On Monday, December 19, 2005, my husband and I were driving to La Crosse to do some Christmas shopping. As we were on the outskirts of the city I suddenly had the thought to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. We were about to pass the turn-off for the shine when I said to my husband, "Turn here, I want to go to the Shrine!"
On Monday, December 19, 2005, my husband and I were driving to La Crosse to do some Christmas shopping. As we were on the outskirts of the city I suddenly had the thought to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. We were about to pass the turn-off for the shine when I said to my husband, "Turn here, I want to go to the Shrine!" I had not thought about stopping and my husband does not usually like to make unanticipated side trips. It was so last minute he had to hit the brakes to make the turn and was happy to go. My motive for stopping was to get a St. Gianna prayer card to replace the one I had recently given to a friend who was beginning chemotherapy. We had visited St. James the Less Church in La Crosse when St. Gianna's relics were displayed and had the opportunity to touch prayer cards to them. I thought the Shrine was the place to find more.
When we visited the gift shop I asked the young lady working there if she had the prayer cards. There were cards but none that had been touched to the relics. She told me the manager, Pat Krause, might be able to help me but that she was working elsewhere in the building. I told her not to bother. However, just before we left, I changed my mind and asked her to page Pat. When Pat arrived I told her what I needed and she asked me if it was an emergency. I told her no that I just wanted to replace the one I had given away to a sick friend. She gave me the prayer cards but I was curious as to what she meant by “an emergency.” She explained that sometimes when women who are experiencing difficulties with their pregnancies, come to the shrine to touch St. Gianna's relics.
Friday, December 23, our oldest daughter came to visit. We were in the kitchen together and she told me that she was 8 weeks pregnant but thought that she was starting to miscarry. At this time in her life she had two little boys ages 7 and 5. She had experienced two miscarriages in the past two years, both at 8 weeks gestation. She was devastated, as were her dad and I.
On Saturday, December 24, I remembered what Pat Krause had said. On Sunday, December 25, our entire family was gathered at our home for Christmas. Our daughter was still having problems. I took her aside and told her about the shrine and what we had been told. I asked her if it were possible to arrange for her to touch the relics of St. Gianna, would she consider making a pilgrimage there. She agreed and said that she had an ultrasound scheduled for the next morning. If they could see the baby's heartbeat she would call me to make arrangements.
On Monday, December 26, our son-in-law called to say the little heart light was beating! I immediately called the shrine and spoke with Pat. She recalled my request and I explained what had happened. I told her, "there is no such thing as coincidence, is there?" Her reply was, "Not at the shrine."
Our daughter is a school teacher and was on vacation that week. However, she was only able to travel to La Crosse on Thursday or Friday of that week. She lived 2 hours away and we felt we could be there by 11:00 a.m. When I asked Pat about arranging the date and time, she said, "It will have to be Friday. Come at 11:00 a.m. for Mass and the relics will be brought out after that."
Friday, December 30, three family members accompanied our daughter and her unborn child to Mass in the Pilgrim's Chapel at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Mass was celebrated by Father Joseph Hirsch and it happened to be the Feast of the Holy Family. Our daughter was given a special blessing after mass by Father Hirsch and was given the privilege of touching the relics of St. Gianna. Throughout her pregnancy our daughter Carly prayed to St. Gianna every day and slept with her prayer card under her pillow. Seven months and one day later on July 31, 2006 at 10:51 a.m., after a one hour and 51 minute labor, Benjamin David was born. He weighed 8 lbs and was 20 1/2 inches long. Before the delivery Carly had asked the nurses to get the card out of her suitcase and place it beside her bed.
We consider our Ben a Gianna baby, and tell his story often.
Wausau, WI 54403