"Angels are our special helpmates," Rosemary says, "but so are saints. St Therese, a favorite among Catholics, is often nicknamed 'The Little Flower' because of her association with roses. She promised to send a shower of roses from heaven as a blessing, and a few days after she died rose petals floated down from the ceiling of her convent chapel! Since then, people who ask her for help often receive a rose as a special signal of reassurance."
In June 2000 Rosemary was praying in the Adoration Chapel of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Westerly, Rhode Island. "As I was praying, a thought popped into my head (I believe from St. Therese herself) to pray for all the missionary priests under her patronage. So I did," Rosemary says. "Surprisingly, as I left the chapel, I stepped on something very small and hard--a single silver bead with a rose engraved on it. I smiled thinking, Oh, St. Therese you don't have to thank me."
The following weekend, Rosemary went away on a religious retreat and continued to pray for the missionaries under St. Therese's patronage. After she returned home, she saw an ad for St. Therese's Rose Bushes being offered by a monastery. What a fun coincidence! Rosemary loves roses, so she ordered one for her backyard.
Instead of a rosebush, however, she received a letter from Sister Mary, a nun at the monastery. Rosemary had misread the ad. The rose bushes were actually gifts for those who sponsored a missionary priest. The sponsor cost was $1500. Would Rosemary be interested?
"I laughed and wrote back, explaining that I was a housewife and mom with no income of my own. I would not be able to sponsor a future priest, but I would continue to pray those becoming priests," Rosemary explains. She thought that was the end of it, but St. Therese apparently had other ideas.
One of Rosemary's hobbies is basket weaving. With the school year ending, she had thought about teaching children how to make baskets and had already ordered some supplies. But, as she and her own kids searched for students, they discovered that everyone were already programmed for summer activities. Frustrated, Rosemary sent up a prayer, "Please fill my classes this summer." As an afterthought she added, "If you do, I'll donate the money towards St. Therese's Rose Bush!" Within 3 days, Rosemary began getting phone calls from mothers. Soon, she had a list of fourteen students, more than ever before. But would they stay for all eight Saturday morning classes?
Rosemary didn't know, but the whole matter was in God's hands now. Excitedly, she wrote to Sister Mary, telling the nun what had happened and hinting she might be able to send a donation for sponsoring a priest. The donation wouldn't be the full amount, of course, but every little bit helps, especially for missionaries. Sister Mary assured Rosemary that she could take as long as she needed to pay for the sponsorship.
The kids all showed up for the first class, and Rosemary was able to send a check for $200 to Sister Mary. By now the two were old friends, and Sister became more amazed as the children continued to attend classes and Rosemary continued to send checks each week. By the last class Rosemary had paid off her rose bush--and she was the inspiration of the entire monastery.
"I am thrilled to see HOW the Lord has worked!" Sister Mary wrote, and Rosemary responded with photographs of her students weaving and displaying their beautiful baskets.
"There must be a very special future missionary priest out there that needed to be sponsored," Rosemary says, "and St. Therese brought him to us." She hopes someday they'll meet, but, if not, her rose bush will serve as a wonderful reminder.