December 30, 1923 - February 17, 2005
One of my earliest memories of the Thursday Night Prayer Group was Sr. Genevieve Walsh. Sr. Genevieve was always present and always sat in a folding chair on the left side of the church against the wall near the front. This was because she had trouble getting in and out of the pews.
My regular Thursday Night seat was about 5 or 6 rows back from her. For some reason I would find myself glancing over at her without realizing I was doing so. There was something about her aged face that looked so peaceful that it caused peace in me.
Each Thursday night mass followed the apparition of Our Lady of Emmitsburg and as I would return to my seat after receiving Holy Communion I would have to pass by Sr. Genevieve’s seat to get back to mine. She would always smile at me as I walked by. At this point I did not even know her name.
Months went by and what I have just described repeated itself every Thursday night at St. Joseph’s. One Thursday I arrived at St. Joseph’s and somebody had given Sr. Genevieve about 50 or 60 pounds of frozen chickens. She needed someone to unload them from a car and put them in the freezer. I was that person and we became friends that day. Ever since then I found myself becoming very close to her to the point she seemed like family.
There is no need to try to describe just how close we became because I have described this in previous papers over the years. However, I will go back to a paper I wrote describing The Feast of The Immaculate Conception 2001 when I wrote:
On Friday night I served as Eucharistic Minister and I don’t know how to describe this so all I will say is that I got more satisfaction from being Eucharistic Minister that night than I have ever felt before. I got up the next morning and drove to Emmitsburg to pick up Sister Genevieve and I got there right around 7:30. Sister Genevieve said “Robert I don’t know how to tell you this but I had the time wrong, mass does not start until 9:00, you could have slept for another hour. I told Sister that it was no problem at all and not to worry about it. We talked for about an hour then left to go to Saint Mary’s. We arrived at the church about 8:30 and talked to Father Messaro and he said he wanted me to roll Sister Genevieve’s wheelchair up to the front of the church for the renewal of her vows after the homily. At that point Father Messaro and Sister Genevieve had a short rehearsal and when that was over I rolled her back to where I was sitting in the third row on the right. Sister Genevieve sat in her wheelchair in the isle next to me. When mass started Father Messaro announced that Sister Genevieve would be renewing her religious vows. During the Gospel somehow my mind wandered and as I stood there I looked down at Sister Genevieve sitting in her wheelchair. The happiness and joy expressed on her face was beyond description and I remember thinking “Blessed Mother, this must be why you wanted me to be Eucharistic Minister last night in "hometown" so I could help Sister Genevieve here this morning”. In perfect synchronization with that thought that just came out of nowhere I saw a flicker of light which caused me to look up. When I looked up there was a halo of light surrounding the head of the statue of Mary in the front of the church. Suddenly I realized that I was also smelling roses at the same time. I could not take my eyes off of the statue but I forced myself to do so and I looked at Sister Genevieve and she was looking at Father Messaro who was reading the Gospel. When I looked at the statue again the halo of light was surrounding the entire body of Mary and the roses were still very strong. I looked at Sister Genevieve again and I looked at Father Messaro and I turned my head back to look at the people standing behind me. It was obvious to me that they were not perceiving any of this. The world was going by as if nothing was happening. When I turned back to the statue of Mary the light was still surrounding Her entire body and in addition to that a halo of light was completely surrounding the statue of Saint Joseph that was standing right next to Her. The roses were still strong and gradually the light around Mary and Joseph started to dim except for the halos around their heads which remained bright for a few extra seconds. The halos were the first to appear and the last to leave. Suddenly the halos around their heads dissappered in perfect synchronization with the end of the roses and the end of the reading of the Gospel.
I don’t know what else to say so I will just stop here.
I will never forget this day as long as I live and it is my fondest memory of Sr. Genevieve. Since this happened I have always felt that on this day Our Lady of Emmitsburg showed me Her love for Sr. Genevieve. I thanked Our Lady for allowing me to help. Since that day I have always looked at helping people as an honor and not a burden.
Time went on and Sr. Genevieve and I remained very close. Sr. Genevieve was instrumental in our move here to the Emmitsburg area with the prayers and rosaries she prayed for us. Sr. Genevieve was stern and could be stubborn and everyone knew it. She had a true love of Our Lady of Emmitsburg and anything said in a negative manner about Her was just pure nonsense.
After the closure of the Thursday Night Prayer Group, Sr. Genevieve had one of the few original large portraits of Our Lady of Emmitsburg. It was her most prized material possession. This past June she told me she was going to leave it to S.C.C. and I in her will. This ended up in the June 23rd paper I wrote that said:
I arrived in Emmitsburg and drove straight to St. Joseph’s. I got out of the car and thought about the traffic and stopping to get the car inspected and all of the other things that caused me to arrive at St. Joseph’s when I did. I kissed the corner of the church and knew to look at my watch. The time was 7:33:00.
I said a few prayers and drove to St. Catherine’s to visit Sr. Genevieve. When I got there the receptionist reminded me that the doors would be locked at 8 PM and if I came down after that to use the door in the side hall to get out. I walked up to Sr. Genevieve’s room and when I got there she looked very bad. I could tell she had been crying. She said she had a very bad day but was very glad I was there. I gave her the check for $39.00.
Sr. Genevieve then proceeded to tell me the details of her will. She said that she has left instructions in her will that when she dies that S.C.C. and I receive the large framed picture of Our Lady of Emmitsburg that she has. She also told me what everyone else will be getting. I told her that none of us want anything for a long, long time. She laughed and said “I don’t think it will be tomorrow”.
When we finished talking I left and when I got downstairs it was after 8 PM and the door was locked. I walked to the other door that the receptionist told me about and it was also locked. I tried every door I could find and each one was locked. I finally had to walk to the nursing section and ask a nurse how to get out. She directed me to a door and said it would take me to the parking lot.
