Family Trip to the Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, Michigan
September 1 – 5, 2019
There is absolutely nothing I am more sure of in my mind, heart and soul than the fact that my Emmitsburg experience at the Thursday Night Prayer Group began with me purchasing a small brass crucifix at a flea market at Double Toll Gate between Front Royal and Winchester, Virginia. I have described that event in these papers but will include segments from past papers within this new one in order to provide clarity.
During the early summer 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….
After returning home from the hospital about 11 o’clock that dreadful night I noticed the picture of C.R.C. and the crucifix sitting on a cabinet in the relic room and I clearly remember thinking out loud “ Thanks for nothing”. This vile thought was not pre-meditated but more the result of an involuntary reflex. Suddenly, and without warning the most warm tranquil, peaceful feeling I have ever experienced overtook my entire body and soul and I instantly knew the protection that C.R.C. so desperately needed was indeed granted at a time he needed it the most.
In my heart I know this event was a direct act of God aimed at illuminating with crystal clarity my sinful ways. At this point I knew I could make necessary changes in my life or I could remain on the path I was already on. I chose to change. This is without a doubt the incident that ultimately put me at the Thursday Night Prayer Group for the first time at St. Joseph’s on Thursday November 19, 1998. My life has never been the same since. It is better, a lot better.
I have often thought about making the trip to Royal Oak, Michigan to visit the Shrine of The Little Flower but until now have never done it. Now that C.R.C. is discerning the priesthood with the Missionaries of The Sacred Hearts he suggested that we make this trip as a family not only to pray about the priesthood but to also pray and ultimately deal with a few lingering issues.
With this said I will now describe our trip to Royal Oak.
Sunday September 1, 2019
Today we begin our trip to the Shrine of The Little Flower in Royal Oak, Michigan. As I was getting ready to go to mass this morning at Our Lady of The Blue Ridge in Madison, Virginia I was very suddenly struck with the idea that I should take the original brass crucifix that I got at the flea market with us to the shrine from where it originally came. This thought was so sudden and crashing that I already knew if I looked up at the clock it would be 13 or 33. I looked up and the time on the clock next to the bed was 8:13.
Because there were a lot of things to get done before we leave S.C.C. went to the 8:30 mass at <Home Parish> in <Home Town> and I went to the 10:30 at OLBR in Madison. Fr. J. B. was the celebrant. Mass ended and I decided to stay after mass and pray the Joyful mysteries of the rosary. With absolutely no regard or knowledge of the time I glanced at my watch as I began and the time was 11:13. During the rosary my mind was flooded with thoughts and mental images of St. Therese. At the instant I was finishing the rosary I noticed for the first time that the flowers in front of the altar were nothing but white, yellow and pink roses. I glanced at my watch as I made this connection with St. Therese and the time was 11:33.
Later in the afternoon after everything was done S.C.C. and I left to go to Emmitsburg and pickup C.R.C. at the Grotto of Lourdes when he gets off work at 5:30 and continue our trip to the Shrine of The Little Flower. S.C.C. and I arrived at the Grotto despite traffic and the time was 4:13.
The Grotto was very busy with groups from Viet Nam. There were so many people it was difficult to just walk around. S.C.C. and I wanted to go to the statue of Our Lady of Fatima where I took the picture back on September 23, 1998 but there were just too many people. We sat on the stone bench next to the fountain pool that people throw money in and waited for the crowd to thin out a little. We then moved to the statue of Our Lady of Fatima and prayed both the Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries. We finished and walked up to the nearby statue of St. Therese asking her for a safe and fruitful trip to her shrine. I then glanced at my watch and the time was 5:13.
By this time C.R.C. was getting off work at the Grotto and we started driving for about the next 3 ½ or 4 hours until it started raining so hard that driving became difficult. We got off the Pennsylvania Turnpike and got a room for the night.
Monday September 2, 2019
We got up this morning after a good night sleep and drove the rest of the way to St. Therese’s shrine. It seemed like a very long drive through Ohio. At one point while I was driving my mind was suddenly filled with thoughts and memories of all of the events that have led us up to this very point of making this trip to the Shrine of The Little Flower. It hit me like a ton of bricks. It was so sudden I glanced at my watch and the time was 12:13:00. Three hours and twenty minutes later we arrived in Royal Oak as I read the sign that said “Welcome To Royal Oak” I just happened to notice the time on the dash was 3:33.
We arrived at the Shrine and none of us ever considered that it might be closed for Labor Day but it was. That did not seem to matter because there was plenty to look at outside and in addition to that the adoration chapel was open! We sat in the adoration chapel and during that time I prayed the Joyful and Sorrowful mysteries of the rosary. I glanced at my watch as I finished and the time was 4:33.
When we finished at the shrine we drove a few miles to our Holiday Inn Express hotel. We checked in and our rooms were 231 & 233. We rested for a while before going out to eat at Sedona Steak House. After dinner we returned to the hotel and the odometer on the car was 13.
Tuesday September 3, 2019
We got up this morning and drove the 5 or 6 miles to the Shrine Of The Little Flower for the 8:30 mass. Fr. McClory was the celebrant. After mass we did a self guided tour through the shrine. It was beautiful and the artwork was exceptional. I was walking down a corridor towards the main part of the church to pray my rosary when C.R.C. stopped me and pointed to something on display in a locked glass case. It was several brass crucifix’s identical to mine that were labeled as “Gifts From The Original Giftshop”.
