And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Based in both Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it is the day we remember that Mary was conceived without sin by God’s redeeming Grace. It is a holy day of obligation for Catholics and it is a very special day for my family.
In the summer of 2003, I suffered a miscarriage. It was my second pregnancy loss. I had two toddlers at home that provided great solace and distraction to me, but, my heart grieved for the child I had prayed for and my body grieved for the child I could not hold and nurture. Pregnancy loss challenged my faith. It also made me desire my faith more. So, I spent more time in prayer and my husband and I sought ways to immerse our family in our faith. In the early spring of 2004, we decided to make a pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. We attended Mass and confession and we toured the beautiful Shrine. It is a very special place. I was still grieving and so desiring of another child to add to our family. And, at age 37, I was considered advanced maternal age, so my ability to pray with confidence in God was faltering.
The Mass we attended was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and the Bishop was the celebrant. My two toddlers were rambunctious and enjoying the melodic echo that their random screams and giggles made. So, my husband and I had to leave the sanctuary and walk them around in the back of the church. After Mass, the Bishop came out of the sanctuary in a grand procession with the knights in all of their regalia and walked right up to my husband and me. We were embarrassed and thought he was going to ask us to keep them quiet next time. But, instead, he smiled at the children, and said, “They are the reason we do all of this.” He graciously posed for pictures with us. Needless to say, the pilgrimage was a boost to our family morale and, now, we don’t make a trip North to grandma’s without stopping by.
In the weeks following our pilgrimage, I started to experience the familiar signs of new pregnancy. And, it wasn’t long before I knew that we were expecting a child. It was a time of great joy but tinged with anxiety because I had already lost two babies. I made a great effort to feed my faith at that time. I had no guarantee of the outcome of this pregnancy, but whatever happened, I knew that I did not want to lose my faith.
The pregnancy progressed normally and after we crossed the threshold of the first trimester, I was relieved of my anxiety and was able to enjoy the precious time with my baby in my womb. We announced it to our two children. My oldest daughter wanted to nickname the baby, so we let her. She chose the name Rose Petal. We did not know if it was a girl or a boy. But, it was so precious that we went with it.
On December 8, 2004, I gave birth to Rose Teresa. My husband and I look back on our pilgrimage and feel that we may have been given a signal grace in the form of a beautiful baby, born on the feast of the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother. Although, there is no specific catechism on signal graces, they are a promise give to us by Mary. And for me, they are guide posts or signs along the way that tell me I am headed in the right direction. And, I can only see them by the supernatural light of faith.
I believe we all are given signal graces to guide us on our journey of faith. Do you have a story to share about a time when your faith allowed you to see a sign from God?
9 Replies to “My Soul Proclaims the Greatness of the Lord”
Shiela, I loved this! I have been to the National Cathedral Basilica; it is an amazing place with a presence like no other church I have been in it was comssioned by Pope Pius X who is my school’s patron and the feast of the Immaculate Conception is also our parish’s feast day. It is special to me too. Your lovely Rose is quite a gift from God; what a perfect name. Happy birthday to your sweet girl.
Wow, what a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing this, and Happy Birthday to your beautiful Rose Teresa.
Beautiful, Shiela!! What a gift for your family.
Beautiful! 🙂 I am slowly beginning to look for those signal graces which I used to consider coincidences until I rediscovered my faith and zeal and love of God. In addition, since I am joining the Catholic Church this coming year, I have learned so much about Mary. This has invoked a deep love of her inside of me. The Rosary has been a source of inspiration for me this week. I have also tried to practice asking intercession from certain Saints for various issues.
Now when I hear something is better, I just think to myself, maybe my extra prayer truly helped. 🙂
How strange. Not your story, but how mine kinda goes along yours. My family and I were in Washington in August of 2003. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was newly pregnant then. The plan had been to attend the Feast of the Assumption Mass at the Basilica, but a fire alarm in the middle of the night at our hotel made for some VERY cranky children the next day. I am sorry to say that we made the prudent decision not to attend Mass and instead headed back home to Florida that very day. I was heartbroken not to get to go to the Basilica. I could see it from our eighth floor window in Arlington, but never even got close enough to see it. When we returned to Florida, I learned that we were expecting, only to lose that baby a few short weeks later. It was our first loss after 4 healthy pregnancies. To sya that experieince was hard, is an understatement. Our next child was concieved by Christmas and he was born September 21, 2004. We were able to have another healthy little girl in late 2007, but I am now 37 and wondering if God will be sending any more babies.
Oh, Liesa, I am sorry you, too, have experienced a miscarriage. I certainly don’t think that your miscarriage had anything to do with missing Mass at the Shrine. Nor, was attending Mass at the Shrine the reason I became pregnant. Rather, I think through perseverance in prayer and constancy in faith, we find ourselves following God’s will. And sometimes, events line up in such a beautiful way, that it may indeed be a sign from God. Of course, it may be coincidence, as some skeptics would say. But our faith allows us to see things that doubt covers in darkness. I hope you are able to persevere in prayer and discern God’s will in your life. If you need a dose of hope, I had three babies after my 37th birthday. God bless.
Happy birthday to your sweet Rose Teresa! Our God is such a loving Father and He chose for us a gentle Mother. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Sheila!
Wonderful post, Shiela!
Beautiful story, Shiela:) I have just discovered this site through you! And catching up:)
Your entire family’s Faith and Lives are a testament and beacon of light to all who know you. Your exemplary living is a blue print that all should aspire to follow.
I have watched you girls and your brothers grow up into fine young men and women with all the “right stuff” and your parents can know that they have honored God and their Faith in raising you all in a Holy Life entrusting and giving you to God and the world to do His will with love and enthusiasm. They have much to be proud in knowing that they followed God’s plan for their lives and they have been blessed so much by Him for their complete faith in Him.
They have given you Holy example and you are in turn passing that on to your children as are the rest of your sibs:)
There is nothing more beautiful or sacrificial than Mother love. Mother’s are our first teachers. They put aside their hopes, dreams, plans and desires when the ultimate hope, dream, plan and desire arrives in that tiny little life. The best job and best accomplishment in any woman’s life is her children…. and you and Bill can know in certainty that your babies are with The Blessed Mother and her Most precious child….Jesus
You give hope and faith in your story to all mothers and fathers and are a living example that “The Lord is near to all who call on Him”.
And Miss Rosie is going to be 8 this year; where does the time go?
Peace & Hope
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