June 23 - June 26, 2005
The Lay Missionaries of Charity is a strong group here in the Emmitsburg and Fairfield area. I consider it an honor to have been nominated and elected the link for our group here. We have known for some time that Fr. Sebastian Vazhakala MC would be holding a national LMC retreat in June. Several weeks before the retreat I received an email asking for confirmation of my attendance. At the instant I sent my email reply I felt the sudden feeling of peace that I know so well. The time on my email reply was 10:33:13.
I have attended several LMC retreats in the past that were led by the MC Fathers. Fr. Ray Walsh and Fr. Patrick Torres have both been here to give retreats for us. The retreats have all been so special and rewarding that traveling to Connecticut seemed like nothing to attend another one. Fr. Sebastian who led this retreat was a very close, personal friend of Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta and was the very first priest ordained into the Missionaries of Charity order.
Thursday June 23
I have been extremely busy at work lately and I have been looking forward to a few days off to attend this retreat. I needed the break. After getting everything ready for the trip I said good by to S.C.C. and left to go meet our group at Sherry M’s house. When I started the car to leave I noticed the time on the dash was the last fraction of a second of 6:13.
I drove to the bank to get a little money from the ATM machine and then met up with the others attending the retreat at Sherry’s house. There were 5 of us who made the trip to Connecticut. They were Aileen C, Sherry M, Karen M, Dolly K and myself. We hired Peter Kahne to drive us there. Dolly drove herself. After a several hours of riding someone suggested that we pray the rosary. We prayed the Glorious Mysteries and just as we finished I glanced down at my watch and the time was 2:13.
It was a miserable trip up to Connecticut. We were told it should take about 6 hours to get there but it took us almost 9 because we missed an exit somewhere in New York. Despite this delay we were still one of the first to arrive at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield. We got settled into our rooms and were told that Fr. Sebastian would give his first talk at 7 o’clock. This gave us enough time to get acquainted with the surroundings.
A little later I walked into the main church. I walked up the statue of Mary and turned to genuflect towards the tabernacle. At the instant I genuflected I was hit with the peace. I glanced at my watch and the time was 6:13:59. I then entered a pew and prayed the rosary. Upon completion of the rosary I again felt the peace. I looked at my watch and the time was now 6:33.
After I finished my rosary I took a walk around the grounds. As I was walking out the door I stopped at a statue of The Sacred Heart of Jesus. Suddenly I again felt the peace and glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:33. When I finished my walk I reentered the church and again felt the peace hit me. I again glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:33.
I went up to my room and caught up my notes and rested for a little while before Fr. Sebastian gave his first talk at 7 PM. It lasted for about an hour and a half. He talked about the Missionaries of Charity and how the order was formed. When he finished his talk and we were dismissed I glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:33.
We then walked down the hall and entered the church and prayed the rosary as a group. When we finished I checked the check-in list to see if Dolly K had arrived since she drove herself. She had. It was then I noticed my room number was listed on the sheet as room 6013 but the number on my door only said 60. When I noticed this I was a little bit surprised. I glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:13. I then went to bed.
Friday June 24
I slept very good last night and when I woke up I said a few prayers and asked God to give me the strength to continue according to His Will. In my prayers I explained to Him that I sometimes feel overwhelmed and always feel unworthy of what He has done for me. I also explained to Him that I am only willing to continue this path as long as it is His Will and He is responsible for what i am experiencing. Upon completion of this prayer I glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:33.
Prayerful moments like this where I know my mind and heart is in the right place continue to give me the much needed strength I need to continue. The perfect synchronization and timing is far beyond my ability to conduct. Knowing this gives me strength.
I walked downstairs and joined the morning prayers that were already in progress in the church. When the morning prayers were completed we had breakfast and during that time Archbishop Henry Mancell stopped by to welcome Fr. Sebastian and all of the LMCs. The entire group then walked outside and had our picture taken on the front steps of St. Thomas Seminary with Fr. Sebastian and the Archbishop. Because of this Fr. Sebastian’s first talk of the day began at 9:33.
Fr. Sebastian’s talk this morning focused mainly on Pope John Paul II and the intense suffering he endured to the very end. He discussed the pope’s determination not to resign as his health failed despite the pressure put on him to do so by saying “Jesus did not come down from His Cross”. The day continued with several more talks by Fr. Sebastian.
The day was marred by the disappearance of a small book owned by Fr. Sebastian with many of his personal notes inside. It is distressing to think of the possibility that someone stole the book however considering where the book was and the short timeframe it would seem that someone did.