After looking at them I went into the main part of the shrine, sat down and prayed the Joyful and Sorrowful mysteries of the rosary for C.R.C.. As I was finishing the rosary I did not know what the time was but I did know that by C.R.C. stopping me and showing me the crucifix’s it would have an impact on what time I finished to rosary. I glanced at my watch as I finished and the time was 10:33.
We continued looking around the shrine and there was a side room with a beautiful statue of St. Therese and a separate area devoted to her now saints mother and father, Louis and Zelie Martin. C.R.C. caught me by surprise and suggested that we pray a Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the baby sitter that beat him up back on August 17, 1992. We prayed the chaplet and it made me feel very good that C.R.C. thought about this and wanted to do it.
After we completed our tour and prayers at the shrine we walked across the street and got something to eat at a Mediterranean restaurant that none of us thought was very good. After that we rode back to the hotel and took a break before leaving to visit the Blessed Solanus Casey hermitage that is not too far away. We arrived and S.C.C. went one way, C.R.C. another and I went my way. Bl. Solanus Casey is buried there is a glass covered tomb. The church itself was beautiful with the most spectacular hand carved wooden altar I have ever seen. With absolutely no regard for the time whatsoever I sat down in the church to pray another rosary for C.R.C.. I prayed the Glorious and Luminous mysteries. I glanced at my watch as I finished the rosary and the time was 2:33.
At this point S.C.C. and C.R.C. had seen just about everything there and so had I. It was wonderful but we still had time to visit another location but we did not know where to go. C.R.C. found a church on his phone that was only a few miles away named “The Sweetest Heart Of Mary Catholic Church”. The description C.R.C. was looking at said they were open until 4 PM. We drove there and arrived at 3:12 and the door was locked. Suddenly a maintenance man walked up to us and said the church was closed except on Fridays. He then said he would let us in for 10 minutes. He took the key out of his pocket and unlocked the door and we walked in. As we did I glanced at my watch and the time was 3:13:59!
The Sweetest Heart Of Mary is without a doubt the most beautiful church I have ever been in. C.R.C., S.C.C. and myself were stunned and hated to leave after the maintenance man came back in and told us our time was up. We then rode down the street and there was another Polish church named St. Josephat’s Catholic Church. We parked and I walked up to the door but it was locked. As I pulled on the door I suddenly felt peace run through me, enough that it caused me to glance at my watch and the time was 3:33:13.
We then were at a loss to figure out where to go next so we just drove through parts of Detroit looking around. We then rode back to our hotel before going out to get something to eat at Madhouse Restaurant. It also was very good. After dinner both S.C.C. and C.R.C. said they were tired and ready to go up to the rooms. I dropped them off and then rode back to The Shrine of The Little Flower to go to adoration. I arrived at the shrine and the time was 8:13. I knocked on the door and was let it and prayed before the Blessed Sacrament about C.R.C.’s discernment to the priesthood and a few other issues he is dealing with. I then felt the urge to pray another rosary for him. I prayed the Luminous mysteries and glanced at my watch as I finished and kissed the crucifix and the time was 9:13.
Wednesday September 4, 2019
I don’t know how to describe this day. Something seemed off. I don’t know if C.R.C. or S.C.C. noticed it because I did not mention it and neither did they. For some reason I had a somewhat unusual and uneasy feeling almost the entire day. The three of us attended the 8:30 daily mass at the Shrine of the Little Flower. After mass I returned to the adoration chapel and prayed the Luminous mysteries for C.R.C.. We then left and ate breakfast at a very good diner before starting the 12 hour drive home. We made the trip home in one almost non-stop shot. We stopped in Emmitsburg at the Grotto and dropped C.R.C. at his car and then S.C.C. and I drove the additional 2 ½ hours back to <Home Town>. There was not a single solitary occurrence the entire day of the 13, 33 or 333.
Thursday September 5, 2019
Now for the 2nd time we have a snake in our house. The timing of these two snakes appearance really makes me stop and think. The first time we had a snake in the house was the day we made our first trip to Medjugorje on August 11, 2000. In that paper I wrote about it:
On August 11th while we were packing for the trip the phone rang and it was Helen Sarcevic the lady who organized our trip, she wanted to tell us where to meet her once our plane landed in Frankfurt. About 1 minute after we hung up a severe thunderstorm came up suddenly and lightning struck very close to our house. The bolt of lightning was so close that blue sparks actually came out of the wall sockets. With that bolt of lightning we lost all of our telephone service and electricity. Appliances in the house were damaged or destroyed, the well pump got zapped, the stereo was destroyed, the alarm system was damaged, the Dish Network receiver was destroyed upstairs but later after the power was restored the one down stairs still worked and one of the few stations that still came in was EWTN. The water spigots throughout the house were blurping out mud. S.C.C. said “This must be the electric and telephone cable obstacles in that dream you told me about” When she said that it left me stunned because I was able to instantly relate that dream to the problems we were now having. The next day, August 12 our situation had not gotten any better and I drove in town to get some things we needed when my cell phone rang and it was S.C.C. calling from her cell phone. She said I hope you are sitting down because things have just gone from bad to worse. “There is a snake in the living room” All I could say is “I am not at all surprised”
Now we have returned from our pilgrimage to The Shrine of the Little Flower and we found another snake slithering around in our kitchen.
Sep 30, 2019