When I entered the Catholic Church in 1998, I had no idea of the many surprises God would bless me with along this journey towards God. I received all of the sacraments during the Easter Vigil that year and that night will be etched in my mind forever. I sobbed like a baby as I was baptized by our Irish pastor and my life would be changed…for the better….forever.
So it began: a journey of healing, discovery, restoration and a true love of everything Catholic.
I had sensed for a long time that somewhere along my bloodlines there must have been some very devout Catholics who prayed for me. There was no-one among my extended family who was a practicing catholic. I thought maybe it was my paternal grandparents. But I had no way of knowing because my biological father had walked out on my mom and my sister when I was just 6 years old. My sister was 3 at that time. Our contact with him was limited for a little while and it stopped completely when my mom remarried when I was 10. I affectionately refer to my step-dad who legally adopted us as St. Joseph. My step-father took me, my sister and my mom under his wing. Our new life began with a new dad and I was never to look back again until many years later.
The years passed as a Catholic wife and mother. I surrounded myself with the Catholic faith in its many forms and embraced many devotions including the rosary. I started attending daily mass and going to confession frequently. I tried my best to pray every day including time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. God slowly healed me of many wounds from my past. I was resurrected in the Lord and became the woman God intended me to be. You see, before I knew God, I lived in the darkness. My life was filled with sin and made me very sick. I had a soul sickness that no human power could make better. The day I cried out to God, He showed up.
Early in 2008, I had the overwhelming desire to seek out my biological father. It had been 30 years since I had physically seen him; it had been 20 years since I had spoken to him. He tried to contact me via phone on the day of my high school graduation in 1987. I was not ready to receive his apology and ended up hanging up on him.
I prayed to our Lord to confirm if this desire to reunite with my father was from the Holy Spirit. The confirmation came immediately from a total stranger whom I have never seen again. I was pretty confident that my father lived about an hour north of me. My younger sister had sought him out years before, but after their first meeting, she could not see him again. I looked him up in the phone book and made the call. There was no answer and I hung up. I remember it was a Sunday. I thought, “Maybe he’s at church!” I chuckled to myself nervously as I thought it was wishful thinking. I decided to call back and leave a message. And I said the following: “Hi. My name is Amy Cara. I was once known as Amy (birth name). I believe that my biological father lives at this number I’ve dialed. If he does, I can be reached at ……” and I left my home number.
When I hung up I was shaking and the only thing I could think about was him returning my call. The very next day, my phone rang in the afternoon. It was him. He said, “Hi. This is Tony. I’m looking for Amy. This is her father.” I almost passed out! It had been so long. I wanted to cry. I identified myself and that began what now exists as a spiritual relationship with my father.
Right away I had so many questions for him. “Are you a Christian?” I asked. “Yes!” he answered! I couldn’t believe it. He continued to share briefly with me his story of transformation and healing. I finally asked him if there were any Catholics on his side of the family. He said, “Oh yes. My family heritage is Catholic and straight from Sicily!”
He then shared with me the story of his grandmother. She raised my father starting at a fairly young age. He had a real affection for her. His own mother suffered from a mental illness which rendered her incapable of raising him and his two brothers. I asked, “What was her name?” “Mary…” he answered. I thought to myself, of course her name was Mary as I was thinking of our Blessed Mother’s name. He continued on, “My grandmother went to daily mass and took me and my brothers along quite often. I have a memory etched in my mind of her rocking in her rocking chair praying her rosary many times a day, every day.” “Wow!” I said. And there it was. I finally had my answer to the sense I had that someone along my bloodlines must have been Catholic and prayed for me. I doubt that my great grandma, Mary, prayed specifically for me, for I wasn’t even born yet, but what this proves to me is the unseen power of the rosary.
This story reminds me of the words from scripture in the Magnificat from Luke chapter 1, verses 46 – 55. This is Mary’s yes to God.
Specifically, what our Lord showed me was the following lines:
“From this day all generations will call me blessed:
The Almighty has done great things for me,
And holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
In every generation.”
In the Magnificat, it says that, “all generations will call me blessed.” As a result of my grandmother’s devotion to the rosary, my father and I have been healed and transformed in Jesus. We are the future generations. I believe that the power of the rosary and our Lady extends beyond what we can see this side of heaven and in our lifetime. It has the potential to affect a change towards Jesus in future generations as it did with me.
After talking to my father for the very first time, I could almost feel a wound healing within my soul. The love of God overcame me as I reconnected with the man who cooperated in giving me life. As my relationship has grown with my earthly father, so too has my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I am more edified by God’s love for me. I know more firmly that He cares for and protects me always.
As I write this, I am also reminded of my own children. Many times I pray for my kids and their future vocation. Many times I bind them to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. And many more times I will pray for their future generations, with Mary; she will never fail. I believe this with all of my heart.