March 5-7, 2004 Columbia, Pa.
Friday, March 5
This is the 2nd Missionaries of Charity retreat I have attended. The first one was conducted by Fr. Ray Walsh MC from Guadalupe, Mexico and this one was conducted by Fr. Patrick Torres MC who is assigned in Tijuana, Mexico.
I started the day by attending mass at "Parish Church", since it was Friday we had the children’s mass which takes a little longer than regular daily mass. When mass ended I felt that sense of peace, I glanced at my watch and the time was 9:13:00. I knelt down to start the rosary and again the feeling hit. I glanced at my watch again and it said 9:13:33. I finished the rosary at 9:33.
I drove home and packed my bag for the retreat and loaded everything in my truck. I then sat at the kitchen table and talked to S.C.C. for a while. When it was time to leave I was delayed because the truck would not start. I had to unload everything and transfer to my old truck. I then left and when I pulled out of the driveway the time was 11:13.
The retreat was being held at Precious Blood Retreat Center at St. Joseph’s Convent in Columbia, Pennsylvania which is about an hour and a half north of Emmitsburg. I stopped in Emmitsburg on my way and went to St. Joseph’s to pray a rosary. When I arrived I looked at my watch as I walked in the front door and the time was 1:33. I prayed the rosary and continued my trip to Columbia.
Getting to Columbia took longer than I expected because of traffic going through York and some other towns I had to drive through. When I finally arrived in Columbia it was another challenge to locate the retreat center. The retreat was scheduled to begin at 3 PM but I did not arrive until 4:13.
When I arrived the very first thing I saw was a painted statue of Our Lady of Lourdes that was identical to the one at the Grotto in Emmitsburg. Steve K and Phil C were standing outside and told me that the next session of the retreat would be starting in a few minutes. We went in and Fr. Patrick gave a talk on Bl. Mother Teresa. During this talk there were several times (5 or 6) that I would suddenly feel a strong sense of peace that caused me to glance at my watch. Each time it said XX:XX:13 or 33.
When the talk was over I met Fr. Patrick and then went upstairs to find my room and cleanup a little before dinner at 5:30. We then had mass in the chapel at 7:00 and afterwards Fr. Patrick had a few announcements and outlined what was in store for the weekend. I glanced at my watch as I walked out of the chapel when everything was over for the evening and it said XX:XX:13.
Saturday, March 6
I slept good last night and when I got up I went downstairs to go pray in the chapel before breakfast. I walked in the chapel and instantly felt a strong peaceful feeling. I glanced at my watch and the time was 7:33:33. I prayed for a while and then went to breakfast with Allen H and Dr. Joe F. Dr. Joe is now my personal physician since Dr. Poole retired. The first session of the day was scheduled for 8:30 in the chapel and when we returned to the chapel after breakfast the time was 8:33.
Fr. Patrick gave another good talk about Bl. Mother Teresa and presented the dialog of an actual conversation Mother Teresa had with Jesus in 1948. A transcript of this conversation was released by the Vatican and it had to do with Jesus’ desire for the poorest of the poor to be served. Before closing this session we prayed the rosary. There are about 30 people in this retreat and it consisted entirely of members of the Thursday Night Prayer Group. When the rosary was over I glanced at my watch as I walked out of the chapel and it said XX:XX:13.
There was a break and the next session was not scheduled to begin until 11:00. The main topic of that session was forgiveness. During that session Fr. Patrick told us to close our eyes and picture Jesus hanging on the cross. He suggested that we use the image from the Passion of The Christ movie since it is fresh in our minds. He told us to picture the person who we need to forgive the most in our lives standing at the foot of the cross with Jesus.
The person who first popped into my mind was the babysitter who beat up C.R.C.. No matter how hard I tried to picture her in my mind I could not do it. I could not even remember what she looked like. Suddenly I realized that I have already forgiven her and the person I most needed to forgive was no longer her but myself. All this ran through my mind so fast and suddenly it caused me to glance at my watch and it said XX:XX:33. This session ended and I glanced at my watch as I walked out of the chapel and the time was 12:33.
