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  • Sarah Beth Dippel


I was 20-years-old, freshly graduated from college, and had just moved to Cody, Wyoming, to work as a photojournalist at the Cody Enterprise. It was a cold Saturday morning, and I was setting out on an assignment in Worland. Being from Louisiana, I had never heard the words "black ice" uttered until that day. My SUV hit black ice, and in the next moment, my car had flipped end over end and was lying upside down in a ditch.

At the same moment, 2000 miles away, my mama was driving home from the grocery, not knowing why she reached for a third-class relic of Blessed Fr. Seelos and began to pray. I walked away from my ruined car without a scratch.

Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos was a Redemptorist priest whose last assignment, in 1866, brought him to New Orleans, Louisiana as pastor of the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption.

Fr. Seelos, the "Cheerful Ascetic," was known for his cheerful holiness and kindness. He urged his parishioners and seminary students to live holy lives. "We must strive to embrace the crosses which God sends us with a willing, even joyful heart."

During his priesthood, he became known to have the unique gift of healing the sick and troubled. When the afflicted came to visit him, he would take them into the church to pray before the altar of our Blessed Virgin Mary, he prayed with them and gave them a blessing. Many cures were recorded through his prayers. His last days were spent caring for and visiting those dying of yellow fever. Fr. Seelos would also contract yellow fever and die from the disease.

Pope Saint John Paul II proclaimed Father Seelos Blessed in St. Peter's Square on April 9th, 2000. His Shrine and a small museum dedicated to Fr. Seelos are located at St. Marys in New Orleans. Blessed Fr. Seelos awaits canonization. Many still pray to him for healing and believe in his unique gift. I am certainly a believer in Fr. Seelos and his intercession. I invite you to join me in praying for the people of New Orleans and all over our country that are suffering from the Coronavirus. O my God, I truly believe you are present with me. I adore your limitless perfections. I thank you for the graces and gifts you gave to Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos. If it is your Holy Will, please let him be declared a saint of the Church so that others may know and imitate his holy life. Through his prayer, please give me this favor (here mention your special intentions.) #livinglent2

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