Last year I planned to return to my grandparents’ hometown in Italy with my aunt to celebrate Saint Lucy’s day. She asked if we would be staying in the same house because she was unsure of the language and I’d taken some lessons. “The same house,” I exclaimed, “I think we’ll be sleeping in the same bed!” If my mother was still alive I would have taken the trip with her or she would have gone with her sister. But as Aunt Toni and I admitted, we were an unlikely pair to make the trip together. We did sleep in the same room and in the same large bed. Little did I know that of all the gifts we received that trip (and there were many), sharing a room with Aunt Toni would be the greatest. When we were shown to our room we were told it was special because it had belonged to our late Uncle Giuseppe. With its high ceiling and shuttered windows, it felt rich in memories and prayer. But an even bigger holiness seemed to fill the room at night when Aunt Toni prayed the Rosary… “Hail Mary, full of grace…”  One night when I was half asleep I heard her say, “Good night, Sweetheart,” and recognized the lilt of my mother’s voice. It had been six years since I’d spoken to my mother, but this blessing from my aunt felt just as sweet. I became acutely aware of the mother energy around me with Aunt Toni in my bed, Aunt Domenicantonia across the hall and my aunts, Maria, Antonia and Libera, down the street. Throughout those ten days in Italy, mother love enveloped me and in its arms I was held, rocked and healed. One night I asked my aunt to teach me the Rosary. Gently and kindly, she did. The very next evening when my Aunt Anna presented us with gifts, I opened a shiny gold package that held a white set of Rosary beads blessed by the Pope. Could Aunt Anna have known? Mother love was at work again, pulling the details of my healing together. On our final night together, Aunt Toni and I sat in bed as our hands moved along the beads and our lips moved along the prayers. It was then that I realized something was different. The hole in my heart, that only a mother’s love could heal, had been sewn together by the hand of One and the hearts of many. I bowed my head in gratitude… and at the end of the Rosary when I said “Amen,” I really, really meant it.

A broken heart can only be mended by the hand of God and through the hearts of men (or women). – ZLL