Photo: Courtesy U.S. Census Bureau
She Is Someone
When it Comes to the Census and When It Comes to God
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one in a series of testimonies from our readers who share their stories on the power of the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. To share your own testimony, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Linda Gottbrath
When employed recently by the U.S. Census Bureau, I never imagined I would be taking part in a beautiful situation like this. On this one Saturday, I went to one particular house several times only to find no one home. Finally, I returned again. This time they were home. I am not sure of the time, but I know it was in the afternoon, and I think it was going on 3 p.m. The Holy Spirit was beside me as I was walking through the yard.
"There is someone else in the house," I heard the Holy Spirit say in my heart. "And don't believe what he tells you. ... Get in there."
In my mind I was thinking, "This is America, and we just don't walk into someone else's house unless we want to get shot."
I knocked on the door, and a very nice man answered.
"I am from the Census Bureau," I said, "and may I ask you a few questions?"
Even now I could still feel the Holy Spirit, and He was very much making His presence known. However, the Holy Spirit was very quiet while the man answered the questions, even though I could feel Him right next to me.
I asked the man "How many people live here?" He replied, "Only one — me." Then I proceeded to fill out the questionnaire with the Holy Spirit still saying, "Don't believe him. There is someone else in there."
I asked him, "Is there anyone else living here?" The Holy Spirit at the same time is saying, "Ask him? You need to get into that house." He said, "No one, unless you count that thing in the back room dying. You can't count her though. She won't be around very much longer."
My reply was, "Was she living here on April 1, 2010?" He said "Yes." He said,
"Well, you can come on in and ask her some questions if you like."
I entered and approached her. She saw my St. Benedict crucifix that I wear around my neck and asked "Are you Catholic?" I said "Yes," and I asked her if she was Catholic? The man was in the doorway, and she said "We both are." I asked her the questions of the questionnaire, and when we finished she said, "I am dying. I have sclerosis of the liver. The doctors thought that I would be gone by now. My whole past is coming back to me. Everything that I have ever done is coming back.
"I have had an abortion," she said. "You don't understand: I have killed a baby in my belly... " and she went on naming a lot of other various sins, including throwing knives at people. I asked her "Have you asked God to forgive you?"
Before she had a chance to answer, I told her "It is just the devil. God is
At this time, I remembered the Divine Mercy Chaplet and that Jesus promises special graces for the dying when it is prayed over them. In the past, I had prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet at nursing homes. I informed her that I would stay as a friend and not an employee of the Census Bureau. (The Census Bureau does not want us to speak with people regarding a controversial subject when we are gathering census data. Also, they are not going to pay me for praying with a questionnaire respondent. So this time was not recorded.) Then I asked her "Do you have a rosary?"
She said, "No, everything is packed because we are moving." I said, "Wait a minute, and I will be right back." I ran to my car and grabbed my rosary. I asked her, "Would you like to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet." She said, "Yes, but I do not know it."
I began to teach her the Divine Mercy Chaplet, but before I could do this she got onto the floor at my feet leaning onto my knees and was begging God to forgive her. She continued this throughout the entire Divine Mercy Chaplet. I began praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet as focused as I could. Half way through, it was as if she just passed out. Her eyes looked glazed, and she went limp. I asked her, "Are you alright?"
I thought she had died or was dying right then. The man approached the door, but she began to move and was again praying. He returned to the kitchen, and I began to pray again. As I got to the last few beads of the rosary (maybe 5 or 6) she grabbed my hands so hard that I finished the Divine Mercy Chaplet by counting them on my fingers. When we finished, the man had to come in and place her back in bed due to weaknesses that she has in her legs.
I was never so moved in my life that God had used me to pray for her. It was beautiful seeing her become calm. She asked to see my rosary, and I told her she could have it. The rosary beads are red, and she replied that they were red for the University of Louisville. I informed her that they are red for the blood that Jesus shed for our sins.
"I love the Rosary and what God did for us more than I love my engagement ring," she said.
As I was preparing to leave, she asked me, "Will you recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet at my memorial service?" She explained that she is going to be cremated due to lack of money. I told her, "I will be glad to." Then as I was going through their house to get out, she spoke in a loud voice, "What is the name of that prayer you said with me. What is it called?" Again I said, "the Divine Mercy Chaplet."
She has been in my prayers ever since. After leaving, I went over to St. Athanasius and left a message for Fr. Gary Davis to go give her the Anointing of the Sick and to hear her confession. It seemed like forever before I heard anything back, but finally Father called me and said he went as soon as he got the message. He heard her confession, gave her the Anointing of the Sick and also took Holy Communion to her.
He said, "Anytime you hear of any case like this, please do not hesitate to tell me. I will be glad to go." It is great to have priests like this.