This was written for me by my mother. It's her version of Linden's miracle!
My story about Linden's miracle begins a few weeks ago...We knew when Linden's surgery was set for and of course, we had prayers and support from the beginning, though way too much time to think about it all, I guess. Anyhow, I spent almost the whole afternoon of July 2 and all of July 3 nursing fears for Linden, even though I had been praying, and nothing had really changed with her. This feeling of doom made me very emotional and sad, apparently, I was not good at hiding my feelings either. I attended morning mass on Friday, July 3 in search of consolation from the Lord. After mass, we were invited to receive a blessing associated with a relic of St. Thomas Aquinas. Fr. Sibley showed concern for my sadness and even offered to come to Boston for the surgery. He said he would ask for prayers for Linden at all of the weekend's masses. My friend Jonel stayed after mass and talked to me for nearly an hour. We talked and talked and she made a profound offering to me that I had never heard before. She told me that I should make a trade with God, offer him something of myself and that I should ask for the whole thing..."don't hesitate, pray for a miracle," she insisted. Then she drew me the most beautiful mental picture. I will try to quote her directly now (remember we were both sniffling and blinking back tears at this point): She told me, "You know, there are people around the world that pray all day long: nuns, monks, priests, old people...sometimes their prayers are not for anything in particular. I am going to go home and ask God to take all of the 'loose prayers' around the world and gather them up for Linden." I was, and still am touched by such a unique expression of prayer. I found this idea so profound. I pictured God's hand waving through the air like a butterfly net scooping all of these airborne, hazy, undulating Our Fathers and Hail Marys and bringing them to his heart and whispering Linden's name. Later that morning, Bianca and I had a long talk about and she opened up about her fears. I tried to comfort her, but I too was afraid. All I could do was relay Jonel's message of prayer to Bianca. Linden's beautiful name was spoken out loud by the priests at masses at St. Ann's church that weekend. The congregation at New Hope Fellowship (Joseph's church from childhood) also prayed for Linden. Many of the people of New Hope had been praying for Linden for weeks by then. She had had prayers for her offered by our youth group, as well. She was well covered in prayer.
On Monday, I began a week of catechism classes, I was teaching sixth grade. It was the best week. The teachers enjoyed it, the kids enjoyed it. We all learned so much and were joined together in church daily to worship and share in daily mass. Each day the children seemed more and more interested in the mass. The groups had been given the opportunity to ask for prayers for certain needs and, of course, Linden was mentioned often that week. At some point in that week, I remember getting a text from Bianca that her fears had gone away and she was certain that Linden was going to be fine. I, too, had experienced a sense of calmness. Surely, this consolation was from the Holy Spirit. After such a beautiful week, its no surprise that I woke up early one day in the next week with inspiration as my alarm clock. For some reason, out of the blue, I woke up and my first thought was about The Infant of Prague. The image of Jesus as a child/king with a flowing gown, a crown on his head and holding the earth in his hand is an old Catholic symbol of miracles. I had grown up seeing my mother's statue of the Infant of Prague on her dresser and was facinated by the sweetness of the baby's face. I always loved dolls and so was naturally drawn to the statue. I never really knew very much about the statue and its representation of miracles and conversion. I did know that the statue had been given to my mother by her mother in law at a negative time in my parents early years of marriage. Ironically, I live in the house of that grandmother now. My grandmother was very religious and I suppose she had encouraged my mother to pray to the Infant Jesus of Prague to help her in her needs. I have no explanation for my sudden awakening with the Infant of Prague on my mind on that particular morning, however. I surmise now that my mother and grandmother joined together and asked the Holy Spirit to guide me through baby Linden's ordeal using the consolation of the Infant Jesus. So I proceeded to Google information about the Infant of Prague and what the story was behind this devotion. To make it short as possible, the veneration of the Infant of Prague has been attributed with many miracles and conversions for centuries. There are several prayers and novenas directed to the Infant of Prague. One in particular caught my attention. (I had discovered a beautiful nine-hour novena card way back in April and had purchased the card especially for Linden's day of surgery) Much to my surprise, when researching the Infant of Prague, I once again came across this nine-hour novena and found that it was to be prayed specifically to the Infant of Prague. This really struck me as a "wow" moment. Everything seemed tied together somehow and now I knew that my mom and grandmother had been working in heaven together for quite sometime. I brought all of this information together and presented Bianca with this story of exciting turn of events, along with a small statue of the Infant that had been in my store (ignored!) for an undetermined amount of time.
Skip to the days of the non surgery! I brought Bianca and Joseph to New Orleans to catch their plane on Wednesday and off they went. Kirk, Kip, Aislinn and I left Thursday afternoon with Boston as our destination. Of course, I said many prayers along the way. I had heard from Bianca on that day that the tests Linden had undergone that day showed improvement in her condition, and the doctor was puzzled... LOL! Bianca said that MAYBE Linden may not need the surgery... dare we breathe....
We slept somewhere in Tuscalusa, Alabama that night. When we began driving on Friday morning, I began the nine-hour novena. Needless to say, our prayers were answered before the novena was completed! By midmorning, Bianca called and said that they were being DISCHARGED that day! No surgery! When I started the novena, it was to ask for something and I completed the novena with expressions of gratitude to the Lord for the miracle.We did not go to Boston, we went to visit Gianna, Brady and Jack in Erie, instead. By the time we got back to Mamou, word of our miracle had been spread. Everywhere I went, people acknowledge the event as miraculous. Everyone felt like they had been part of the miracle because they had participated in prayers, fundraisers and other aspects of Linden's story. I felt compelled to tell everyone about the miracle.
Bianca and Joseph remained in Boston until the Tuesday.After picking them up at the airport on Tuesday, we went to a restaurant in Metairie for lunch. We marveled at this turn of events. I guess we must have been glowing. A couple of ladies were sitting at the table next to us and noticed our Linden. They made comments about her throughout our meal. Everyone loves a precious baby, you know, and Linden was gorgeous in a scrumptious pink outfit. The ladies had made enough overtures towards her while I held her that I had to tell them the news.One of the ladies commented on Linden's blue eyes and one thing led to another and I told them about her special week.I said that she was just back from Boston from not having surgery!Obviously touched by this, one of the ladies asked, "Had ya'll prayed to Saint Jude?!"I said, "We prayed to Saint Jude for her first surgery, but for this surgery we prayed the novena to the Infant of Prague..."The other woman gasped and said, "Oh, I love the Infant of Prague!" After this, she thrust her hand forward to show us her INFANT OF PRAGUE RING!!! on her finger! I have to tell you, I did plenty of searching for Infant of Prague products and never once had I seen a ring...In two total strangers, the Lord sent us another sign of his continuing watchful gaze. I am certain that He is not finished using Linden Caroline Olivier to bring even more people closer to Him. Infant to infant.