Mercy Moments, September / October 2016



Reading another mother’s Mercy Moment in the May/June MARYKNOLL magazine about the compassion she experienced when her son was injured in an accident moved me to share my own Mercy Moment.

In May 2013 I got a phone call that my son, Mark, had been in an accident in Montana. He had been working in the oil fields there. 

At the time of the accident, I was on my way to visit my daughter in Georgia. All I could think of was that I needed to get to my son as soon as possible. The only information we had was that Mark had been airlifted to a hospital in Billings, Mont.

I found out he had been taken to St. Vincent de Paul Hospital in Billings and was in very serious condition, although he had no head or spinal injuries, a blessing. 

When I got to my daughter’s, I told her I needed to get to Billings. As she made the flight arrangements, my daughter recalled that she had a high school friend, Nikki, who lived in Billings, and, she thought, worked at St. Vincent de Paul Hospital.

My daughter called and, sure enough, she learned that Nikki was a respiratory therapist at St. Vincent’s. Nikki assured us that she would check on Mark and let us know how he was. And then further, she told my daughter she would pick me up at the airport. She said she was going to be away on a little vacation,  but she insisted I stay in her home and use her car while I was there. What a blessing this was for me and my son! I stayed two weeks.

Mark came back to my home and was with me for a year and a half to recuperate and get back on his feet. I still get chills when I think of how blessed we were to have a friend who helped in this very stressful time. And Mark is doing well. He will never be 100 percent, but he’s active and can get around well, living life and enjoying his blessings.

Barbara Calabrese

Maitland, Florida

My husband Erik and I were serving as Maryknoll lay missioners in Tanzania when my father was taken suddenly ill and was hospitalized. My mother requested that we return to the States. Thank God we did. We were blessed to have a brief period with my father and accompany my mother, siblings, family and friends during the time of my dad’s passing.

Upon return to our rural parish home in Issenye, Tanzania, Christopher, from the nearby village of Kyandege, came to extend his condolences. On behalf of the faith-filled Kyandege Catholic community, Christopher presented me with a sign of their deep sympathy on my loss. Attached to a tree was a large goat, an expensive gift from the poor villagers who met and prayed together in a mud classroom. United in our frailty and humanness, we were truly one family of God. And Erik and I were touched by what felt like divine love and mercy.

Margo Cambier, MKLM

As a Maryknoll Sister, I prepare students for First Holy Communion at a local parish in Ossining, N.Y. The directives for practice for First Holy Communion were given out and clearly stated that if students missed the practice for the ceremony, they could not do a Scripture reading or perform any of the other special tasks for which they had been chosen.

The night of the practice, the student who was to give the opening greeting was not present. She was a very good student and came faithfully to class. I knew the consequences for the student and felt bad for her.

Later I telephoned the parents to find out why their daughter had missed practice. The child’s mother said that both she and her daughter had totally forgotten about the practice. They were both so sorry. I could hear on the other end of the phone how upset the family was.

The spirit of mercy prompted me to say: “You know that the policy is that a student will not read if he or she misses a practice. But I believe that First Holy Communion is a time of love and happiness. Yes, this was a mistake, but I want peace and happiness in your family. Please take time to pray together and love one another and please come a little early on First Holy Communion day so we can practice her reading before Mass.” They did.  

Dora Nuetzi, M.M.

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About the author

Lynn F. Monahan

Lynn F. Monahan is editor-in-chief of Maryknoll magazine and served as a Maryknoll lay missioner in Peru in the 1990s. A graduate of Syracuse University, he has worked for newspapers and newswires, including The Associated Press and Bloomberg News. He holds a master’s degree in writing from Manhattanville College, and is the author of the award-winning novel Pistaco: A Tale of Love in the Andes. Twitter: @LFMonahan