My Direct Order from the Pope

Back in 2002, I was attending World Youth Day in Toronto. My husband and mom took care of my 3 kids and I attended events all week in the city.  My  friends and I tootled around Toronto as tourists in our own town. We had our printed schedules, but some of the most memorable moments seemed to happen by chance.

One day we walked right into a gathering crowd, lining the path for the Pope Mobile.

I know I wasn’t the only one who thought he looked right into my eyes from just a couple feet away, as his vehicle zigzagged through the crowd. There was a hushed, paused moment as he passed by and we all felt the holiness of his presence.

In a crowd of up to 500 000 people, I bumped into 2 cousins (one from Maryland, one from Arizona) and a couple of my favorite priests during the week of activities.
We made the 10 km pilgrimage to camp out in the sun, the rain, the mice and the frogs.  There was a downpour of rain (with unpublicized tornado warnings we learned about after), but the sun came out as Pope John Paul II spoke to the crowd.

Each day, I would come home as late as midnight. I think it was the Wednesday night, Bill listened patiently to my excited summary of the day and when I finished, he said “OK, but do you know what’s really cool? The Holy Father received a copy of your book today.” I had just released A Treasure Chest of Traditions for Catholic Families the previous year.
We were aware from our parish priest that there was an older couple living in our town: the last remaining relatives of the Pope: the cousin of Karol and his wife Elizabeth. Ludwig had died, but Fr. Leslie continued to bring the Eucharist to Elizabeth.
On that Wednesday morning, Fr. Leslie had given Bill a call. He told Bill that he would like to drop by and pick up one of my books and deliver it to Elizabeth before she was picked up for her visit with the Holy Father. 
A few days later, I met Elizabeth for the first time. she held my hand and this is what she told me.
Elizabeth said that she gave ‘Karol’ my book and he flipped through the pages and he said
“this is good”. (insert my husband’s imitation of the Holy Father saying these words here). He told Elizabeth that he planned to take the book with his personal belongings, to look at on the plane. He then looked at the back of the book, pointed to my picture and said 
“Tell her to keep doing what she is doing…for families”.
Needless to say, I’m going to keep doing what I was doing…and I think that that means creating Catholic teaching tools to help families celebrate our Faith…and I’m having a lot of fun doing it!
The story doesn’t end here! Check this out:

Happy Feast of the Chair of St Peter!

We pray for Pope Benedict the XVI, for the Conclave and for our next Holy Father.


  1. I just love this story! I remember reading this story a little while ago and just think it is awesome! Thank you for all you do to share our beautiful faith with our families!

  2. That’s amazing Monica! The Pope should have your book and encourage others to use it!!

    I wanted to tell you that I used your Catholic Lingo Bingo in my classroom this morning and they loved it! I have before but I hadn’t taken pictures of it. I posted about it and linked it back to you. Not as exciting as the Pope Benedict having your book, but my class was blessed by your work!

  3. Thanks for the comments, everyone. My friend Kendra emailed me saying ” hey your book is a 2nd class relic somewhere!”
    I never thought of that…wow!
    I’m looking forward to posting how the journey continued…our adventures with the Pope’s cousin!

  4. Great post, Monica~
    I tried to lv a com yesterday but for some reason, it was wiped out and fell into cyberspace….Had to come back.
    Love this. JPII will always be one of my most favored, inspirational people. I was absolutely devastated when he passed in April 2005; I feel as if he sheperded our generation into adulthood? What a remarkable story this is and how blessed you are, Monica!
    My older son is leaning toward “Karol” for his confirmation name–I’d be thrilled if he chose it.

    Thanks for brightening my day with this!

  5. That is awesome! Now I need to get a copy of your book!

  6. Wow!! That is awesome Monica!! What a blessing! God bless you!

  7. Great post, Monica! Love your story… Those sure sound like “Holy Orders” to me! What an enormous grace and blessing to get that feedback. Thanks for all you do!

  8. Monica,

    What a wonderful story! I don’t know if I ever told you this, but when we were planning the All Saints Celebration at our parish (St. Joan of Arc, Lisle, IL), the DRE came in with your book. She said “I love this book! It has so many ideas that we could use!” I’m sure we used several of your ideas at our celebration.

    I agree–keep doing what you are doing!


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