Rosary at Rock Bottom

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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.

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Maria - May 24, 2014

Our Rosary group prays for the unborn. We say O my Lord Jesus forgive us our sins save us from the fires of hell and lead all souls to heaven especially those most in need of your mercy - Jesus save and protect the unborn. This week we were told a lovely story of a saved child! The mother went to an abortion clinic to get rid of the baby, but got there and some one intervened -- they knew of a lovely family who wanted a child and asked her to reconsider -- she did! The person telling the story said she met the child and he was beautiful and so well loved. The Rosary is very powerful. Pray it often.

Dave Lee - May 9, 2014

Great and wondrous sign will shine when we pray The Rosary and surrender everything to Our Lord Jesus. He will listen and He love us so much and never will punish us but give us the opportunity and he will immerse us in His Nercy. A great testimonies to all. God Bless!!

Psalm - May 7, 2014

My entire family is away from the Catholic Church. My family is a MESS! Heavenly Father of Mercies, I trust my entire family to You. Heal us and join us at the foot of the cross. I ask this through the intercession of the Blessed Mother in the name of Jesus our Lord and Saviour. Amen

Bill Manzano, Manila Philippines - May 6, 2014

The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin and defeat heresies.

This promise, along with the next, is simply the reminder on how fervent prayer will help us all grow in holiness by avoiding sin, especially a prayer with the excellence of the Rosary. An increase in holiness necessarily requires a reduction in sin, vice, and doctrinal errors (heresies). If only the Modernists could be convinced to pray the Rosary! (see Lumen Gentium chapter V - The Call to Holiness #42) St. Louis de Montfort states "Since Mary alone crushed all heresies, as we are told by the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary)..." [True Devotion to Mary #167]

Faith - May 4, 2014

Without God, you have nothing. With God, you have everything. A beautiful testimony! I will keep you all in my prayers.

Tess - May 3, 2014

What a beautiful story

Caroline - May 2, 2014

Just know that God hears every one of our prayers, especially those prayers we are saying for the people who write in that we don't even know. When I pray my Rosary, I just ask Our Lady to decide where she wants this crown of roses to go. After all, it's a gift to her and she's a lot wiser than I'll ever be!

LS - May 2, 2014

The Rosary is so powerful! I pray it daily for my daughter, Natalee, who left the church. She also believes that God is in Nature. She is headed down the wrong path. She has broken my heart. Your story about your son has given me 'hope'. I will persevere and continue saying the rosary daily. Please pray for Natalee. God Bless!

Mama G - May 2, 2014

I pray for all people with addiction and their families. I would like to ask the community to pray for me that I complete my studies, that The Lord blesses me with a Greencard and my family is reunited. I pray to Jesus through Mother Mary, Amen!

Claudine - May 2, 2014

Praise and Glory be to God and adoration and prayers to our MOTHER MARY .Dear Judy you are blessed with the divine mercy .Thanks for sharing your Painful and Joyful experience of God's love and grace. Will pray for you max and matt.

Nimitha - May 2, 2014

This is a beautiful testimonial.It increased my faith.

AnayCampos - May 2, 2014

Wow, that brought tears to my eyes. I'm so happy for them. It's definitely more encouragement to turn to our mother in times of need.

lois - May 2, 2014

Mary our Mother is indeed our most powerful intercessor & advocate!!!! Remember it is our Lord's divine mercy & grace Mary procures for us if we only ask... Praying the rosary is the best weapon against evil!!! Remember and say always "Jesus I Trust In You!" He will never let you down or not answer your prayers & never will our Lady of the Rosary! God bless and keep you all! You all, each and everyone are in my prayers!

Di - May 1, 2014

wow ! an inspiring example for all, especially the young. Thanks to Jesus & to Our Lady of the Rosary.

Amanda - May 1, 2014

Dear Judy,
I am praying for you and your sons. Each night when I pray the rosary, I pray for two people near to my heart who are suffering from addictions. Lately, I have added anyone with addictions and their love ones in my prayers. God bless you, Judy, Max and Matt

Glorybel J. Secreto - May 1, 2014

Mother Mary is indeed our great intercessor. Our model of being pure, chaste, modesty and humility for all women, especially mothers and widows. Praying the rosary is part of our daily life. It helps bring JESUS, the RISEN CHRIST closer to our heart. Through my devotion to her, a friend unexpectedly send me financial gift which made me procure a statue of our Lady of Lourds for our prayer center.

Inca Robert Chow - May 1, 2014

Amen. I say the rosary many times in one day, just can't live/ think without it.

Jojo Crisostomo - May 1, 2014

I am a witness on the power of the Holy rosary. My son, Michael had dengue fever when he was just about 7 years old inspite of us, his parents applying mosquito repellant lotions on him. I even overheard a co-parent on Michael's school saying she is applying Off lotion to her son but to no avail. He also had dengue fever.

The day Mchael had dengue fever, we started praying the rosary with health of the family as our prayer intention before the first mystery. Michael recovered fast and no one in the family had serious health problems since then. A testament on how Mother Mary keeps her promise of protection for those who pray the rosary.

Rica - May 1, 2014

I humbly ask for the approval of my Immigration VISA Canada without difficulties and delay. Please guide me in everything I do to reach this dream for myself, my family, relatives and friends.


George - May 1, 2014

My son has used since he was 14 or so and has stayed in trouble over 10 years. Two felonies and over a year in jail. He has been a liar and a cheat and a thief and drug user and now he lives in a tent in the woods when he is not sponging off his friends and family. I tried praying for him I guess I just dont have the faith. If you would take a moment to pray for him and me as I was just diagnosed with leukemia and I would like to see some change in him before I get real sick. Thank you and God bless.

mema - May 1, 2014

My granddaughter loves to sing the Divine Mercy Chaplet on EWTN when she comes home from Kindergarden. We watch and pray together. I hope she continues this for life.

JUPITER - May 1, 2014

I Commend your great faith. When as a little child they fall,we pick them up and sooth them,but as an addicted child falls we ourselves cannot pick them up "or sooth them". A very hard thing to witness(i can attest to that).So as we see and learn,Nothing Is Impossible With GOD. Thank you for the reminder.God Bless You.

ML - May 1, 2014

Rosary has always been my defense and source of strength.may we always pray the is like saying i love you to mama mary repeatedly.

Jojo Guillermo - May 1, 2014

The power of the most holy Rosary can never be underestimated. Every bead is a "magic button" that opens God's manifold graces and blessings made possible through the powerful intercession of our most blessed Mother Mary.

Cyprian Chined Nwaogu - May 1, 2014

For upliftment and and divine approval and success in my business.

Kathleen Moore - May 1, 2014

What a beautiful testimonial to faith. Sometimes I put my troubles in Our Lord's hands and then we take it back, when we feel weak. We all can be inspired by your story. Thank you, I will keep you and your son in my prayers too

Mrobert - May 1, 2014

As a parent of two small daughters what Judy went through is my worst nightmare, not being able to help my child, i cant imagine the pain It must've been. To give all control to God and to our our Mother in Heaven and pray is the best thing we can do for our children.All best for Judy and her family and may God continue to bless you.