Photo: Felix Carroll
Meet Miguel and Luisa Aguayo
By Felix Carroll (Jun 24, 2013)
The pilgrim season has begun here at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass. The following is the first in a series of stories in which me meet Shrine visitors to get a little insight into what brings them here.
Driving up the steep hill to the Shrine from Stockbridge's Main Street wasn't something they expected to do when they planned their vacation to a nearby timeshare three months ago. But just before leaving their home in Chicago, Ill., a friend of theirs mentioned the timeshare was close to North America's headquarters of the Divine Mercy movement: the National Shrine.
Miguel and Luisa Aguayo were pleasantly astonished. They have watched broadcasts from the Shrine on EWTN. They pray the Divine Mercy chaplet daily.
"That was a miracle we were so close," says Miguel. "Six minutes away. It couldn't be any better than that."
Brother John, a Marian seminarian, greeted the Aguayos on Eden Hill on May 21.
"I'm continually amazed by the pilgrims who visit us," he said. "And the Aguayos are amazing."
They have a beautiful love story. They have a beautiful radio ministry in Chicago. And Miguel has a beautiful witness to share involving a miracle in his life. Briefly: He was dead — spiritually and physically — and God brought him back to life.
But first the love story.
Miguel and Luisa met on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He took the trip because he sought healing from the death of his first wife. She took the trip because she was discerning a religious vocation. Upon meeting, it was love at first sight, though neither wished to admit it. A priest on the pilgrimage pulled Luisa aside at one point and said, "You're in love."
Luisa protested. "No way," she told him. "I'm here to make sure my call to a religious vocation comes from God."
"No," the priest responded. "Your vocation is to be married."
And, of course, he was correct.
Miguel and Luisa share traits that define them. They both were born in Mexico and moved to the States as youngsters. They both find the most comfort when praying in Catholic churches. They both engage in caring for the sick. They both are nourished through reading the Gospels.
"In everything we do," says Luisa, "we try to put God first, and we ask Mary to hold us and help us to be humble all the time and help us to never let God down. If we have problems, we are never to let our crosses down. We bring them to the foot of Christ and stand beside Him and take cover in His wounds."
With an outlook like that, God was bound to take notice. Wouldn't they be perfect evangelizers? Wouldn't those who are broken of spirit find hope through them?
Yes, and yes. When the Aguayos volunteered at Radio Maria in Chicago offering to perform any behind-the-scenes work the station needed, it wasn't long before management became inspired by the Aguayos' faith. Soon enough, they were put in front of the microphones where, for three years now, they reach 15,000 Spanish-speaking listeners, many of whom call in with prayer requests and many others of whom stand ready to pray for those intentions.
Their show is called "El Manto de Maria 'Puntaditas,'" which translates into "Maria the Mantle of Tiny Stitches." The name signifies Mary's intercessory role in mending our lives and covering and comforting us in the graces of her Son, our Lord. The program airs on Mondays beginning at 2 p.m. You can listen to it live on the Internet. Visit radiomariachicago.com.
"A lot of the people call in," says Luisa. "They have health problems, family problems. They need employment. Many of them don't trust in God. We try to give them hope, because they don't know God. People want to know who He is and how to touch Him and what does He look like. We tell them it's hard to know what He looks like. We tell them to close their eyes and let the wind touch you. I tell them that God can give you a gentle touch, [confirmation] that He is there for us.
"What people take from that is that they do close their eyes and they do pray and say, 'God, I don't know You. I don't know who You are and how You look. But help me to trust You.' We pray to God to give us the right words to say to the listeners."
After the show, the Aguayos take the prayer intentions to the station's small chapel and place them before the Lord.
Listeners have reported miracles after they've called the show asking for prayers. A grandmother who requested prayers for a her terminally ill grandchild born premature with a defective heart and lungs, later notified the Aguayos that the child's organs had begun to grow and that the child was expected to survive.
A woman whose husband had left her and their five children called in and said she was on the verge of committing suicide. The man had just walked by her house hand-in-hand with another woman. Three of their five children had special needs. Miguel leaned into the microphone and told the woman that only God can give life and take away life. He told her that her children need her. He told her that Satan is just trying to confuse her. He urged her to pray to God, and he assured her that God will give her the strength she needs.
Two months later, the woman called the show to report that she was at peace.
When the Aguayos are out and about in Chicago, people recognize their voices.
Luisa's faith has always been strong. Miguel needed divine intervention. The Lord obliged. It was years ago. He was living a life far away from God. He was on the operating table being treated for injuries incurred when he was flung from the windshield in a motor vehicle accident.
During the procedure, Miguel felt his soul leave his body. His soul traveled along a dark tunnel and into the clouds. He saw Jesus, the Divine Mercy, and heard Him calling out: "Come, come, come." But Miguel says he became distracted and looked back down upon the Earth. Then, when he looked back up, Jesus was gone. Miguel took this experience to mean that he must keep his eyes focused on the Lord — always. To keep him on the right path, Christ has given Miguel "divine nudges" in the years since.
"Now, in the name of Jesus Christ, we do what we need to do to serve Him the best we can," says Miguel.
The Aguayos say their Shrine visit was Divine Providence at work. We pray their Shrine visit was as spiritually nourishing for them as meeting them was for us.