Christmas 2000 was not to be a normal Christmas by any means, and my wife Cindy eventually wrote a story about it that was circulated throughout the Internet. We were amazed at how many people read the story and emailed us back with support. The story was eventually picked up and retold as part of Brad and Sherry Steiger’s “Christmas Miracles: Inspirational stories of True Holiday Magic” published in 2001. Later, in December 2005, Sherry Steiger shared and discussed the story at length on the syndicated radio show Coast to Coast with George Noory. Because the story is now so well known, we decided to let you read it the way it was originally told, in Cindy’s words, back in 2000.
~ Christmas 2000 ~
Let me tell you about the snowy Christmas Day that we were blessed by a healing visit from a true Christmas Angel and the miracle that she blessed us with. We now know that miracles do happen, and that if you are open to receiving, they can come at any time! I’ll give you a little background so you can understand the blessing we received that day! Dave was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 lung and bone cancer. Radiation 5 days a week and once-a-week chemotherapy treatments had been leaving him quite drained.
Because both radiation and chemotherapy treatments deplete the white blood cells that help fight infection, if Dave got sick he wouldn’t have the ability to fight off the infection. It would be silly to die of pneumonia while healing his cancer! We all know that not only is Christmas a time of sharing love, it is also known as a time of sharing germs (especially from the wonderfully loving children in the family). Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the little ones, yet we decided that Christmas with the family was not in our best interest this year. I knew that I probably could have gone myself, but I really didn’t want to leave Dave alone for Christmas Day. As the 6-hour round trip and a few hours’ visit would take most the day, I made plans to go the day after Christmas. Most of the family would still be there, but all the extra visitors would not. This was the first Christmas in my 39 years that I had missed!
Now family guilt, self-inflicted or not, is one of the worst types. I called a number of times through the day and with all the “We miss you!” and “We are running behind schedule, you always keep us on track!” the guilt kept piling on! About 5 pm Christmas night, the phone rang. I get a lot of clients calling for appointments, so on days I am not working I usually screen my calls. For some unknown reason, this time I just automatically picked up the phone.
“Hi Cindy,” said an unidentified voice. As she kept talking I recognized the English accent as Kate, a very sweet massage therapist who specializes in Thai massage. “Have you ever heard of Padre Pio?” she asked. I told her that I had visited Padre Pio’s Monastery when I made a trip to Italy. I knew that Padre Pio was born in the late 1800s and was one of the few twentieth-century people to have received the stigmata, the wounds that Christ had experienced on the cross. He lived until the 1960s. Padre Pio was known for his compassion and healing works. He also was known to bi-locate (be in two places at once). It is documented that during the Second World War the air force was going to accidentally bomb an area that was occupied by Allies. The fighter pilots reported a monk appearing in the air, in front of the plane, motioning to them to go back. They were so scared and shaken that they did go back and the disaster was averted! Kate then asked me if I had heard about the healing miracles that happened around a glove of Padre Pio’s. This I was unaware of. Kate offered to put another woman on the phone to tell me about it.
~ The Glove ~
The woman had a very sweet and calming voice. It turned out she was Nancy Duffy, a local television personality known for her beauty, inside and out. She started to tell me about Padre Pio’s glove. It seemed that when the priest who was a custodian for Padre Pio in Italy returned to his parish in Brooklyn, New York, he was given two of the gloves that Padre Pio had worn to keep the blood from the stigmata wounds from dripping on the floor. These gloves were considered a sacred object and were known to have healing properties. There were multiple stories of how the glove had healed the parishioners of this Brooklyn church. One thing that helps support this claim is the uncanny and beautiful rose scent that emanates from the glove. It grows stronger and weaker, yet is always present.
Nancy continued, telling me that the Brooklyn priest kept one glove for himself and gave one to his sister. The sister felt that it really should be available for all to benefit from. She figured that the parking lot attendant knew everyone from the parish, so he would be the best guardian for the glove. The glove shares a box with a sheet that came from Padre Pio’s bed, a book in which people write to Padre Pio, and one of those famous double-image pictures of Padre Pio that changes as you tilt the picture from side to side! The parking attendant’s little booth used to be a shrine to Frank Sinatra, but now Frank shares his glory with Padre Pio! The attendant gives the box, full of healing goodies, to whomever needs it. Nancy’s son, who had written an article on the glove, had gotten on the waiting list and so now, on Christmas, she’d had the glove for two whole days! Kate had told Nancy about Dave’s cancer, so Nancy was calling to see if Dave would like to touch the miraculous glove.