The day continued with more talks by Fr. Sebastian and the days schedule ended by going to the church for night prayers. As I genuflected to enter the pew I again was struck with a strong feeling of peace. It was strong enough that I glanced at my watch and the time was 7:33. Night prayers ended and some people stayed in the church and prayed the rosary and others went to confession.
The day ended for me while I was in silent prayer with absolutely no idea or care as to what time it was. While I was praying I suddenly and without premeditation remembered and vividly saw in my mind Our Lady of Emmitsburg as I saw Her on December 8, 2004. It was so sudden and unexpected I knew to glance at my watch and the time was 9:13.
Saturday June 25
Again this morning after a time of prayer I glanced at my watch and like yesterday it said XX:XX:33. I got dressed and went downstairs because of Eucharistic Adoration that took place all night long in the adoration chapel on the 2nd floor. I had intended to spend an hour sometime during the night before the Blessed Sacrament but I did not. I was able to spend about the last 15 minutes with the Blessed Sacrament before being transferred to the main church.
I was asked to carry the empty monstrance from the chapel to the church. Fr. Sebastian then exposed the Blessed sacrament again on the altar and it was at that time I had the sudden urge to pray the rosary before morning prayers began at 7 o’clock. I glanced at my watch as the urge struck and the time was 6:33.
I prayed the Glorious mysteries of the rosary and shortly after I finished Fr. Sebastian started the morning prayers. There were times during the prayers being led by Fr. Sebastian that he would say something that triggered a sudden feeling of peace and truth. There were several instances of this and each time it caused me to glance at my watch and each time it said XX:XX:33.
Morning prayers ended and we had breakfast. After breakfast Fr. Sebastian started another talk and this time the main topic of discussion was Bl. Mother Teresa. He talked about the inner locutions and apparitions of Jesus and Mary to Bl. Mother Teresa, especially the one that took place on September 10, 1946 which caused the birth of the Missionaries of Charity. This talk ended at 10:33.
We then moved from the conference room to the church and prayed the rosary as a group. After the rosary was completed Fr. Sebastian called a special meeting for just the group links of which I was now a member. Fr. Sebastian talked about and gave instructions as to the rules of the LMC. This meeting began and the time was 11:13.
Later in the day the next talk began and the main topic was plenary indulgences and how to obtain them. The talk ended and I went up to my room to take a short rest. I called S.C.C. on my cell phone and she told me that Bob Nichols had called to ask if S.C.C. and I would consider taking over the responsibilities of coordinating the 2nd Sunday Mission of Mercy mass at St. Mary’s. This stunned me. Later as I wrote this in my daily notes I glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:13.
I went back downstairs for dinner at 5 PM. Mass was scheduled to begin at 7 PM and 3 people including Dolly K from our group took there LMC vows during the mass. There were 4 others from different groups that renewed their LMC vows. After mass Fr. Sebastian had a question and answer session and after the last question was answered the session ended. The time was 9:33.
Sunday June 26th
When I got up this morning I walked downstairs for the morning prayers in the church. The weather had been nice so far but by now had turned very hot. There was no air conditioning. We had morning prayers and at the instant we finished the prayers I glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:13.
Breakfast followed the morning prayers which was followed by another talk by Fr. Sebastian. When that talk was over I walked upstairs to get my camera because several of the MC Sisters had just arrived and I wanted to take a picture of them. When I returned with my camera and walked into the room the feeling of joy and happiness on the faces of the MC Sisters caused a feeling of joy and happiness in me. It was so unexpected and strong that I glanced at my watch and the time was 10:13:33.
Mass was scheduled for 11 o’clock and as I walked in the church I glanced at my watch and it said XX:XX:13. It was a very nice mass and the presence of the MC Sisters added a little something special that is hard to describe but I will always remember. Mass ended and the retreat was officially over. Karen M rode back with Dolly K so she would not have to ride back alone and I helped Karen with her bags. I loaded them in the car and they left. The time was 12:33.
The rest of us waited for Peter Kahne to arrive and drive us back and during that time we got to spend some more time with Fr. Sebastian and talk to him. We tried to change his airline tickets for a sooner flight back to Rome but it was not possible. Peter arrived and we rode home. During our 6 hour drive home Peter who will begin RCIA this September asked a lot of church questions and we answered them. We prayed the rosary and explained it to him as we went. At the very instant we completed the rosary a car when whizzing past us with the license plate of 13.
Later we arrived home and Aline’s house was the first one we came to so we stopped there and dropped her off. The time was 10:33.
July 10, 2005