Monica Portogallo describes how St. Thérèse of Lisieux showered her with roses in response to a novena.
Almost two years ago, I prayed a novena asking St. Thérèse of Lisieux to intercede with my husband and his problematic behaviors. I felt so hopeless about the situation, I asked her to show me that she was working on my intention with roses, as she is known to do.
At work the next day, I saw vases of roses on top of the filing cabinets at the nurses’ station, something I had never noticed before. Somehow, though, I didn’t feel like that was a sign for me. I asked again, this time for an unmistakable indication she was working on my cause.
Two days later, my 5-year-old son came to me and put stickers on my cheeks. I had given him the leftover reminder stickers from the calendar our realtor sends to his former clients every year. My son had chosen the two that pictured roses and said “buy flowers” to put on my cheeks. When he hugged me and said, “Mommy, I’m giving you roses!” I nearly started crying. St. Thérèse let me know she was definitely on the job in the sweetest way possible!
So, naturally, I looked forward to seeing a miraculous change in my husband right away. That didn’t happen. Things went on much as before, with good times, bad times, and no lasting change.
Months passed. The pandemic hit, and things got worse. He had started saying things like, “Why don’t we just get a divorce then?!” when I wouldn’t go along with what he wanted. I refused to take the bait and respond to these kinds of “gotcha” statements, but I wondered how much longer I could go on like this.
Then, suddenly I was pregnant after years of trying with no success. Though I had longed for another child for years, I was scared. Some of the hardest times in our marriage were during my first son’s pregnancy and infancy, and I had no reason to think anything would be different this time. Thankfully, by the grace of God, I was wrong.
Somehow, this second child triggered something in my husband. He started stepping up both as a husband and a father. He became immensely better at controlling his temper. He began to apologize more quickly and more sincerely when he made mistakes. He even stopped getting defensive when I gently corrected him when he was wrong and started taking things I said to heart.
He still does things that concern me at times, but the level and duration of this improvement is unprecedented and nothing short of miraculous. I thanked God for this gift but didn’t recall the Little Flower’s promised intercession.
Then one day, about six months into my pregnancy, my son and I were on a walk, and I told him he could get a flower at the flower shop near our home as a treat. I figured he would choose a sunflower or a daisy, since he likes them so much, but he picked a rose. On the walk home, he said, “Here, Mommy,” and handed me the rose.
With that unexpected rose, it dawned on me that St. Thérèse had interceded to change my husband. What’s more, she let my two sons help: the baby in utero to trigger the change, and the older one to (twice) let me know what was happening.
Plus, just to make sure I got the message, that rose bloomed in a vase of plain water for two weeks before it wilted. Usually I can barely get roses to last for a week in a vase, even with cut flower food in the water.
Now, I have so much to thank God for: for the improvement in my husband, and for the sweet way He allowed St. Thérèse and my sons to help bring about that change.
Copyright 2021 Monica Portogallo
Images: Canva Pro
About the Author
Monica Portogallo is a wife, mother, and registered dietitian nutritionist who does her best not to miss the lessons God sends to her through the joys and struggles of daily life. She lives in California.