Locked in the Grotto
Today was one of those days where I needed to be more than one place at a time. I was very busy at work in "hometown" and I needed to go to Manassas. I was also supposed to meet Sherri A at our house at 12 noon to discuss allowing her to manage the rental of our house in "hometown". Sherri is a parishioner at "Parish Church" and was my aide in CCD this past year. She works for Long and Foster Realty. She has no knowledge of my involvement in Emmitsburg.
I started to suspect that today would be another one of those days when I left the house this morning to go to mass and glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:13. I attended the Children’s mass at "Parish Church" and the mass ended at 9:13.
I went to work in "hometown" but also needed to go to Manassas to do some work that can only be done from there. I took my lunch break and drove home to meet Sherri. When I pulled in my driveway S.C.C. was opening the door for Sherri who had already arrived. I glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:33.
Sherri went over everything about property management and assured us that she would keep a very good eye on the tenants and the house. We had already talked to several other property management companies in "hometown" which made it very clear that Sherri was the best choice. After we agreed to hand the house over to her I got in my car to leave for Manassas. I started the car and the time on the dash was 1:13.
I drove to Manassas and stopped at All Saints to pray the rosary before going to work, as I walked in the chapel I glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:13. There was a funeral in progress for a woman named Margaret in the main part of the church. I prayed the Sorrowful rosary and glanced at my watch as I finished and the time was 2:33.
I went across the street to work and after a few hours completed my duties that had to be done from Manassas. When I got off work I had a sudden urge to stop by All Saints again to pray another rosary before going home. I drove across the street and looked at my watch as I walked in the chapel and it said 5:13:33.
I prayed the Joyful rosary and during this time the desire to go to Emmitsburg became very strong. Before I completed the rosary I knew I was going. I finished the rosary and looked at my watch as I was walking out the door to go to Emmitsburg and the time was 5:33.
I knew I would never be able to make it to St. Mary’s for the Friday rosary so I decided that I would like to go to the Grotto of Lourdes. I drove to Emmitsburg and when I arrived at the Grotto the odometer was 1.3. I glanced at my watch as the car came to a complete stop and it said XX:XX:33.
I walked through the Grotto and there were only a few people there. When I got to the statue of Our Lady of Fatima I had the strong desire to sit down and pray the rosary. I prayed the Luminous mysteries. When I finished the rosary I got up to leave only to discover the Grotto had been closed and I had been locked inside. When I realized that I had been locked in I looked at my watch and the time was 8:13.
I tried to squeeze between the gate and the fence that surrounds the Grotto. The fence is obscured by bushes and lined at the top with several strands of barbed wire. It was starting to get dark. I actually started to think that I may be locked in for the night. A few minutes later I had a sudden feeling of peace and knew there had to be a way out. I glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:13.
I followed the fence and after a few minutes I found a section that I was able to get through behind the statue of St. Faustina. I got in my car and was surprised to find the swinging gate that closes off the entrance to the Grotto still open. I left and drove to St. Joseph’s. I walked up to the door to read a notice that had been taped to the door saying there would be no Miraculous Medal Novena on Monday night because of Memorial Day. I glanced at my watch and the time was 8:33.
As frequently as these unusual things happen I was still astounded by the circumstances that had just happened that caused me to arrive at St. Joseph’s at the time I did and get the information about there not being a Miraculous Medal Novena on Monday night.
I left St. Joseph’s and was riding to the new house to see how well it is being maintained. I saw Jim O’Brien sitting on his front porch and I invited him to ride along with me. We rode to Carroll Valley and the house looked okay. Jim and I then rode back to Emmitsburg and parked at St. Joseph’s. We then walked over to Stavros restaurant and got something to eat.
We finished eating and Jim walked home and I walked back to St. Joseph’s where my car was parked. Just as I arrived at St. Joseph’s that feeling hit me and I had the desire to pray the rosary. I glanced at my watch and the time was 9:33. It was a very nice night so I walked around the church while I prayed the rosary. When I finished I got in my truck and drove home. When I pulled in my driveway the time was 12:13.
June 8, 2004