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'He Loved Me That Much'

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By Marc Massery
Not once but twice the Blessed Mother interceded to save the life of Clifford Herbert of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. "You'll never be able to outdo God yourself," he said.

About 35 years ago, as Clifford was driving a big Chevy pickup truck that belonged to his father, he missed a highway ramp and got stuck off the side of the road. "So, to unstick it, I jacked the front end up," he said. "As soon as it got unstuck, it was on an incline, so it rolled back."

Upon rolling back, this two-and-a-half-ton pick-up truck caught Clifford's shoulder and pinned him beneath the axel. "When it caught my shoulder, it twisted me," he said. "As soon as that happened, I started saying my Hail Mary. I couldn't breathe. I tried to twist, and I couldn't. I started saying my Act of Contrition, because I thought I was going to die under the truck."

Once more, Clifford twisted his shoulder, and miraculously he was able to pry himself free from beneath the weight of the truck. "The Blessed Mother has been so good to me," he said.

A few years later, Clifford escaped another life-threatening accident, thanks to the Blessed Mother. One Monday morning at his fiberglass pool business, a tanker rolled in to make a liquid resin delivery. After the resin was drained from the tanker, Clifford grabbed some acetone and decided he would scrub the inside of the empty tank without any protective equipment.

"I didn't know how bad the stuff in the tank was," he said. "[But] the acetone was worse than what I had in the tank. It hurt me. It burnt some of the pigment on my skin. I was so weak. I was so nauseated. They came and pulled me out of the tank and called 911."

When he got to the hospital, he encountered a nun who was wearing a habit. "Nuns in habits always reminded me of the Blessed Mother," Clifford said. "I thought I was dying here — can you imagine the joy [I had] seeing the nun? I told her, 'I think I'm dying.' My eyes are blurry. I'm very weak. The nun was trying to console me, and I'm crying with joy. I'm trying to tell her 'I'm happy.' Then the priest came and gave me the Sacrament of the Sick."

Despite expecting the worst, Clifford survived his accident. In the subsequent months, he recuperated at home, using his down time to make Rosary beads.

"I made a lot of Rosaries then because there wasn't much I could do," he said. Though he almost died, he sees God's wisdom in allowing the accident to happen. "God loved me that much that He slowed me down. I needed that. I needed to spend more time with my family and my wife. I was too ambitious. He brought me down, and you know, it is the best thing that ever happened to me, besides meeting and marrying my wife, Rebecca. We've been married 59 years. I call her 'Sweety.'"

More than 30 years later, Clifford continues to make Rosary beads. "I can make them with my eyes closed, I've made so many," he said. "I've made more than 1,000 Rosaries, and I'm blessed I'm able to give them away."

The chemical poisoning affects him to this day. "I wobble a lot," he said. "It's not like it used to be. But God gives you what you need. If you [get to] know Him, He will give you better than you ask. Looking back on my life, the times I thought, 'Why'd He do this?' [I learned that] it's because He loved me that much. If you only realized how much He loves you."

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