The Day I Almost Burned...

I am even more convinced of the power of the Rosary.
by Br. Mark Thelen, LC | Source:

It was a Saturday morning, we trooped onto the buses, all 100 of us. We were on our way to a nearby country Church for our yearly Marian pilgrimage. Every year we take a short trip to a nearby shrine. We put the year in Mary’s hands. She helps us all to make it through safe, sound, and holy. We had no idea that we were going to need this help long before we got to the Church.

Before, I get to the part where we almost die (sorry for the suspense), I have to say something about the Blessed Virgin. We normally go in October – the month of the rosary – or may – Mary’s month. She has had a big part to play in my own life – I was born on the feast day, Mary, Mother of Sorrows. My first profession was on Mary’s birthday, and I could keep going. She has also had a great part to play in the history of our order by protecting us and granting us many special graces. Well, she was about to grant us one more really important one.

Back to the bus. We were all happily seated - talking, and thoroughly enjoying the crisp autumn day and the clear air… wait, it wasn’t quite so clear. Outside was bright and crystal clear but inside the bus was getting foggy.

There was one of those funny smells that are hard to place but clearly not healthy – between burning something-or-other and a funny chemical.

It wasn’t only the smell, now there was literally some kind of weird gas pouring out of the front vent. Anyway, no more reflections. It was hard even to think. Finally someone got enough oxygen to the brain to start yelling to the driver, “Pull over!” Sounds easy – in Italy, it’s not!

We were on one of these two lane highways that normally in the US would probably be about the width of one lane WITHOUT a shoulder. So we keep going as some start to get dizzy while others are trying to calm everyone down, “Don’t worry. We can pull over very soon.”

Being at the far back of the bus (the part which will actually be incinerated in a matter of minutes as you will see), though, I still had no clear idea of what was happening. Finally we pull over, and everyone starts getting out of the bus. But it was anything but quick. It kind of reminds me when everyone is in a long line shuffling around but moving nowhere.

“Where’s my book?”

“Can you grab my sweater?”

“You first, please.”

And the occasional, “Just get out! Quick!”

Finally we all managed to exit out the doors which, thanks be to God, were still functioning. Because as I stepped to the ground, I could already see big orange flames licking the back of the bus as they curled up above the motor.

Not much more needs to be said. As dashed away from the area thanking Mary as we went, the flames continued to grow bigger until they basically consumed the back part of the bus. The fire was finally put out by the fire department, but not before we seminarians and many other motorists had witnessed quite the show.

When we did reached the shrine, boy did we have a whole lot more to pray about during the Mass and the rosary! We were alive and well! We asked her bless us in the upcoming year, which thanks to some amazing intercession, we would still be alive to see.

Just one last reflection that came to mind was the power of the Rosary! I am even more convinced of the power of prayer to Mary now, but sometimes the rosary seems to be just a symbol. A good luck charm. Something for old ladies. A piece of jewelry.

No, this isn’t it at all! In reality it is an instrument of prayer that helps us to contemplate Christ through the eyes of his mother. We get to know Christ from the one who knew him best, and we have the chance to ask Mary for some many needed graces. Who knows, maybe someday they will save our life!

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Published by: FPB
Date: 2010-12-01 05:03:25
I wanted to share with your readers a couple of miraculous escapes we've had. I'm sure that it was Our Lady protecting us as I always have my green scapula of Our Lady in my handbag. We had just left the motorway when my husband's car suddenly started spewing black smoke and the engine started revving very high. He was unable to slow down the car or pull over. He continued trying to do everything to stop the car while I started praying, certain that the car was going to blow up. Can you believe our good fortune when we finally managed to stop and found ourselves right in front of a Citroen garage. The car would not shut off, even when the key was removed. The Citroen engineer came running out to help and eventually managed to stop the car running. Needless to say I have only God and our Blessed Mother to thank for our safety, since even 5 minutes earlier if we had still been on the motorway, there would have been a fatal accident. And what are the chances of the vehicle stopping right in front of a garage, that too where the engineer had been delayed locking up and was still in there. The second time we were on holiday when our vehicle rolled over due to a pile of sand in the road on a blind turn. We had no hope of seeing it in time. Miraculously we escaped with relatively minor injuries,but the vehicle was a write-off. I love you, Our Lady!

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