‘Mercy Sunday Miracle’

By Terry Peloquin
After almost 16 years of marriage, Rene Pardo of Tiffin, Ohio, still gets choked up when he talks about the moment he rekindled a relationship with his future bride. It was a moment that Rene likely would not have lived to see without what he calls his “Divine Mercy Sunday miracle.”

Since he was 13 years old, Rene had struggled with alcohol and other addictions. His father was murdered when he was a boy, so that’s how he tried to cope.  “As soon as I drank alcohol … I was addicted immediately.”

He grew up in Detroit, Michigan, where he “lived wildly” with peers who also were interested in cars, women, fighting, and alcohol. Through the years, he repeatedly tried to quit drinking, but, he says, it “didn’t stick.” He said, “[Drinking] wasn’t what I wanted to do. I was just suffering.”

On Feb. 3, 2001, he met Solidad, who is now his wife. Living 100 miles apart, they got to know each other via email. In one email, she complained about her life. Rene was surprised. “She had three beautiful sons, her own home, and a good, secure job. She was a productive woman. So I asked her why she wasn’t happy.” His question ended their correspondence.

Soon after, Rene watched a televised documentary about St. Faustina and the Feast of Divine Mercy. He ordered Divine Mercy materials and the Divine Mercy Image and brought these with him to Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 22, 2001 — the first time that feast was celebrated officially by the universal Church. “I asked the priest there to bless these things for me. I told him I needed help, and I need a wife.”

Rene was 49 at the time. “I prayed so hard that day,” he recalls. “I prayed, ‘Please, Lord, send me a wife, or I’m going to die.’” Less than two weeks later, it appeared his prayer hadn’t been answered. “There was no thunderbolt. … There was nothing sudden,” he said.

It was May 5, Cinco de Mayo, and he was riding around in a limousine with a group of friends after a wedding. “That night, I had made up my mind that I was going to die. I thought, ‘I’m going to go out having a good time doing it.’” 

Rene became convinced that he would see Solidad at a nearby club for Cinco de Mayo because, like Rene, she was of Mexican heritage. Sure enough, she was at that club. Rene waited for her to come off the dance floor. “I told her, ‘I didn’t mean to offend you in any way. I think you’re doing well. I respect you.’” Solidad accepted his apology. As they left, Rene gave her a hug and told her, “It’s OK if you don’t love me. I love you anyway.” At that moment, something happened. “That’s what she told me,” Rene said. “At that moment, she couldn’t say that she loved me. She hardly knew me. But she said something happened.”

Rene’s life was spared, but he still continued to drink, and Solidad regularly traveled 100 miles to care for him. “I would start drinking, she’d come rescue me, get me cleaned up, sit with me the entire weekend, and go back home to Ohio. Then it would happen again in a couple weeks.

Finally, after nine months, Solidad had had enough. “She told me, ‘I can’t do this anymore. You’re not doing what you said you were going to do.” Rene got down on one knee. “I begged her, ‘Give me one more chance.’”

The next day, Soledad brought Rene to rehab, and she sat with him until he was admitted. He stayed there for 28 days. “When I came out, I asked her to marry me. And she said ‘yes’!”

“I haven’t had a drop [of alcohol] for 15 years, and I feel wonderful! I believe the Lord sent this young lady to save me. When it was time for me to meet her, I met her. To me it’s a miracle because it saved my life. And I attribute that to my experience with St. Faustina and Divine Mercy Sunday.”  

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