Well, Dave was tired from a visit earlier in the day and when I mentioned that, Nancy kindly offered to come to us. Now, for those of you that don’t know where we live, the locals know it as Windy Hill! Our place used to be a cross-country ski resort on top of a high hill that is often buffeted with lake-effect snow. We were currently getting hit with a very big snowstorm. The landlord was out of town for the holiday so the drive to our house hadn’t been plowed. Nancy still was willing to make the trip! We gave her directions and, an hour and a half later via cell phone, we guided her into our hard-to-find driveway amid the two-foot snowdrifts!
Nancy arrived covered with snow and bearing a canvas tote. We sat in our living room and she pulled out a wooden box with a little picture of Padre Pio on the top. She gently opened it and took out the picture, a little book, and then carefully brought out the sacred glove. At first I was surprised. It was a little tiny brown glove with no fingers in it. It looked like a glove you would see on a homeless person. The funny thing to me was that it was so simple. You would think it would be ornate, or at least a little bigger! Padre Pio was a large man. I remembered seeing his slippers when I visited his monk cell in Italy. They were so big!
The little brown glove had a simple metal cross gently sewn onto the top side. Later, when I turned it over, I saw that someone had sewn a tiny piece of cloth with a little” x” in the place that must have been where the hand wound from the stigmata was. The amazing thing to us was the aroma that came from the glove. Anyone who’s smelled this rose scent could tell you that it’s like no other rose smell you have ever inhaled. You couldn’t re-create it, even with the best of oils or perfume. The piece of sheet from Padre Pio’s bed also had that intense aroma. The sheet was in a little plastic bag, but the glove was naked except for the cross sewn to it. Dave put the glove in between his hands and you could just feel the calm that came over him. This is how he explained it to me:
“At first, I sensed a type of love similar to what I feel when I reach out with my heart and touch the light I experienced in my near death. As I touched the glove I was purposely feeling with my heart and not my mind. I could sense my heart opening up and feeling that light and love. I could feel both spiritual love and human emotion and there were vast amounts of unconditional love. It is like going back into the Light a little bit, not all the way. I have been having trouble keeping my heart open and working with my light and love because of the physical fatigue and drug-induced emotions associated with the treatment. The drugs have been blocking my ability to hear Spirit. As I stroked the glove, it felt like some of the barriers were melting away and the light in my heart was able to open and shine as bright as ever. Well! I could just say that my spirit was singing. Spirit gets in this joyous frame of—not mind, but…Spirit. When Spirit is joyous, it feels like a song in your heart, interacting with my human emotions. It brings tears to the corners of my eyes. It gets me a little choked up. You can feel it emanate throughout your whole body. It isn’t just your heart expanding; it physically expands throughout your entire body.”
As our new friend Nancy told Dave the glove’s story and how she ended up with it, he sat and stroked the sacred glove as it lay in his right hand. Later he told me he could actually feel the glove, which is its own little miracle, as he has permanent nerve damage in that hand and hasn’t felt any sensation in it since his spine collapsed from the cancer!
Nancy told us how Padre Pio was able to bring his compassion and insight into the confessional and would help people know what it is that they really want to release. Later Dave told me, “The funny thing was that it was almost like I was giving a little confession, when I was talking to Nancy about my near-death experience, cancer and what life has been like. When she told us about Padre Pio giving confessions from his heart, I felt compelled to talk about the NDE and give a confession of it. I didn’t realize that till afterward.”
Dave handed me the glove and I could immediately feel the energy coming from the center of it. I felt calm and at peace. I knew this was real. I handed the glove back to Dave and then took the piece of sheet in the little bag. Again, I was taken back by the indescribably intense rose scent growing in the room as she and Dave talked about everything, from how his near-death experience is helping him deal with a terminal disease to the wonderful experiences she has had while the glove has been with her. She said she felt like a Christmas Angel. We told her that she was definitely our Christmas Angel! The rose scent kept growing stronger and stronger and was starting to fill the room. It was accompanied by a pervading sense of peace and love.
At one point Nancy stopped the conversation and said, “I have had this glove for two days and the rose scent has grown stronger and weaker depending on who was holding it, but I have never smelled it this strong!” She was amazed. The scent had filled the whole room by now—and so had the sense of peace and love!
Together we shared stories, feelings, hot tea, and fresh baked ginger bread cookies as if we were old friends. An hour and half later, our Christmas Angel was calling the next person she was going to share the glove with to let them know she was on her way! We wondered if she had been able to spend any holiday time with her family, though with the number of people she had visited, we doubted she had.
