"I put my trust in the right place – Divine Mercy!"

“When you are a senior and living alone, Mass and Divine Mercy are something to look forward to. It helps to keep my attitude positive and my trust in the right place."

By Laurie Robinson

In 2001, Sharon Maccarone received a phone call that would change her life forever. That was the year that Marilyn, her Protestant best friend who had been battling a life-threatening cancer, called Sharon in desperation. 

“She told me how frightened she was,” Sharon recalled from her home in Lancaster, New York, outside of Buffalo. “She had been battling cancer for several years. After several surgeries, radiation and chemo, doctors told her that no further treatment would help.” 

As Marilyn poured out her anguish, Sharon’s mind was racing. She silently prayed: “Dear God, what on Earth could I possibly do, or say, to help my friend?”

Healing grace
God answered rapidly. Suddenly, Sharon remembered seeing an ad in the bulletin of her parish, St. Gabriel Church in Elma, New York. A healing Mass would be held at Annunciation Church, also in Elma, the following week. 

Even though they were Protestant, Marilyn and her husband attended that healing Mass with Sharon. Marilyn’s cancer was not removed during that service, but the spiritual uplift eased her fears. 

“The result of that Mass for Marilyn was that her fears were removed, and many other blessings resulted,” Sharon said. “She attended her son’s wedding two weeks before she died. Dancing up a storm! Many people could not believe she was terminally ill.”

Divine Mercy
In the months between that healing Mass in 2001 and when Marilyn passed in July 2002, Sharon, by herself, continued to attend the healing Masses led by Fr. Richard DiGullio. That’s when Sharon was first exposed to Divine Mercy.

“As I searched for divine help for my friend, I believe she led me to Divine Mercy Sunday,” Sharon said. “In 2003, the year after Marilyn died, I attended Divine Mercy Sunday for the first time at St. Phillip the Apostle Church in Cheektowaga, New York.” 

Sharon said it had been many years since her last confession, even though she had grown up Catholic and had been a faithful and engaged member of her parish, where she has taught Confirmation for 27 years.

“On that Divine Mercy Sunday, I went to Confession before Mass,” she said. “After the priest’s blessing, he put out his hand to me, and I will never forget the joy and warmth I felt.” 

As Sharon stepped out of the confessional, “it felt as if I was stepping onto a cloud,” she said. “Heaven touched Earth!”

Later, as she stood in line to receive the Eucharist, she believed she saw "for several seconds the Divine Mercy rays of blood and water in the consecrated host as the priest gave it to the person in front of me!” 

Spiritual fruits
Sharon said that confession and seeing the blood and water in the Host years ago still powerfully impacts her trust and faith today.

“Whenever I begin to have doubts about my Catholic religion during life’s challenges, I remember that moment,” she said. 

Like Marilyn, Sharon, a retired registered nurse, was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, followed by four cancer surgeries and three rounds of radiation. “Because of daily Mass attendance followed by a Divine Mercy Chaplet, at 76 years old, I’m still going strong,” she said.

Divine Mercy is helping her to trust in Jesus for her own health. “My priest reminds me to be grateful for the miracle of modern technologies in my surgeries,” she said. 

Trust in the right place
The Divine Mercy Chaplet is an important part of her day, she said. “When you are a senior and living alone [her husband, John, died five years ago], Mass and Divine Mercy is something to look forward to. It helps to keep my attitude positive and my trust in the right place. … I am receiving more and more graces. I also see my blessings more clearly and sense God’s love through my loving others.” 

Some of those “others” are her two daughters, Lisa and Mary, and their families, including four grandchildren. Sharon said she strives to share with them the power and love of God’s divine mercy. 

She added, “Even though I am a very quiet person and don’t tend to show my passion for Divine Mercy on the outside, there is a continual fire that burns within me now, as I have learned to say, ‘Jesus, I trust in You,’ each time I begin to doubt.

“Best thing of all, now when someone asks me, just like Marilyn did, where they can find divine help, I know exactly where to send them — to Divine Mercy!”
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EUGM

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