Grandma Frances Novena & promise to God

One day while sitting on my father’s lap I looked up, noticed a small scar under his chin and pointed to it. My father explained  when he was young he came bounding into the house through the screen door, not watching, as children often do. His mother was cooking at the time and just starting to transfer the iron skillet with hot grease from the stove to the sink. Dad ran right into his mom, she, spilling the hot grease on her “beLoved Nando”.

Dad was rushed to the hospital. My father’s head and face covered in bandages, the doctors told his mother, “Your son will be blind.”

My grandmother would not accept this. Grandma left the hospital and decided her faith was going to save her boy. She made a promise to God through a Novena while her son was recovering in the hospital – if his sight was spared she would make her son a robe to wear, like Jesus wore, and not cut his hair for a year! Miraculously, when the doctors removed the bandages they were stunned, and could not believe that my father had nearly no scarring and he was not, in fact, blind.

Wearing a robe, that looked to many like a dress, and having long hair, especially in a macho culture, was tortuous for my father. He said it was a year of taunting and abuse. Sometimes kids would even throw tomatoes at him, but he kept his faith.  He had great Love, as well as fear and respect for his mother, and of course he had his sight! able to see the beauty of the world. He said it made him stronger.

I’ve never known anyone who has Loved Jesus as my grandmother did. She never proselytized. I just always felt her strong faith by her great Love. She did have religious pictures in her home, common, especially at that time, in many Mexican or Latin communities.

There was always Holy Water in her home. Even as an adult when my father would leave her home she would remind him of “the blessing”. My father would then kneel before her while she sat, too frail for her to stand,  (often times holding  a smoking cigarette in her hand which was missing two fingers) she would bless him in Spanish and kiss him on his forehead.

This image was very powerful, and has never left me.  I carry it on in my own subtle way when hugging family.  Depending upon who it is, I draw on their back while embraced, making the sign of the cross or a heart. With my daughter, I often do both.

Up until now, there are few people I dare share his story.  My take on it; anything that comes from Love is a Miracle.

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