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'Life-saving' Power of the Rosary

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By Marc Massery

Toward the end of a difficult, nine-year marriage, Jessica Trentham of Knoxville, Tennessee, turned back to her Catholic faith, which she had neglected for many years. She started reading through a copy of the Liturgy of the Hours, which her mother had recently given her, and she went back to Mass.

"I started praying from that book at night because my marriage was so toxic," she said. "[My marriage] had become an emotional martyrdom. I felt like I had already died. I was just walking around still."

As she inched closer to Christ, Jessica invited her husband to turn to God with her to help them sort out their issues. "But he just laughed at me," she said.

Around this same time, Jessica heard a priest say in a homily that sometimes we need to follow Christ despite our families. "That's right where I was," she said. "It must have been the Holy Spirit [speaking to me]."

In 2009, she and her husband divorced, and she fell into a depression. However, the more she leaned on her faith, the better she felt. "When I really started praying the Rosary, that's when I found amazing peace — peace I hadn't known my entire life. ... It was life-saving. My depression left," she said.

Inspired by Our Lady of Fatima, Jessica decided to combine her skill in crafting with her love for the Rosary. Since January 2018, she's made and distributed 1,400 sets of Rosary beads. She makes about 10 to 15 Rosaries every day.

During slow times working as an emergency room technician, she has taken out her pliers to string Rosary beads together. She's handed out Rosary beads to doctors, nurses, and patients — to anyone who would let her tell them about the Rosary.

Now, Jessica works as a porter for the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Knoxville, Tennessee. "I really feel it's been such a gift from God," she said. "People are drawn to the Cathedral, and part of my role is to show them around and teach them about Catholicism." At the end of each tour, she gives out the Rosaries she makes.

One time, Jessica was making Rosary beads as usual while working at the emergency room. "I was praying the Joyful Mysteries, and I thought about how [St. Augustine] says that Jesus was separated from Mary's womb mystically when He was born. Mary was spared from having a natural birth. I was thinking about that whole idea, Mary's purity intact. My son is 14 years old. I had a cesarean section, so I didn't know what [natural birth] looked like. I remember posing the question, 'What would natural birth look like in Jesus' time?'"

The following evening, during the night shift, Jessica got word that a woman was having a baby in the emergency room lobby. "Usually, this meant she was going to have a baby in a few hours," Jessica said. She went out to the lobby with the wheelchair, intending to bring the woman to the triage nurse.

"I found a woman on all fours on the floor of the lobby. ... Her husband was beside her. It was a Spanish-speaking couple. There was something hanging from her. I took a knee beside her, and it was the baby's head! I put my hand at the baby's shoulders, and I felt around, and I caught the baby," she said.

Then a doctor came by and took over from there. "Techs don't deliver babies in the lobby!" Jessica said.

Later, Jessica watched surveillance video of the incident. Upon watching the recording, she noticed that just before she came in to help catch the baby, the husband placed a Rosary around his wife's neck.

"I had been making Rosaries for weeks in the ER. Everyone knew that because I had been giving nurses Rosaries. So, I've always looked back at that incident and just known that the Rosary is communication with Heaven. ... [It was] not only a sweet gift from Heaven for me, but others saw the video and saw the husband put a Rosary around the mother's neck, so it was bigger than just me."

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