Tales of the Unexplained, Number 1

A woman I worked with about 15 years ago told me about a curious incident which had happened to her a few years earlier. She was, she said, diagnosed with diabetes when she went into diabetic shock and had to be hospitalized at Ballard Hospital in Seattle. They got her under control, got the insulin levels all ducky and kept her in for a day or so to make sure all was well. She was at that stage of recovery where she was well enough to be bored, but not quite well enough to be released. She said she was laying around in her bed one Sunday morning, listening to what she took to be a radio in the next room. As she focused on the noise, she realized she was listening to a Mass. She’s an ex-Catholic but having nothing else to do, she listened. She heard the readings, the homily, the prayers of the people (including a prayer for the repose of Fr. So and So, and, finally, a prayer for her own recovery–by name.

Now this woman’s mother was associated with St. Martin’s College in Olympia (about 50 miles south of Seattle), so she figured she was hearing a mass being broadcast from there. (It’s a Benedictine school.) The next day, her Mom showed up for a visit, and she thanked her, saying she’d heard the broadcast and appreciate the prayers. Her mom was dumbfounded. The mass had not been broadcast. They checked with the priest. Nope. No broadcast. Yet my friend was able to describe the homily, the prayers, etc.

The funny thing was, she remained an ex-Catholic even after this. She was very concerned that I not think she was crazy, but she was also unpersuaded that God loved her. “If God really loved me, why do I have diabetes?” she said. I thought, “Sheesh, lady! Whaddaya want? An engraved invitation?”