After she was well on her way to share the healing glove with the next blessed person, we could still smell the rose scent and feel the peace and love. That night, when we went to bed, Dave told me that he could still smell the roses. I told him that I could not smell them, yet when I reached over to touch his hand, the minute I made contact, I could smell the roses too! I slept through the rest of the miracle, but here is how Dave explained it to me the next day:
“I could smell the roses as we went to bed. It assisted my body to relax and drift off to sleep, a really nice calm, peaceful sleep. It was a lot closer to normal than in a very long time. I used to be able to go to sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, now I have to wait until the pain and spasms subside. That night I went right to sleep. The smell of the roses and the memory of the glove comforted me. I was able to get the first restful sleep in months. At two o’clock I awoke and the smell of roses was everywhere. I started to cry quietly so as not to wake you. I could feel my heart fully open and my light and spirit shining as bright as in my near death. So, I got up, meditated, and just enjoyed taking that energy in. It has helped me since to keep my heart more open when I am feeling the physical and drug-related difficulties that are associated with the cancer therapies I am now on. That is also how the glove is continuing to helping me now.”
As we talked about our Christmas miracle, we realized that part of the miracle was that I was even home to get the call! If I had followed my guilt (Dave was feeling a little guilty, too) and had gone to my family’s on Christmas Day after all, we would have missed the phone call and our Christmas miracle altogether! As it was, I went down the day after Christmas and had a wonderful visit with my family and two friends! The kids were downstairs for most of the visit (thank you, Kay and Gigi) and Dave got to have some quiet time alone to take in all the love, peace, and light offered from the previous day!
We also talked about our Christmas miracle acting as a sign, to let us know we are right where we need to be. We feel that Dave’s cancer has brought about a situation that is allowing us to come back to our spiritual center. We are allowing ourselves to enjoy every day, communicate our love more frequently and sincerely, and to accept all the gifts from not only God but also all of our friends and family. We are adjusting our priorities and are hopeful that Dave will receive the gift of full remission. We recognize our Christmas miracle as a sign that miracles do happen and that people like our Christmas Angel are around to bring miracles to us and everyone else on a daily basis. We are reminded that Angels don’t always have wings— sometimes they appear in a snow-covered coat and scarf!
~ The Miracle Continues ~
A week or so after our magical visit, we had an opportunity to chat with our Christmas Angel! As we spoke on the phone, her voice brought back all the warm and loving feelings of our evening together. She told us how being the courier of the glove has touched her deeply. I was mesmerized as she recounted conversations with some of the people she had visited. Two had miracle stories of their own! The first miracle she relayed was of a woman who had been suffering from double vision. After she held the glove, her vision was miraculously repaired. She was no longer seeing double! The woman was so overjoyed that she was almost afraid to tell anyone, in case the miracle went away. Well, she told and her vision was still clear! The second miracle story was a double of its own kind. Our Christmas Angel made a visit to a woman who has a friend with a tumor, who was unable to travel, so Nancy and the woman called her on the phone. Together, while one held the glove, they prayed for healing. When the woman with the tumor went to the doctor, the tumor was gone. The doctor had no way of explaining this miraculous disappearance, but the woman knew. Padre Pio’s glove had healed again!
As I recall our magical visit from our Christmas Angel and the miracles she relayed to us, a loving and almost mystical calm comes over me. We have had many letters from people who have read our story and were very touched. The flow of miracles seems to continue even though the glove has since disappeared!
I was telling one of my clients about our Christmas miracle. She was instantly reminded that about three months ago someone had given her a medallion of Padre Pio’s for her daughter, who has neurological impairments. She said that she had been carrying this medallion around in her purse and never thought to have her daughter hold it like Dave held the glove. She asked me to hold on while she went and got the medallion. She hadn’t taken it out of the box. I felt as if I was getting to experience the blessing of last Christmas all over again! She came back to the phone and sounded as though she was in shock. She had opened the case and what she smelled sent shivers up and down both our spines. Roses. She smelled roses. Her daughter was being fussy in the background and my client decided to put the medallion in her daughter’s hand. Instantly the girl calmed down and started her version of talking.
My client and I sat, in two different states, in silence. I felt as if our Christmas miracle was being passed on. My client said to me that she had realized, as she was getting the medallion out of her purse, that the medallion must go back to the woman who originally gave it to her. It turns out that the woman had been diagnosed with cancer. My client realized that the medallion didn’t need to be hoarded, it needed to be shared. She was going to return the medallion in the next few days. The miracle would be passed on. My client was truly demonstrating the true spirit of Christmas.
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