We went downstairs and lunch was served. After lunch I just took a walk around the grounds of the convent and then went up to my room and took a nap. We were supposed to be back in the chapel at 3 pm to start the next session with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. After the chaplet Fr. Patrick gave another talk which was followed by Benediction which started at 4:13. We then had daily mass and when that was over I glanced at my watch as I walked out of the chapel and the time was 5:33.
We went to dinner and were supposed to be back in the chapel at 7 pm for adoration. When we got there Fr. Patrick said we would had all night adoration and we needed to sign up for our hour on the sheet at the back of the chapel. While I was sitting there in front of the Blessed Sacrament I had the sudden urge to pray the rosary. I glanced at my watch and the time was 7:13. I prayed the rosary and completed it at 7:33.
After I finished my rosary I walked back to the adoration signup sheet and took the 11:30 to 12:30 slot because it was still available. I then went back to my room and called S.C.C. and C.R.C.. When we finished talking I hung up and at that very instant I again felt that sense of peace. I looked at my watch and the time was 8:13.
I sat in the chair in the room and read the bible (Gospel of John) at the very instant I got to chapter 13 I suddenly remembered that I needed to be downstairs in the chapel by 11:30. I glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:33 (11:32:33). I walked down the steps and stepped into the chapel for my hour of adoration at 11:33. I continued reading John’s Gospel and when I finished it I glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:33 (12:32:33). My hour was complete and my replacement arrived. I glanced at my watch as I walked out of the chapel and the time was 12:33:33.
Sunday, March 7
When I got up this morning I went downstairs and walked back in the chapel. I glanced at my watch as I walked in and the time was 7:13:33. I prayed the rosary and when I finished I again felt that strong sense of peace. I looked at my watch and the time was 7:33.
Fr. Patrick then came in the chapel and we had Benediction because of the all night adoration. We then went downstairs and had breakfast. After breakfast I walked back up to my room and caught up the journal I keep. Just as I started to write I again felt that sense of peace. I glanced at my watch and the time was 10:13.
After I finished writing I walked downstairs and Dr. F was sitting at a table programming a diabetes monitor that he said was for me. He said he wanted me to use it everyday so he can keep track of my blood sugar. When he turned it on to show me how it works the time on the display was 11:33.
A short while later I very suddenly became ill. There was little or no warning that anything was wrong. It was a struggle to make it through the rest of the day. We went back in the chapel and watched a film on Bl. Mother Teresa. After the film I went back up to my room and when I arrived I glanced at my watch and the time was 12:13.
I laid down and tried to rest but it was nearly impossible because I had to make several trips to the bathroom because nothing was going to stay in my stomach. I did manage to get a little rest and I started to feel well enough to go to mass that was scheduled to begin at 2 PM. When I returned to the chapel the Blessed Sacrament was on the altar again and Fr. Patrick placed the host back in the tabernacle. Mass then started at 2:13.
After mass Fr. Patrick blessed everybody with a 1st class relic of Bl. Mother Teresa. The last person received the blessing at 3:33. That was followed by a group discussion of the retreat. That ended and the retreat was over and people left to go home. I glanced at my watch as I walked out to leave and the time was 4:33.
I started driving home but became so sick I knew I would never make it all the way home. I made it as far as Emmitsburg and checked into the Sleep Inn. I glanced at my watch as I started walking up to my room and the time was 6:13.
I called S.C.C. and told her how sick I was. I then went straight to sleep and woke up still feeling ill nearly every hour during the night.
Monday, March 8
When I woke up the last time and got up I drove to St. Joseph’s. When I arrived the odometer was 3.3. I walked in the church and glanced at my watch as I started the rosary and the time was 5:33. I prayed the Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries and when I finished the time was 6:13.
Fr. Goff came in the church and lit the candles for the 6:30 AM mass. I never knew they had a 6:30 mass. When mass was over I drove back to "hometown" after fighting both Fredrick and Leesburg morning rush hour traffic and pulled in my driveway. I looked at my watch at the very instant the truck came to a complete stop and the time was 9:13:33.
March 17, 2004