I went to visit Mt. Angel Abbey in 2014 September. I arrived in the area around 6:30 AM when the sun was rising. It was a perfectly round red ball spreading from the upper sky to field in the horizon with some bottom portion still not above the horizon yet. The buildings in Chicago are as tall but this was wide, seeming as close as a mile away.


When I arrived for the mass I awaited to see the priest to bless the St Benedict medal I bought to wear around my neck. I was met by a priest sitting, as if waiting for me to approach, in the vestibule. I made my request and he reached out without looking at me. I never saw his face.


I held the medal as he began to recite something (I heard the words ‘God’s mercy’) and a little light radiated around the medal. He continued. When he finished I walked away placing it on the chain with my Mother Mary medal.


I went to the retreat house and no one was staying that day. I stood for a moment and took in the cleanliness, the warmth, the orderliness and suddenly I was 12 years old again. I realized that my parents loved me and had hopes in me. They wanted me. That I loved the higher order of the mind. It would be for the glory of God that I lived. I was grateful at that moment I was born to them and given the opportunity to love God.  


-— E.W.