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Small Miracles, Big Conversion

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By Marc Massery (Mar 28, 2018)
On Sundays, Dr. Peter Geittmann played golf while Margie, his wife, would be at Mass, praying for his conversion.

Dr. Geittmann did not believe in God because he could not see why a loving Father would let people suffer. As an OB-GYN, he had seen tragic birth defects and even the death of newborn infants. Furthermore, he had lost his own brother and nephew in a plane crash.

But Margie was determined to bring her husband to God. On his bedside table, to Peter's chagrin, Margie placed a statue of the Rosa Mystica (Our Lady). In this statue, she stuffed a green scapular, which the Blessed Virgin Mary promised would help convert souls who had no faith.

One evening, while Peter was reading alone in his bedroom, he suddenly smelled a strong scent of roses. "I was totally confused, looking around for potpourri or flowers. But there wasn't any of that," he said. Margie told Peter that it must be Our Lady telling him she was present.

"I wasn't buying it," Peter said.

One morning soon after, Peter got out of bed and, right where he planted his foot, he felt the carpet soaked with water. He tried wiping it up with paper towels, but it would not dry. He even went beneath the floorboards to look for leaky pipes.

"There was no explanation for it whatsoever," he said. It took about a week for it to dry completely. Margie suggested that since it happened on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, maybe it was Mary's tears falling to the ground on account of Peter's disbelief. But he dismissed this, too.

That Easter, Margie dragged Peter from their home in the Midwest on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje —┬áthe site of alleged apparitions of Our Lady.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The Church has not yet ruled on the legitimacy of the alleged apparitions in Medjugorje.]

While Margie and 120 of the other pilgrims prayed Rosaries, Peter read Tom Clancy novels, twiddled his thumbs, and wished he were home golfing.

Margie told Peter that in Medjugorje, people have reported being able to look directly at the sun without being blinded. Peter told her that she, a nurse, should know better than to believe something so foolish. But curiosity got to Peter. When he got off the bus, he spread his fingers in front of his face and looked up at the sun. "I could look at it without being blinded. It resembled a disc with a circle of fire rotating around it," Peter said. As a man of science, Peter attributed this to an anomaly in the atmosphere.

On the group's first bus trip, Peter randomly sat next to a woman named Char Vance. She had also first come to Medjugorje without much faith. They immediately hit it off, and she told him her conversion story. Her leg had been crushed in an accident, and doctors told her that she would never walk the same way again. In Medjugorje, she struggled up Cross Mountain in a cast and had a powerful vision of Christ. Her next x-ray baffled doctors, revealing no damage. As a doctor, Peter found this story compelling.

All of these small miracles began to make an impression on Peter. Now whenever the other pilgrims prayed, he watched them in all their fervor and wished that he could have half their faith.

Char and Margie prayed that "someone like Msgr. Francis Friedl" would help Peter sort things out. This wise old priest was also from the Midwest. He, too, was an avid golfer. As if on cue, they found out that Msgr. Friedl was visiting Medjugorje with another group.

After meeting this monsignor for the first time, Peter felt like he was catching up with an old friend. Peter described his recent experiences and how he wanted to believe in God, but could not understand why bad things happened to good people. Without hesitation, Msgr. Friedl said to him, "[But that's why] God gave His only Son." In a moment of grace, these words struck Peter's heart, and he started to believe.

For the trip's grand finale, the entire group went to Rome. Since a priest in their group had a connection to the Vatican, they sat on the same stage as Pope John Paul II during the canonization Mass of St. Faustina on April 30, 2000. From this point on, Peter longed to receive the Eucharist, and by that September, he was baptized and confirmed into the Catholic faith.

Margie was beyond relieved. And now, every Sunday, you can find Peter and Margie at Mass together, thanking God for small miracles and answered prayers.

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