This month's contributor:
My wife and I are numb nowadays from the events of the past 6 years. We moved to Ohio in 1996 after I lost my job in 1995--the year my son was born. The income stopped but the bills continued, and I had no recourse but to accept my only job offer in almost a year. We moved a great distance, leaving my immediate family behind--I have not been able to see them since. The next 6 years were total horror. I was harassed and threatened unmercifully by seemingly heartless collection agency reps. I cried openly out of fear and despair. Our only vehicle was repossessed and we had no wheels for about 2 years--my wife walked wherever she needed to go, and pushed our son in the stroller in all sorts of weather. Luckily, a saint of a co-worker of mine drove me to and from work daily, at no charge. My income was about 40% less than my previous work income, and practically all of it went to keep the bill collectors from closing in on us. One week we survived on 16 dollars, and one weekend we frantically searched our tiny apartment for enough loose change to buy our son a package of disposable diapers. I lived in constant fear, even at work. Here I was, a college graduate, toiling in a filthy, inhumane factory work environment, among mostly lazy, unethical people. My own brother-in-law threatened to fire me because he felt I was intimidating the lazy front office staff; I subsequently found a good job elsewhere. In 1999, we almost lost our then 4 year-old son to pneumonia. I prayed to St. Jude and the Blessed Mother for help with my son's illness; my son pulled through and recovered. Through our seemingly cruel, endless sufferings, I cried, I cursed, I profaned, I blamed, and yes, I even hated our Lord for all He was doing to us. I said horrible things to and about Him.
In late 1998, my wife's sister gave her a high mileage 1991 Taurus. It squeaked--it could be heard from a couple blocks--but it got us to the grocery store, to doctor appointments, and to a couple job interviews. My wife began a job search, and started work in November 1998. She says she prayed to St. Jude, and he answered her prayers. We returned to our faith, and attended mass daily. In December 1999, I was threatened with a lawsuit by a ruthless collection agency rep (may God have mercy on him). I cried out of fear, and prayed to St. Jude for his help in my financial distress. Well, within days I called the collection agency, and found that my account was being handled by a more easy-going agent. I still had to pay a huge monthly sum, but the agent was easier to talk to. I published my thanks to St. Jude. Another lawsuit threat from another collection agency left me in tears of despair, but an old friend across the country was able to help me pay off this debt. Since that time, I have fought several battles with creditors--my job layoff of 1995 still delivering ripple effects.
I started work at a new job in December 1998, and thankfully a new work associate drove me to work daily in exchange for gasoline payments. In January 2000, enroute to work, we survived a head-on collision with another vehicle. Later that year, the old Taurus's engine block cracked and was rendered useless. Again, my family and I were without our own transportation, and again we were frantic. What could we do? I prayed to St. Jude, asking for his help in finding a vehicle--at no additional financial stress. My wife was able to find a clunker, which required additional repairs before it was safe to operate. Within the same time frame of a couple weeks, I received a financial settlement for the head-on collision in January. With the proceeds, I was able to make a down payment on a recent model vehicle, and to pay for the repairs on my wife's "new" car. I prayed to St. Jude and to Jesus for help.
Since that time, I have prayed to St. Jude for more help with our finances--a seemingly endless challenge for us. I prayed to St. Jude and the Infant of Prague for help in another financial downturn, and I believe my prayers were answered exactly. When I have asked for help, enough help was sent to weather each storm. At this time, I believe that I have not publicly thanked St. Jude for the help he has sent our way in our recent emergencies. The help we have received has been very specific, very precise. I believe that my prayers HAVE BEEN ANSWERED --I believe that PRAYERS ARE ANSWERED. I believe that the Lord our God acts, is just, is merciful, and will not abandon us.
Thank you St. Jude, Thank you Father for answering my prayers.
At this time, I ask that all you faithful pray for my wife, Moira. She is in some immediate financial turmoil of her own. Please pray for her--that she be strengthened within and that she be helped in remedying her current financial distress painlessly. She cannot withstand much more.
I apologize in advance for this lengthy message. I tried to recapture the spirit of my original letter. Again, I hope our Lord finds this acceptable.
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