by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
Yes, Virginia, there is a God. And God has a Mother, the Blessed Virgin, whom Christ gave to each of His disciples, as their own heavenly Mother.
The greatest spiritual consolation is having our honest prayers heard.
Years, ago, when I was a hermit at Noto, in Sicily, the Bishop let me reside at the Sanctuary of Our Lady Stairway to Heaven. Grateful for this benefaction, and having noticed that the Stations of the Rosary on the road leading to this Sanctuary were not all in good order, I organized a fund raiser to repair one of the most damaged.
Some months later, while admiring the repair one morning, as I returned from Noto, a man stopped by in his car, along the main road, and asked me why I was praying before that Station, when I should be praying before the one opposite.
Then he told me, how, passing this Station many years ago, he received a devastating phone call: his son was just involved in a life threatening car-accident and had been rushed to the hospital. His wife, hearing this news, had had a heart attack and was being rushed to the hospital, and his father had has a stroke the night before and was in the emergency room.
He collapsed with grief before the First Station, The Annunciation of the Lord, and begged Our Lady to help him. To his utter amazement, just 24 hours later, he heard the news that his son was not gravely injured, his wife would speedily recover and that his father was to be released from emergency care.
From that day onward, he made a point to stop at this Station every day on the way to work, to amend his life, to return to the practice of the Catholic Faith and to live for God and Our Lady.
I myself want to give glory to God and show gratitude for a tremendous favor from the hands of the Virgin.
Beginning in 2004, whenever I found myself in Italy, on the Feast of St. Alexis, my patron saint, I would make a personal pilgrimage to his Basilica on the Aventine, here at Rome, and after venerating his relics, pause to pray before the Icon of Our Lady, kept there. You can see an image of this beautiful icon above.
Each year I prayed that Our Lady help me find a hermitage where I could live my religious life as a Franciscan hermit, confident that when the time was in accord with God’s Plans, She would answer me.
This year, when I came to visit the present property where I have opened the Hermitage of the Holy Cross, I was concerned that perhaps the owners would not allow me to rent it, seeing that there was not even one religious image in the building. As I examined the property, I went into every storage room. And in the upstairs’ closet, I found to my amazement an old holy card, with the image of this Icon on it. On the back, it said: Our Lady of Intercession, venerated in the Basilica of St. Alexis, Rome.
Today, I am in this house, and I have enthroned Our Lady under this title as Queen and Lady of the Place. A place beyond all my hopes and dreams, where I can at last live my religious life with greater observance. And just in time for the 25 anniversary of my perpetual vows.
Sweet Mother of God, thank you! Thank you 1000x 1000x!