“Behold I am with you always, even to the close of the age.”

Matthew 28:20

Jesus promised that He would never abandon His people; He promised that He would remain until the end of time. Jesus walked the earth over 2000 years ago, yet He is still present and active in the lives of His people. He is with them. However, recognizing God’s presence in our world today takes a ‘trained eye’ and an act of faith. Jesus can most readily be recognized through the witness of Christian people, people who acknowledge and testify to the power and presence of God in their lives. The ‘Encounter with Christ’ stories help to highlight how God is working in the lives of the people in the parish of St. Magdalen’s Church. These stories are meant to help those who read them to more easily recognize God’s presence in their own lives. God wants to be known by you and to work in your life—invite Him to do so.

Finding Healing through the Rosary

05-14-2017Encountering ChristJudy Dreher

I still have my rosary beads from 2nd grade. I learned to pray the rosary at an early age since I attended Catholic school. My mother was also very devoted to the rosary, praying it diligently after the death of my four-year old brother. She found peace and comfort amidst her heartache by reciting the prayers and through entrusting herself to Our Lady. I carried this awareness with me.

When I was in my early 20's I was a big partier. I was involved in a drunk driving accident which left me paralyzed from the neck-down. A few years later I realized it was alcoholism and have been sober for the last 24 years. I had always been very active so being paralyzed forced me to be still and to start thinking. My fiancé at the time could not deal with this tragedy and so broke off our engagement. Amidst my suffering, I went back to what I had known as a child—that Mary was my mother and that the rosary was a powerful prayer. I remembered how my mother had gone to Mary when she was in need and so I began to pray, hoping to receive peace and comfort. Eventually after much prayer and therapy, I was able to walk again and to return to work.

Slowly, the rosary began to transform my life. I worked on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor. Before work I would attend the 8am daily Mass at Our Lady of Victories. While at Mass, I recognized a few familiar faces from work. I formed a rosary group among my co-workers, which met every Tuesday. I felt drawn to bring God into this most unlikely of places—my work-place. Additionally, I felt inspired to start a rosary society at St. Ann's Parish in Hoboken.

I experienced a great deal of emotional pain from my accident and was closed off to the idea of marriage. After praying the rosary for some time, I felt an openness and even a desire to be married and to have a son. Shortly after making this prayer, I met my husband Frank, a widower with a 13--year old son named Matthew. We were engaged quickly and Matthew immediately started calling me Mom. Both Frank and I have always felt that God brought us together to bring our little family closer to God.

In 2004 Frank and I traveled to Lourdes, France with the parish. From this pilgrimage, my love of the rosary was deepened further. As a result of our pilgrimage I decided to start a rosary group. The group meets every Monday night at our house and still takes place to this day. There have been so many miracles because of the rosary group. God has used the rosary to bring healing, comfort, and peace to me and to my family. Through the rosary, I have experienced Mary as my Mother and she has taught me how to be a mother for my son Matthew.