When I think about all of the wonderful experiences I have had in Emmitsburg I sometimes find it easy to forget how it all began. It all began about 6 months before C.R.C. was beat up. I was at a flea market near Front Royal when I purchased a small brass crucifix with a inscription on the back that read “Shrine of the Little Flower Royal Oak Mich.” I mentioned this in the original letter I wrote on December 8, 1998 when I said:
“During the late fall of 1991 I was at a flea market at Double Toll Gate which is near Front Royal, Va. While there I was rummaging through a box of junk looking for Civil War relics like I always do. At the bottom of the box I came upon a small brass crucifix that for some reason I felt an instant attraction for. There was just something about it. I bought it for $2. The crucifix had an inscription engraved on the back that reads “Shrine of the Little Flower Royal Oak Mich”. At that time I did not know who the Little Flower was. When I got home that evening I noticed a picture of C.R.C. and I remember thinking “ Thats a perfect place to keep the crucifix”. I placed the crucifix between the frame and the glass of the picture for the protection Jesus on the Cross could offer to him. It was just a few short months later that C.R.C. was the victim of a brutal beating received at the hands of his baby-sitter that could have taken his life.”
I did not know it at the time but this event was the beginning of what I am living through now and I thank God for it. It was St. Therese’ who through a long and complex sequence of events brought me to Emmitsburg which is where I plan on spending the rest of my life. I believe the complex sequence of events could have been made easier if I had cooperated from the beginning instead of holding on hard to my old ways and material possessions. God is very patient with uncooperative souls such as myself.
It was in Emmitsburg at the Grotto of Lourdes on March 25, 2001 in front of a statue of St. Therese’ I encountered the scent of roses and the sudden appearance and disappearance of a woman wearing a old brown coat who spoke to me. I wrote down the experience and in my partial description I said:
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 Guinn was baptized and the upcoming baptism of his sister Rebecca. 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.
At the time I wrote this paper I deliberately left out a few words of the last sentence that this woman said to me before she disappeared . At the time I wrote the paper I anguished over repeating the exact text of what she said to me. The reason for the anguish was because I did not consider myself worthy of such words and I still don’t so I left the most important part out. The actual, verbatim text of the last sentence she said before disappearing is:
“THE ROSES ARE A SPECIAL GIFT FROM GOD FOR THE BAPTISMS”
The only reason I left these few words out of my original paper is because I was afraid to repeat it because I am so unworthy of such a gift. I was never going to repeat what was said during that short encounter with who I am convinced was actually St. Therese’ but now I feel I should.
I have known for a good while that a new movie was in production about St. Therese’. Ever since learning about it I have had every intention of going to see it when it comes out. It’s distribution is very limited and it is only showing in a few theaters which makes getting to it difficult. In addition I heard a few comments from a few people who saw it and they were disappointed with the movie. I talked to others who liked it very much.
On October 12th Roberta Marziani called me at work and said she saw the movie and liked it. I told her I was going to try to go see it the next day in Columbia, Maryland because I was off from work. We hung up and I felt a strong desire to see it. I looked at my watch and the time was 1:33.
If I was going to go to the movie I needed to make sure I was back by 6 PM because I was supposed to help carry the statue of Our Lady of Fatima in the 6 PM Rosary Procession from the Basilica of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton to St. Joseph’s. I help carry the statue every May and October 13th.
The next morning I went to mass at St. Mary’s and then went home and did a few things I needed to do there. I then rode to St. Peter’s Books to get a cup of coffee and on the way I stopped at St. Joseph’s. I arrived there and the time was 10:33.
I then rode to St. Peter’s and got a cup of coffee. I wanted to go to the 2:30 PM showing of the movie Therese’ but was discouraged when I considered the hour and a half drive and hearing another ho hum review of the movie. I considered not going.
I left St. Peter’s after I finished my coffee and I did start driving to Columbia to see the movie and several times I considered turning around and going home. My biggest concern was getting caught in rush hour traffic after the movie was over and not making it back to Emmitsburg in time for the rosary procession at 6 o’clock. After almost turning around the 3rd time I had the sudden feeling of peace that I should not worry and just leave it to God. The peace was so strong and I then noticed the clock on the dash was 12:13. Over the next several minutes I was bombarded with out of nowhere 13’s and 33’s. At this point I never considered turning around again.
I arrived in Columbia, Maryland and I had no idea where to go. I got lost at one point and had to call the theater for directions. They gave me good directions and I did not have any more problems. When I arrived at the Regal Theater I suddenly felt the peace again. I then noticed at the very instant the car came to a complete stop the CD display flashed 33.
I went in the Regal Theater and bought my ticket. After I had my ticket I sat down in the lobby before going into the theater. A few minutes later a Dominican nun from Baltimore came in and we talked for a few minutes. I told her I live near Emmitsburg. She told me she had been to the Thursday Night Prayer Group and was familiar with the apparitions of The Blessed Virgin Mary to Gianna Sullivan.
We finished talking and I was just sitting there when suddenly I was again filled with a peace that I am unable to properly describe. My mind went straight back to me almost turning around and not coming. I suddenly remembered being filled with confidence by being bombarded with out of nowhere 13’s and 33’s while driving here starting at 12:13. I had the very sudden thought that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. At the very instant this thought crashed through my mind I started smelling roses. It was very strong and I knew it was a gift from heaven. It hit me so suddenly and was so strong I just bowed my head down. It was at that time when I bowed my head I just happened to notice the time on my watch. I did not deliberately take note of it. The time was 2:13.
I then got up from my seat in the lobby and walked in the theater. There were about 30 people in there and I sat alone towards the front. No one was in front of me. The movie started and at that instant I was again filled with peace. I glanced at my watch and the time was 2:33. I liked the movie and was very glad I went to see it. When it ended I left and as I was pulling out of the parking lot I again felt the peace. I then noticed the clock on the dash was 4:13.
I drove back to Emmitsburg for the rosary procession and I did not think I was going to make it in time but I did. When I arrived at the basilica the odometer was 1.3. We had the rosary procession and I carried the back of the statue and Mick Major carried the front. Dr. Joe Ferguson lead the rosary. When we arrived at St. Joseph’s I could not help but notice the clock in the bell tower said 6:33. We said a few prayers and there were refreshments. When it was over I left to walk back to the basilica where my car was parked. I then noticed the clock on the bell tower said 7:13.
When I got home S.C.C. mentioned that several people around here would like to organize another trip to Medjugorje and she would like to go. At that instant I glanced at my watch and the time was 8:33:33. Later we all sat down and prayed a family rosary and at the very instant we finished I again felt the peace. I looked at my watch and the time was 9:13:33.
Oct 16, 2004