Rosary at Rock Bottom
In May, the Month of Mary, we thought we'd share some stories on Our Lady and Marian devotion. Mary Kathryn Volpone, one of Father Joseph's assistants, received the following testimony from an anonymous Marian Helper. We'll call her "Judy."
My 22-year-old son, "Max," has been a drug addict since he was 13. He went to rehab at 17, got out, and was using again within a month.
The past year and a half, however, has been the most difficult time. He was like a walking zombie. To feed his addiction, he started stealing from his employer and everybody in our family.
Last February, Max broke into my neighbor's apartment for cash. He was jailed on a felony burglary charge. I bailed him out. He promised he would go to rehab and change. The night I bailed him out was the first night that he shot heroin. When somebody's on that drug, they're not themselves. He sank into the world of heroin — which is a nightmare — and continued to steal from me, my younger son "Matt," anywhere he could get money. Eventually, I couldn't allow him into my home anymore because we didn't feel safe.
And it just progressed. Max was skin and bones. He got arrested several times.
I'm friends with Mary Kathryn, whom I know as Mary Kay. One day during the summer when this was at its worst, Mary Kay said, "You need to just hand him over [to Jesus through Mary]," so that's what I did. It took time, but I've handed him over so that Our Lady can take care of him. I asked Mary Kay, "How do you pray the Rosary?" I'm a Lutheran — we don't pray the Rosary. But I prayed the Rosary for him every day for guidance and protection.
Finally, in October, Max came into my home and stole from me. Matt was home, though Max didn't know. I made the decision that I was going to put a stop to it, so I had Max arrested. He went to jail and asked me to bail him out. I said, "I'm not going to let you out. If you're in jail, I know you're safe. I know you're not using." For a couple weeks, he was mad that he was in jail. That's where his recovery began.
Now, throughout his life, Max had no faith whatsoever. Whenever he went to rehab before, they were always talking about "your higher power." God was not his higher power. He's a hiker, so he would always say, "Mother Nature's my higher power."
But then Max had a turnaround in jail and started attending church services and Bible study. Max started praying every day, including the Rosary. He prays for his recovery, his family, and addicts who haven't gotten help. There's a complete change from who he was. He just began to have faith. I didn't push him into any of this. He came into it on his own.
Max spent two months in jail. A social worker came into his life who helped him get into a rehab center in Saranac Lake, N.Y., which has a great emphasis on spirituality and a family program. Max went there in December. That just deepened his faith further. Faith and spirituality is an essential part of the whole recovery process. Without it, I don't think he could have gone as far as he has.
I bought Fr. Donald Calloway's book No Turning Back last summer. When Max was in jail, I would go visit him every week. I would tell him about Father Calloway and his journey. Max seemed interested. When he went into rehab in December, I sent him the book. He read it in a day and loved it. He started passing it around to other residents to read. I think he felt he could relate to the story, and it showed him there was hope.
He had asked me if I could get him a rosary. I got a St. Benedict Rosary and asked Mary Kay, "Can you have this blessed?" She said, "Yeah, guess who's here: Fr. Calloway!" So Fr. Calloway blessed it, and he blessed me. When I talked to Max a few days later — I only got to talk to him twice a week — I said, "I got you a rosary. You're never going to guess who blessed it!" He was so ecstatic.
If I could speak to other parents facing the same situation, I'd say, "You need to hand your children over to someone greater than yourself, because you can't control your children or the addiction. You are not helping them if you try to.
"Hold on. It gets better."
Please keep Judy, Max, and Matt in your prayers.