the evening to end so I prayed another rosary while walking around the outside of the church. When I finished I returned to my truck to go home. Just as I was leaving the odometer switched to 1.3 and a car pulled up right in front of me with a license plate of 033.