St. Zelie's Trip to Lourdes
Many of us in life have been faced with a close loved one with a terminal illness. We are all going home! This is a part of life but a very sad and difficult one. God's ways are not our ways in the timing of our death. Not everyone gets to live to 90! And honestly, unless you have lived a life of virtue - it can be to your detriment to live to 90 and be a lukewarm Catholic. Just saying!
Here we have the story of a holy young mother who has raised her children in a Godly environment. For all practical purposes, why would God want to take this mother from her children and the youngest being only four? As it turns out, after Zelie is taken from this family, the family does become more holy. She is able to pray for their sanctity from above. All her children do become saints! Again - God's ways are not our ways. We must have trustful surrender and know that the soul has left the body but it lives forever and fully capable of hearing our prayers and praying for us. May God be praised for such goodness. Here is her story:
Zelie was diagnosed with cancer when the eldest was seventeen and little Therese was four and a half. A pilgrimage to Lourdes was about to leave from near Alencon, and although Zelie disliked travelling especially in her present condition, she accepted without enthusiasm the suggestions of her husband and the supplication of her children. So many miracles had already taken place at Lourdes for the past twenty years; the children were begging for one for their darling mother. Childlike, they were sure of it. It was decided then that the sick mother and the three eldest girls, Marie, Pauline and Leonie should go to Lourdes; that all the friends should join in the novena of prayers and sacrifices for her cure, as nothing less than a miracle could save her. The mother wrote to her sister-in-law at Lisieux: “At least if the Blessed Virgin does not cure me, I shall implore her to grant a spiritual cure to Leonie, to open up her intelligence, and to make her a saint.”
The journey was made painfully, with a few mishaps and the suffering became more acute. But the recitation of the rosary and the singing of the hymns along the pilgrimage train counteracted the apprehensions, and buoyed up the hopes for the expected miracle. The girls promised the father, who stayed at home with the two younger girls, that they would send him a telegram of joy and thanksgiving after the first day at Lourdes. Alas! They waited for the miracle, but God seemed to have other designs.
Zelie took several baths in the icy waters at Lourdes. “While I was in the bath,” she wrote, “I felt no pain, but as soon as I came out, the sharp twinges returned as usual.” However, she was not distressed, but encouragingly repeated: “Our Blessed Lady has left others besides myself to bear their trials – she knows best!” She bathed the forehead of Leonie with Lourdes water, begging at least for her a brightening of the mind and a development of her soul. The mother’s confidence would not be disappointed in that case.
On the train ride back Zelie said: “To be sure, there are great graces concealed beneath all that, and those will amply compensate me for these discomforts… the Blessed Virgin has said to us as to Bernadette: “I do not promise to make you happy in this world, but in the next.” Her example of forgetfulness of self, gave the whole family peace, courage, and even cheerfulness.
After much prayer during her last days, Zelie died on August 28th calmly amid the sobs of her husband and children, under the eyes of the Virgin whom she loved so ardently, and who was to smile on Therese six years later. Only in Heaven shall we see how all things are linked together in the all-merciful all-loving smile of our Heavenly Father. None of the prayers were senseless, God used them for the greater good of all their souls. A physical healing was not achieved but spiritual beauty and grace was granted to all of them. May the Good God be praised and Our Holy Mother Mary thanked for her intercession!
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Bernadette Porter is a Traditional Catholic, a wife of 42 years with 6 adult home-schooled children and 6 grandchildren. A sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God leads me to want to share "The Church's best kept secret" - Mary!