Photo: Courtesy of Patti Delsoldato

Patti Delsoldato is pictured with her father on her wedding day. "My father consented to give me away," Patti says. "It was one of my happiest memories." For Patti, happy memories of her dad were scarce, until illness softened his heart. Patti says this was the result of her devotion to The Divine Mercy.

Finding Love through Loving Mercy

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(The following story by Marian Helper Patti Delsoldato first appeared in the Marians' Friends of Mercy newsletter in December.)

by Patti Delsoldato

This is a tribute to my father, Patsy Gangemi. He died on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2007.

We had a real "ride" together. As a child, Dad told me I wasn't good enough, didn't try hard enough. I could never please him. As I grew up, we had a strained relationship, and it got worse when I became an adult.

I remember once I bought him his favorite chocolate cherries. He threw them in the garbage, right in front of me. Another time, I bought him a shirt, and he did the same thing. I tried to get him to love me, but it was useless. My father was tough-skinned, and for some reason, he didn't show his love for me.

But about a year ago, things began to change. It happened after he became seriously ill. I went over to the house and visited him and my mom faithfully. At first, Dad hardly said a word, but then, as his condition worsened, he softened. For example, he let me take him to the doctor's office. I was so happy he allowed me to do that for him.

Early this year, his failing kidneys landed him in the hospital, and his memory started to go. Eventually, though, he recovered enough to come home.

This time during my visits, he started talking to me like a caring father! As the months went on, I continued to visit him and my mom. We would laugh, share stories, and tell jokes — just the three of us. It started to feel like a "normal" father-daughter relationship. When I would get up to leave after visiting, Dad would allow me to kiss him good-bye. He also enjoyed it when I hugged him and told him, "I love you."

Over the years, I have often called the Marians' Divine Mercy Intercessory PrayerLine on Eden Hill to present my petitions to God. One of them was for an improvement in my relationship with my dad. I felt joy when my prayers were answered.

Dad suffered a great deal in his last months, going through dialysis and dealing with soreness and weakness. But I've taken the few short months I had with my father and put them deep in my heart, to remember how much he allowed me to show him the love I had for him all my life.

I gave that love freely. It was a love I held on to for so many years, just for those precious days together when he accepted it as strongly as I could give it. Those days mean everything to me.

God in His mercy enabled us to make amends, forgave him, and mended my broken heart by allowing me to show him how much I loved him all those years. Please keep my dad in your prayers, all my Friends of Mercy. I hold Divine Mercy close to my heart, for it has given me strength to get through life's tough and stressful times.

Patti Delsoldato lives in West Harrison, N.Y.

What is a Friend of Mercy, and how do you become one? Learn all about the spiritual benefits of membership.

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andy - Jan 5, 2008

Dear Patti,
I have a picture of my dad almost identical to yours, showing no emotional attachment. Who does not hug their kid on their wedding day. apparently our dads. Reading your post has made me think of the mature way you handled him.God saved his last loving days for you to heal. And your dads love came through. If you would of not shown your Mercy, you would have never experienced his. All on Gods time.

Spes Unica, Andy

Maria-Canada - Jan 11, 2008

Thank you so very Patti for courage and strength. Truly the Divine Mercy is the answer to a troubled world. I promise to pray for your father's soul at Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament with prayers of reparation which includes the Chaplet at our Eucharistic parish. May I please ask you to pray for my cousin who is in the same situation with her father and family. I just want to share also that a few years ago after pleading through the novena to the Divine Mercy--that very same day--I was called by this cousin and asked if she could visit her dying mother at the hospital. Reconciliation took place. Thanks be to God. It is truly powerful. To Jesus through Mary, Our Mother of Mercy.

Mary - New Jersey - Jan 12, 2008

I have a son who has been estranged from his father for years, at times they have spoken but not for long periods I pray for reconciliation with the rosary , I have not given up but now I will tell him to pray using Divine Mercy hopefully it will be the answer

christa - Jan 13, 2008

dear Patty,

Jesus said that if you pray the chaplet at the bedside of a dying soul, He would stand between them and His Father, not as their just judge, but as their merciful Savior.

Also, offer to Jesus all of your suffering, even the tiniest suffering through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as He uses our suffering for the salvation of sinners, a continuation of His Passion.

Your story really hit my heart, and I thank you Jesus, for giving Patty and myself some happy moments with our estranged parents. You are my whole entire family, my Divine Mercy and you never abandon us.

Oh, Blood and Water which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus, as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You. I trust in You from the place of the manger of my very heart, my King.

Phyllis, New York - Mar 12, 2008

Dear Patti:
God in His infinite Mercy and Compassion allowed your broken heart to be mended. Our Lord recognized your trust, love and steadfast prayer and answered your request during your father's most difficult times. What a blessing for both of you!! May I ask you to pray for my Dad who died without his last rites 15 years ago. I pray the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy every day for his soul. He was the best Dad ever!!! Love and prayers, Phyllis

teresa - Mar 8, 2009

Hi patti
I was researching the name delsoldato and came across your story. delsoldato is also my family name and wondered if we were related. I live in england.