Father Donald Calloway, MIC, skillfully shares his personal insights on topics including Divine Mercy, the Eucharist, the Church, Confession, prayer, the cross, masculinity, and fe... Read more
Saved by a Mother's Love
By Gerald Kelleher
My older brother, Laurence, was 64 when he learned he had advanced lymphoma. He died after five weeks in a Catholic hospital, after receiving the Sacraments of the Church.
Laurence was the black sheep of the family. As a boy, he had a defiant streak and often disobeyed our parents. My parents, like many of their generation, married while my father was on leave from World War II. They sent their four children to 50 combined years of Catholic education, celebrated 55 years of marriage, and died in the Catholic faith into which they were born and raised.
As soon as he was old enough, Laurence distanced himself from the family, parents and siblings both. He married his high-school sweetheart. Their wedding was the last time he ever saw or spoke to our parents. He and his wife raised three children, whom our parents never met. They were never invited to Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, graduations, birthdays, Thanksgiving, or Christmas.
Laurence's heart had hardened. On one rare occasion when I was with him and his family, his teenage daughter asked me if her grandparents were still alive. Laurence had told his kids they were dead when they weren't. Years later, when our mother died, we invited Laurence to attend her funeral. He declined. A few weeks after that, our father died, and he declined another invitation.
By chance, our paths crossed five years later. I hoped this meeting was an opportunity for us to draw closer together. However, the "oil and water" relationship we had since childhood resurfaced. I saw him infrequently, until I learned of his cancer.
On a visit to his hospital room, I told Laurence about the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy, a prayer our Lord revealed to St. Faustina as an offering of unfathomable graces for the dying. Laurence and I recited it together. On a later visit, Laurence asked me to close the door to his hospital room.
His eyes filled with tears as his emotions took control. He said our mother had come to him in a vision, standing in the doorway, appearing as a young woman in an Easter Sunday outfit. Laurence died two weeks later, on Easter Sunday.
I will always see in this Divine Mercy working through an unconditional love of a mother who came to take her son to be with her in heaven.
Gerald Kelleher, who asked that his real name not be used, lives in Pennsylvania.