Joy Battista

"Joy Battista" stands for the Joy of John the Baptist at the presence of Christ.

"And how have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, the moment that the sound of thy greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leapt for joy." Luke 1:43-44

This blog is dedicated to all who seek the Joy of Christ's presence in their own lives.
This blog is also dedicated to the unborn, for John the Baptist was an unborn when he leapt for joy at the presence of Jesus who was also unborn at the time.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Emily the Rose

My only daughter’s name is Michaela and she is a two time cancer survivor!! Because of her I have learned how to pray from the bottom of my heart and for that I am eternally grateful. This story is about a time when I specially asked for intercessory prayers from a very wonderful Saint.

Michaela was first diagnosed at the age of four with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She completed her chemotherapy and had been off treatments for one year when we learned of her relapse at the age of seven. I had prayed all along for her but it wasn’t until the years of her second diagnosis that I turned heavily to one particular Saint for intercessory prayer. During her second diagnosis it really hit me that we were facing a true life threatening illness. Right after Michaela’s first diagnosis the Doctor told us 85-90% of children are cured of this kind of illness and Michaela had every odd on her side. But when she relapsed her odds plummeted to 45-50%.

I don’t know why I waited so long but it wasn’t until Michaela was nine and still receiving chemo treatments that I finally decided to pray a Saint Teresa of Lisieux novena for her. I was searching for two things when I prayed this novena and they were number one, a complete cure for Michaela, and number two, for a deeper more spiritual purpose in my life. Besides Michaela’s cure I wanted to know concretely what God wanted me to do for him.

I faithfully prayed this novena for nine days in a row. Before beginning the
novena, I had learned that I should expect a shower of roses from St. Teresa after completion of the nine day series of prayers. After I began I started to understand through the prayers I was saying that St. Teresa had a mission in life and I was taking part in her mission and that was to spread the gospel of Jesus to the world. I didn’t know what form it would take but I eventually learned God would provide the path.

Nine days passed and I was done saying the novena prayers. I started to think about the shower of roses that I would receive from St. Teresa. The roses never came as real flowers. I didn’t notice their true appearance until after the fact. Had I not been journaling every evening to God I may have never understood my shower of roses. But because I was having an intimate relationship with Our Lord and writing love letters to him He sent me roses. Saint Teresa facilitated the delivery of those roses!

I received my shower of roses for my second prayer intention first. Like I said before, my intention was for God to show me what he wanted me to do for him. He did indeed have a project for me to complete for him. I figured out my project after I came across a book on a bookshelf. I had originally been looking for a bible index book when I came across a prayer book that had once been owned by my deceased mother. I happened to pull the book out of the shelf and took a closer look at it because I had never read through it before. All I knew about it was that my mother once owned it. As I was thumbing through the book I noticed that it was filled with painted pictures of roses, bible passages and a rose prayer. It occurred to me that this possibly was my shower of roses but I wasn’t sure and I didn’t know yet how it was an answer to my prayers. So I put the book in a special place so that I could contemplate it later that evening.

The book appeared on a Saturday afternoon, the day after the completion of the novena. By early evening of the same day, Michaela had invited a friend over to play. The friend was my neighbor’s granddaughter, Emily. Though it was a very gray rainy day the girls began asking me if they could go outside. Specifically, they wanted to go out in the backyard and jump over the fence to roam around the cemetery that is behind our backyard. I repeatedly told them no but they insisted. The insistence came more from Emily than Michaela. I was exasperated with their constant begging. So I asked Emily what her middle name was. I wanted to firmly use it with her first name to scold her and make her understand that I was serious in my objection that she and Michaela go out in the rain. Her answer to my question was, “Rose.” So I said “Emily Rose, you may NOT go outside!!” That was it. End of debate. They were not going outside.

Later that night when I sat down to journal God, I began my letter, Dear God, Thank you for my day and I love you, this is what happened today…… and I told him about my day. By the end of my letter to him I realized that I had indeed received my shower of roses. I had been contemplating doing a memory book about my mom’s life, and I realized that my shower of roses came in the form of a book full of roses that was once owned by her. This was the concrete sign that God was telling me I should do a book. The memory book had the mission to touch the lives of my mother’s dear friends and family, and she and her spirit could live on in all their hearts in a Godly way. I wrote the book by asking everybody I could who knew her if they would write their best memories and stories about her. I received a great response in the form of letters. I learned that my mother strived to live her life the way God wanted her too and she was really a great example for me. I also learned something I never knew about her until writing the book- she also had a devotion to St. Teresa. She had prayed the novena before and had also been showered with roses. The project took me two years to complete, but I did it and printed 30 of the books and gave them out to all her closest friends and relatives.

My love letter to God also made me realize that Emily Rose was the answer to my first intention. I had asked for a complete cure for Michaela. It hit me that God had sent me a friend of Michaela‘s, a child, with the middle name Rose to give me the message that Michaela, a child, would be ok. I had to learn Emily’s middle name in dramatic fashion to understand this. I also discovered that God has an amazing sense of humor. While writing the a-ha moment to God I laughed and wept at the same time. I also felt my mom’s presence. She used to work with Emily’s grandmother, and I could just imagine her giving St. Teresa the idea to send Emily over for me to scold her with her middle name. I bet they were up in heaven having the greatest chuckle that I played right into their plan. There’s no doubt in my mind that Emily was my rose for Michaela! Michaela is now a healthy 15-year-old girl.

Since my encounter with St. Teresa, my family routinely prays a short St. Teresa novena prayer every evening as part of our regular bedtime prayers. In the middle of the prayer we say our intentions and ask for St. Teresa’s intercessory prayers for our family. She is a most powerful Saint, and I believe she and God are in heaven conspiring for great things to happen here on earth and I believe my mother is there too. I am so happy that along with St. Teresa and my mom I’m part of God’s divine plan. It makes me feel special and loved.

Do you have a St. Teresa of Lisieux or Saint story to share?


Val said...

Thanks for sharing your story. It is so full of love and hope. We too love St. Terese and many of our blessings have come through her intersession.

Anonymous said...

What a beautifully inspiring story, Jackie! Thanks for sharing. Our St. Teresa story is two fold. I sincerely believe she was instrumental in Alisyn being born and us moving to Lincoln. I remember praying a novena to St. Teresa with Jessalyn. Jessalyn wanted a sister, so I suggested we pray to her since she had a lot of sisters. Obviously, she knows the joy in that. We did...I think I was pregnant within two months. Alisyn was born and is named Alisyn Rose Behne. The moving to Lincoln part was interesting because we had to wait for our home to sell in Blair first. We were praying for a home in the St. Teresa parish. We had prayers in to St. Joseph to sell our home. She helped us find our home...what we were looking for within the St. Teresa boundaries. We are so thankful to her!!!

Jackie Varicak said...

Another Rose, Part of God and St. Teresa's plan to shower us with roses!! Thank You for posting your comment.

Shane Kennett said...

You are a gifted writer. God must be very pleased that you are using the gifts he gave you in this way....Great job!

Tim & Melissa Brox said...

Small world Jackie...the Emily Rose in your story is my goddaughter. :-)
God bless,

Jackie Varicak said...

The Holy Spirit seems to hang around our world!!