I went out the door and found myself in a garden with sidewalks that led to dead ends with a bench. I still did not see a way out because it was all surrounded by fence. It reminded me of the evening I got locked in the Grotto.
I finally found a small wooden gate and got out that way. I returned to my car and drove back to St. Joseph’s to finish the rosary I started earlier in the day. When I arrived at St. Joseph’s the time was 8:33. I sat in my car in front of the church and completed the rosary by praying the remaining two mysteries. When I finished I started to car to leave and the time on the dash was 9:13. I drove home and just as I walked in my front door the peace hit me again. I looked at my watch and the time was 11:33:00.
As I have already mentioned in previous papers Sr. Genevieve has been very sick with congestive heart failure for the past several weeks. Dr. Joe F has said that improvement was unlikely. On February 17th Sr. Genevieve died at about 4:30 AM and the sequence of events up through her funeral went like this:
Thursday February 17
I was at work in Manassas and Phil Coghlan called and told me that Sr. Genevieve had died about 4:30 in the morning. A little later Frank K came to my desk to see if I would go to All Saint’s to pray the rosary with him. At that instant I thought about offering the rosary for Sr. Genevieve. I glanced at my watch and the time was 12:13. Frank and I rode across the street and prayed the Sorrowful mysteries of the rosary. When we finished we rode back to work and when we arrived the odometer was 1.3. A little later I received an email with Sr. Genevieve’s funeral arrangements and the time on the email was 1:13.
Sunday February 20
I was on the phone talking to my mother in "hometown" who is recovering from pneumonia when another call came in. I put my mother on hold and took the other call. It was Madeline B saying that Sr. Genevieve had left S.C.C. and I in her will and that she left us her big picture of Our Lady of Emmitsburg. Madeline told me that it would be delivered to us tomorrow at Sr. Genevieve’s funeral. We hung up and at that instant the peace hit me very hard as I remembered Sr. Genevieve telling me back on June 23rd that she was going to do this. At that instant I just happened to turn my head and notice the time on the kitchen stove was 10:33.
Later that evening at Sr. Genevieve’s viewing Peter Blanchard came up to me and said that both he and I were being asked to serve as pallbearers at the funeral. At the very instant I was asked I suddenly was overcome with the feeling of peace caused by a series of vivid memories of Sr. Genevieve. It was so strong I knew to glance at my watch and the time was 7:13.
Monday February 21
Sr. Genevieve’s funeral is this morning at St. Mary’s. I did not have to take anytime off from work to attend the funeral because I was off anyway for President’s Day. I was laying in bed when S.C.C. said “You better be getting up and get ready for Sr. Genevieve’s funeral” I got out of bed at the precise split second to see the clock switch to 7:33.
The funeral was at 10AM but S.C.C. left the house early because she was supposed to be Eucharistic Minister at the 8AM mass at St. Mary’s. Pallbearers were supposed to be at the church at 9:45. Later in the morning C.R.C. and I left the house to go to Sr. Genevieve’s funeral. We pulled out of the driveway and at that instant the temperature gauge on the dash switched to 33 and then instantly switched to something else. The CD counter flashed 13.
We arrived at St. Mary’s and at the very instant I opened the door and walked in I felt the feeling of peace. I glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:33. The funeral mass began at 10AM and Fr. Michael Messaro officiated and Fr. Michael Kennedy who was a former pastor at St. Joseph’s during the time of the apparitions of Our Lady con-celebrated the mass. C.R.C. was the altar server.
During Fr. Messaro’s homily and eulogy he talked about Sr. Genevieve and what she meant to the Emmitsburg community. He covered everything from her stubbornness to her heart that was always full of the love of God. While Fr. Messaro was talking I very suddenly remembered that we would receive Sr. Genevieve’s big picture of Our Lady of Emmitsburg. It was so strong and sudden I glanced down at my watch and the time was 10:13.
During the rest of the mass there were several sudden, piercing thoughts and memories of Sr. Genevieve. They were clear, detailed and vivid. Each time this happened I glanced at my watch and each time it said XX:XX:13 or 33.
After the mass we placed the coffin in the hearse and rode to the cemetery. Peter Blanchard and Mick Major rode with me in my car. S.C.C. remained behind to help with the dinner that was going to follow. We arrived at the cemetery and the odometer was 1.3. We had a short graveside service led by Fr. Messaro and when it was over we got back in the car to go back to Sr. Mary’s. When I started the car to leave the time on the dash was 11:13.
We arrived back at St. Mary’s and there was a huge covered dish dinner. There was a picture of Our Lady of Emmitsburg on the serving table. While I was eating Madaline B came up to me and said she had the big, framed picture of Our Lady of Emmitsburg that Sr. Genevieve left us in her will. As we walked outside to get it I glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:13. Madeline gave the picture to me. As I walked over to put it in my car I glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:33. Later when it was time to leave I felt the peace hit just as we were pulling out of St. Mary’s parking lot. The time on the dash was 12:33.
Later in the afternoon I rode to St. Joseph’s to pray a rosary for Sr. Genevieve. At the very instant I arrived a car approached from the opposite direction with the license plate of 133. I prayed the Glorious rosary and when I finished I looked at my watch and the time was 4:13.
Later in the evening I rode back to St. Joseph’s for the Miraculous Medal Novena and when I arrived I glanced at my watch as I walked in the door. The time was 7:33. After the novena and mass I rode home. I was pretty tired and just at the instant I sat down I felt the peace of having such a good friend as Sr. Genevieve. I looked at my watch and the time was 8:33:13.
Mar 1, 2005