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Photo: Photos courtesy of Lena O'Malley
Put to the Test, with St. Faustina by My Side
Saint Faustina promised: "My mission will begin at the moment of my death" (Diary, 1729). The following testimony assures us of this. We welcome your reports of graces and favors received through her intercession. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lena O'Malley
One day, in February 1997, I read an advertisement in the newspaper about a novena to Blessed Faustina (this, of course, was before her canonization). I thought to myself, "Faustina? What a pretty name." I had never heard of her or the message of Divine Mercy. I put the newspaper down, and thought no more of it.
Then, the following week, I was going to the mall. There was a lady sitting next to me on the bus reading a small book with the title, Novena to Blessed Faustina. So I thought to myself, "Gee, that's twice."
The following week, my husband, Martin, and I sat in our regular pew at church. There, at our pew, was a prayer card with the image of The Divine Mercy and the words "Jesus, I Trust in You." A week later, we went to church and right in front of us was another prayer card with "Blessed Faustina." So I said to my husband, "This is the fourth time within a few weeks! I wonder what's going on?"
I soon found out. Jesus was leading us to the message of The Divine Mercy. And it couldn't have come at a more opportune time.
That September, Martin became ill. The diagnosis was that his diaphragm had completely broken down. He would need a life-support machine. A tracheotomy tube would need to remain in his neck at all times.
Before his health became a problem, we thought we were doing well as Catholics. We went to church. We helped the poor. But you don't really know how well you're doing, spiritually, until you're put to the test. Martin and I soon came to realize that this whole ordeal was a call for us to trust Jesus completely.
By January 1998, he had been transferred to an upstate New York hospital. Because I don't drive, I was worried about how I was going to visit him from our home in New Jersey. But St. Faustina arranged everything. The hospital called and offered me a room until he was released. I was able to be with him every day. I spent this time watching and learning from the nurses how to care for him.
The next month, he was released. I brought him home — the life support, all the contraptions, everything. I prayed to St. Faustina, "I'll do my best, but the rest I'm going to leave to The Divine Mercy and you."
So began very difficult years, but very prayerful years for both of us.
Martin had been a strapping man of 190 pounds who had always been healthy, but he gradually lost all his strength. He couldn't even speak or move his hands. I had to spoon-feed him. I read the Diary to him often. He communicated to me that he really felt The Divine Mercy in his soul.
As we surrendered in trust, it's amazing the miracles that began to happen in our life. One time, the electricity went out all over town. My husband was on oxygen around the clock. We had a supply for only a few hours. I called for another supply of oxygen just in case. When I got through, the lady who answered said, "How did you get through? The phones are all out." She said "You're the only one who got through." They delivered oxygen to me within two hours!
In the meantime, my doorbell rang. It was the fire department and the police department. They said, "Mrs. O'Malley, we don't know how long the electricity is going to be out, but we're bringing you a generator, and we'll man it around the clock."
The electricity was out for more than two days! They came and manned the generator on the porch for 52 hours, morning, noon, and night! I asked a fireman, "Who told you to come down here?" He said it was the mailman. I spoke with the mailman later on. He told me that something guided him to the fire department. "I never leave my route," he told me, "but I left the route and went to the fire department to tell them that you couldn't drive."
I think it was St. Faustina guiding him!
On New Years Eve of 1999, Martin had terrible pain. I ordered an ambulance and took him into the hospital, and he just got into the bed there when he went into cardiac arrest. They resuscitated him. I was able to call his family in Ireland, and they were able to come and see him one last time.
Eleven days later, on Jan. 12, 2001, he died. And I feel so blessed to have been able to pray the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy by his side before he died.
Over the years, The Divine Mercy gave us the strength we needed and comforted us in all our fears. Many times people would ask me, "How do you do it, Lena?" And I would always answer, "I'm being carried through."
Jesus, I trust in You!