Holiday Memories: God, answering a call for help, planted the seed of faith

In 1992, my husband, Vince, and I came to Nevada to help my half-sister, Tee, who had a terminal sickness.

On the return trip through Washoe Valley from a Reno doctor's appointment, Tee asked me to take the old highway so she could show me some interesting sites.

We no sooner left the freeway than the car died. I could not restart it. Leaving Tee in the car, I headed to the closest residence. Nobody answered the doorbell. I returned to the car.

"Nobody answered."

"Now what?"

I sat there a moment, thinking.

"God, we need some help!" I cried out.

I turned on the ignition again and to my profound relief, it started. I put it in gear and headed home.

In 1994, Tee entered a local convalescent home. When I went to visit, she was crying.

"Aren't they treating you well?" I asked her.

"They're treating me fine."

"Then, what's your problem?"

"I don't think I've done enough for God."

My Irish surfaced. "Join the crowd."

Having a second thought, I offered her my rosary blessed by Pope John Paul II. She said yes. I put it around her neck.

Shortly before Thanksgiv-ing, I got a call. Tee had to see me today. She was crying again.

"What's the matter? Aren't they treating you well?"

"They're treating me fine."

"Then, what's the problem?"

"I don't think I've done enough for God."

"Tee, did you want to become a Catholic?"

Her "yes" darn near knocked me over. She told the priest I was the reason for that decision, but I'm betting it was God's starting the car!

Tuesday she was baptized, confirmed, received the last rites and an apostolic blessing from the Pope. Wednes-day, she received her one and only Holy Communion.

Friday after Thanksgiving, I left word I'd see her at lunch. Then I got the call. She had passed away.

Before Christmas, Tee visited, twice turning on the office light and once, while eating at the table near the front door, we heard the chain on the door begin dancing.

We looked at it, then at each other, and I said, "Hello, Tee."

• Mary Santomauro is from Stagecoach.


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