As a child I was fascinated by that envelope, though I only saw it a few times, as it was precious to my Mom. I can still see the beautiful handwriting belonging to my grandmother in my minds eye, and I can feel the temptation to open it and look at the flowers that were sent as a heavenly sign. I do not know where that envelope went after my Mom passed away, but I hope one of my siblings has it. St Therese has remained a favorite saint for all of my siblings and for me as well. My sisters all have her name in one form or another either at birth, or in conformation. She's a reliable family go-to. A regular in all our family litanies. Saints are like that sometimes, they choose you long before you choose them.
My John-Paul headed off to the minor seminary today. He is many years away from making a decision to the priesthood, but one large step closer than he was yesterday. This isn't a huge surprise for anyone who knows JP. We've had inklings of it since he was about seven. John-Paul was the last child in our family that my Uncle Dave baptized. John-Pauls middle name is David in his honor. My Mom and my uncle were both thrilled when they found we chose John-Paul as his name, though Fred and I argued about it. My obstinate Fred said the Pope was already a saint, and I argued he wasn't official yet and that a child should be named after a canonized saint. Fred said our JP would just have to wait. I finally gave in.
My Uncle Dave died on Divine Mercy Sunday when my John-Paul was just a baby. Pope John-Paul II died on Divine Mercy Sunday 2005 when my John-Paul was almost 8. Its been my opinion my son was named after two saints not one.John-Paul happily celebrated when Pope John-Paul was canonized in 2014 after hearing his own name story for so many years.
I am meandering through this strange tale because I think its important to remember how often our faith has been first entrusted to us by our families. Those who love and go before us so often shape who we are, and how we come to know a loving God and Father. God sows seeds and if we watch, and watch closely, sometimes we see them sprout up. God finds ways to speak to us if we have the ears to hear (Matthew 11:15).
Today I couldn't help but listen. John-Paul spent the summer working on his application. I have never seen so much paperwork in my life. No need to worry about the current screening process, its tighter than a jar of peanut butter at a squirrels convention. It was a long process and exhausting at times. Then, finally, one day about 3 weeks ago- acceptance.
We had spent so much time on the paperwork, that when he finally was accepted I gulped hard and realized he'd be gone in a few weeks. I asked him when he was entering, he told me August 20th. I gulped harder, my Moms birthday.
When we stepped from the car and I was confronted with an entire hedgerow of pink and red roses. It almost knocked me over. Sophie ran over to look at all the roses with her sisters. I felt as though St. Therese had never made herself so clear to me in all my life. And so on our way out of the restaurant, when we were all in better spirits, I asked Fred to pick me three roses. When I got home tonight, I cut the petals from the roses and I placed them in an envelope and wrote in my best handwriting "In answer to prayer from the Little Flower", and I sealed it. Tonight, I will place it under my pillow, tomorrow I will put it away for safeguarding with memories that mark this day as a blessed one.