It is said that coincidences are God's way of being anonymous. I believe that if we are receptive to them, God gives us little signs of encouragement, comfort and consolation in our everyday lives, signs that He is with us. The accounts in this blog are true.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
A Rose from St. Therese
"St. Therese, the Little Flower, please pick me a rose from the heavenly garden and sent it to me with a message of love. Ask God to grant me the favour I thee implore and tell Him I will love Him each day more and more."
(Prayer to St. Therese)
It had been my first year teaching at St. Vincent Ferrer School in Brooklyn, having previously taught at Little Flower School. I had attended Little Flower as a child, and when I returned as a teacher, I remember being struck by a colorful framed print hanging above the stage in the auditorium of St. Therese holding a crucifix with cascading roses It looked so familiar to me, and due to it's aged appearance, I thought it might have been the same one that had been there since I was a little girl. I would miss seeing that picture and all of the other images and statues of St. Therese.
I was to teach 5A at St. Vincent's, and when the principal showed me my classroom for the first time, there, almost life size, was a statue of St. Therese with crucifix and roses right down the hallway from my classroom. I would have the comfort of passing it many times a day walking to and from my room. That was the first happy coincidence at my new school, but the one to follow was even more wonderful.
A few weeks after the beginning of the term, October 1st, would be the Feast day of St. Therese. I thought it would be nice to adorn her statue with a dozen roses and to read a little biography from my book of Lives of the Saints for children to the class. Early the morning of October 1st, roses in hand, I had been on my way to the statue when Frances, a second-grade teacher saw me and said, "Good morning! What beautiful roses! What is the occasion?" I told her that they were for St. Therese. She said, "Well, they're lovely, and now she's going to see that you get roses, too."
The teacher on duty had rung the school bell, and the children quieted down and began to take their places on line. I was looking forward to hearing their "oohs" and "wows" when they saw the beautiful roses at the foot of the statue. It seemed as if most of the class was on line; maybe one or two students were late or absent. I noticed that Giselle, a petite and sweet little girl, was not on line, but at the next moment I saw her coming into the schoolyard. What was she carrying wrapped in a large cone-shaped paper wrapper? As she approached me at the front of the line, I saw it was a single red rose surrounded by an abundance of baby's breath and wrapped in printed florist's tissue. She said, "This is for you, Miss Virzera". I was almost speechless, but thanked her so much. "Was there a special reason for bringing me this rose?" I asked. She said, "I don't know I just told my mommy I want Miss Virzera to have a rose today and she said OK."
I felt as if a little bit of heaven had touched me, and I was on Cloud 9. I couldn't wait to tell Frances that I received a rose, too.
At that time, I was unaware of the tradition of asking St. Therese to send roses from heaven as in the Prayer to the Little Flower at the beginning of this post. Some time later, I found out about this pious practice and tradition, and I was even more elated. I mentioned to Frances that I didn't know about St.Therese sending roses to those devoted or praying to her, and she said, "I didn't either" I asked her why she had said that I would get roses, too. "I said it just like that," she said.
I later was to learn how closely St. Therese is associated with roses. In her autobiography, Story of a Soul, she says: "I will let fall from heaven...a shower of roses."
Could there be any doubt that the rose was from St. Therese?