Testimony of faith.  The Virgin at the End of the Hall

Testimony of faith. The Virgin at the End of the Hall

I had a serious health problem at the age of 19, when I was still living in Brazil. Medical tests revealed that one of my kidneys was no longer functioning at all and that the other was in very bad shape. I urgently needed dialysis and a transplant. On the day of the first dialysis at the hospital, when it was time to operate, I saw a needle the size of a straw! When it pierced my vein, I screamed, almost fainting from the unbearable pain. At the end of the treatment, I was revolted: why did I have to go through this? Deep down, I thought: “It’s over, I don’t want to go through this again.” However, this was only the beginning: three dialysis sessions per week for five months were scheduled. The doctor told me that I had no choice.

On the day of the second treatment, before entering the treatment room, I feel a deep desire to turn around. There, I see a statue of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Graces, as it is depicted in the chapel on Rue du Bac in Paris. The statue appears very close to me, just a few meters away, while I know that in reality, it is located at the other end of an immense corridor, sealed in stone, immovable. Above all, I hear a voice rising in my heart: “Do not be afraid, from today, I will go with you.” This was the Virgin’s message to me. I immediately feel filled with great peace. I enter the operating room with a smile, making jokes to the nurses… And I don’t even feel the dialysis! Once it is over, I recite the Hail Mary in thanksgiving.

Later, I received a kidney donation from my little brother. Those days, in the hospital in Sao Paulo, I understood that one can know suffering while living in profound joy. It is anything but dolorism: feeling inhabited, radiant, and this despite the pain. Since that moment, I recite the rosary almost every day. In my little corner of prayer at home, I like to contemplate an image of Our Lady of Aparecida; in Brazil, it is the most frequented Marian shrine. And I remember that my father, worried about a lung problem that I suffered from at birth, had entrusted me to her.

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