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Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest

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

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Photo: Chris Sparks

Oh, Baby!

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By Chris Sparks (Jul 24, 2013)
Tens of thousands of pilgrims visit the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass., each year. This is the latest in a series in which we ask Shrine visitors what brings them here:

"I wanted to tell her story," explained Claudia Rodriguez, holding her 18-week-old baby, Alessandra Maria Rojas Rodriguez. Her husband, Oscar Rojas, stood by her side. "I think it would be good to document it," she said. "I'm not sure, but some people have told me that it seems more than coincidental."

The family, from Florida, was visiting the Shrine earlier this month to give thanks to St. Faustina for her intercession regarding the conception and birth of Alessandra. It just so happens the family was in the vicinity anyway, visiting universities in Boston with their daughter, Andreina Rojas, and dropping their son, Oscar Rojas, Jr., off to camp.

"My aunt told me about" the Shrine, said Claudia. "After I gave birth to Alessandra, we were talking about everything that had happened, and she said, 'Oh, you definitely have to see the Shrine.' I didn't even know there was a national shrine here."

She only found out, indirectly, through the littlest member of their family. Here's their story:

"My husband and I had been trying to have a baby for some time," said Claudia. But nothing was happening, so in June 2012, she decided to see a doctor. The gynecologist was glad she'd come.

"From what she saw, there was no way I could get pregnant without an intervention," Claudia explained. "She said, 'Nothing major, don't worry, we'll send you to a fertilization specialist.'"

Then, before she could see the new doctor, Claudia had a business trip to Krakow, Poland. At the start of the trip, she and Oscar did some sightseeing over the weekend before she had to work. Just before they headed into the famous Wieliczka Salt Mine, they got a call from Oscar's sister.

"They talk all the time," said Claudia, "and when she calls in the week, sometimes we're busy and we don't talk until later. We took the call, and after, we were so glad. She didn't know we were in Krakow."

Oscar's sister was excited to learn of their whereabouts. A Divine Mercy devotee, she urged them to visit the convent where St. Faustina received many of her revelations in the 1930s. The convent includes the Divine Mercy Sanctuary.

By the time they were done with the salt mines, it was already late in the afternoon. They decided to take a chance. "So we got out of the salt mines and barely made it before the Shrine closed." Once inside, they both prayed and wrote long requests asking St. Faustina for her intercession to bring about the birth of a baby.

After they returned home to Florida, they went to the specialist. "He did the exam the gynecologist had done," Claudia said. "He said that he couldn't see anything that the other doctor had seen. I looked perfectly fine, I looked very healthy, and I could get pregnant any time. We didn't know I was already pregnant."

Alessandra was born on April 7, 2013 — Divine Mercy Sunday. Not only that, she was born in Mercy Hospital in Miami.

"I only wanted to go to Mercy Hospital because it was close to our house and my grandfather had had a successful lung surgery there. Everybody said it was a good hospital," said Claudia. Oscar added, "At one point, we were going to go to another hospital because the insurance was not working" at Mercy. But they decided to go to Mercy Hospital anyway.

"And when we got to the hospital, the doctor said, 'Oh, you haven't dilated. We'll probably send you back home. You'll probably be back in two days,'" remembered Claudia. "Then two hours later, he came back to check on me and said, 'No, you're having the baby today.' Everything was happening at once."

The delivery was fast, easy, and beautiful.

"I only pushed three times, and she came out," said Claudia. "It almost felt like ... it accelerated so fast as if meant to happen the day of the Divine Mercy."

She said, "We didn't know the day of the Divine Mercy. We found out through another sister who didn't know that we had gone to Krakow to the shrine to pray for a baby!"

"I don't know," Claudia said, smiling and pausing. "Maybe it's all a coincidence, but ..."

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Paula d - Oct 13, 2013

O no it's no coincidence our saint faustina is so powerful and so merciful to all who ask help I'm so happy to hear another successful petition I would love you to give your little blessed baby a little snuggle from me( how lovely is our Jesus) your family was truly blessed with divine mercy Paula from Liverpool uk god bless With love

Caroline - Oct 30, 2013

Praise God, and spread the word of Divine mercy Chaplet and its power, May all come closer to Jesus through this wonderful miracle. god bless you and your family abundantly.

Paula d - Nov 7, 2013

Please pray to Jesus for all th holy souls st poi is a good saint to ask help from I love him and of course our faustina please kind people will you pray for my loved ones I lost my mum my only sibling my brother ther names are Emily an Derek and my two uncles Tony an Terry all lastyear but the lovely thing is. I got to pray for them at the bedside an said chaplet for all of them so not all sad this was my blessing anmy mum asked me to say it with her how fab May the lord in his infinite divinemercy come to the aid of all out departed loved ones o Jesus we love open the gates of purgatory an bring our loved to adore love praise and glorify you in heaven as we there families do on earth blessed mum ou lady please ask your son to hear our petion we place throughnyour most immaculate heart and withe inter redskin of lovely st poi st faustina and as an offering we offer to god the father the gift of jesus death full of love for us the sinful children I make this prayer with a heart bursting with love for you my god and your mumgods most perfect specimen of humanity ilv u ilv u. Ilv u godless please pray for my dead jus say pay as loved ones he will know with love from me Paula d

Paula d - Nov 7, 2013

To show our blessed mother how much we love her and her boy(our lord ) why not right now offer her your day jus for her holy intentions. So let us pray. Oh our lady to prove our love and devotion to you we offer you our every thought word and action our sufferings ourvtrial sorrows joys and all are prayer jus for you our lady knowing full that you will offer them for the intentions of the mercy of our gracious god father son and our wonderful holy spirit. Jus think how useful these offerings are to her and how she will be Well done guys luv you all and love you mother of mercy

Paulad - Nov 7, 2013

O loving Jesus I a miserable sinner salute and worship the most sacred wound on your shouler ere you bore your heavy cross which tore your flesh and laid bare your bones inflicting upon your adoable divine body an anguish greater than any other I give you thanks of this sacred wouund not honoured by man Jesus nost sorrowful we ask you by this cruel crushing pain to be merciful to all the the suffering holy souls in purgatory those who you suffered this most painful wound for out of pure love and mercy my kind lord I trust in you an no my prayers are all answered I love you our most merciful and suffering saviour. If it be your will that is God bless. An with love from Paula d uk. Lv yous all
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