St. Therese gave me red roses. She gave me six bouquets of red roses spread across the chapel to show me God’s vocation for my life: marriage. The bottom picture is my status on Facebook about the work of God on September 11th, 2016. One year later, I decided to revisit the place I originally saw these roses from my novena.
Before I get into that story, here’s what happened one year ago today. When I returned to college August of 2016, I was ready for the school year. I had never had a boyfriend, and I was ready for whatever God’s plan was for me. As I was talking to my campus minister, Fr. Patrick, he asked a group of leaders who was going to be a nun. I had never seriously considered the consecrated life, because I had assumed I would be a wife and have a family. After thinking about this possibility, I told Fr. Patrick that I wanted to dedicate September to discerning the consecrated life. He helped me create a prayer schedule and guided me through the differences of these vocations (thanks again, Fr. Patrick you’re the best). I had been speaking with some of my sorority sisters for a little bit about St. Therese. It kinda weirded me out because three girls had separately talked about her novena, so I decided to check it out and asked Fr. Patrick if I should discern my vocation through this nine day prayer. The St. Therese novena is very popular and known for having a question answered through a specifically colored rose. I always knew, if I prayed it, I would ask for red roses to mean marriage and for white roses to mean consecrated life.
I went to The Farm with Fr. Patrick and as we were checking out what we picked up at the cash register, he brought my attention to the single red rose sitting by the cash register. He then looked at me and said, “I think you’re supposed to pray the novena”. So I began on September 2nd, and went about my days. In the middle of the novena, I saw roses at my church in front of the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was a bouquet of wilted, crumpled white roses. When I looked at the statue of Mary, she was holding a single red rose bud in her praying hands. Interesting, but I was still awaiting the final day of the novena: September 11th.
It was a Sunday, and I went to visit The Farm to show my friends the beautiful stations walk and the chapel I had never been in before. As we walked up the hill, I got excited to see if St. Therese had put any roses in the chapel. We walked inside, saw that there was Eucharistic Adoration being held, and sat in our pews. As I looked up before I knelt, there they were. Six beautiful bouquets of red roses surrounding the alter. I instantly started crying and felt so so happy and warm and joyful. Something I felt and had hoped for regarding my vocation had always been true. I felt so reassured to know that what I felt God had planned for me was the right path. He had put it on my heart since a very young age to pray for my future husband, and in the moment I saw those roses, I felt so comforted as He told me those prayers had been going to my future spouse all along. I thanked St. Therese, I thanked God, and I got even more excited to meet my future husband.
Fast forward to one year later, today, September 11th, 2017 . . .
I arrived at The Farm this morning around 9:30 am and walked up the hill to the chapel. Along the way was the Stations of the Cross walk represented in bright white statues. I huffed and puffed up the hill as I snapped (probably too many) pictures. This year, I wasn’t expecting roses. I wasn’t praying a novena, and I just wanted to go back to where it all began. As I walked in the chapel, there was no Eucharistic Adoration. There was no one with me. But there were roses. Some were yellow, some were white, but every single one of them were half red. They had red on the ends of each petal, sitting in the same position as they were a year ago. I decided to sit down, get out my journal, and figure out what God was trying to tell me this year.
God told me to slow down. For some reason, I had a song that continued to play in my head as I was at The Farm. It crept back into my head this morning as I sat there in that tiny chapel, packed with statues, and prayer cards, and roses. The song is called, “Bring Your Love To Me” by The Avett Brothers. God was telling me to bring my heart to Him, always. I have a habit of taking non-Jesus related songs and relating them to our savior. This one in particular reminded me over and over of a message from Christ. As this tune played in my head, I knew the significance of the roses. They were essentially half and half so God could tell me to only rely on Him. I had been so caught up in finding a new boyfriend, or discovering my future husband that I put God on hold for the time being. After coming out of my first relationship, I was ready for God to tell me who was to be next in my life. Rather, He had been telling me – it was Him. It has always been Him, and I vow to my future husband to always put God first in our relationship. No matter your vocation, God is first.
Bring your love to Him and it will be held tight, protected, and cherished. Today, I learned that our lives can only improve when they’re handed over to God. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trust-falling into the arms of your loving creator. As Saint Therese of Lisoux once said, “Our Lord has deigned to make me understand that by simple obedience I shall please Him best.” May Your will be done, Lord. Your beautiful, exciting, rewarding will.