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31 May, 2012

Feast of the Visitation: A year old story of a pregnant Elizabeth

Today is the Feast of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth.  The time in Scripture where the pregnant Mary sets out to visit her also miraculously pregnant cousin, Elizabeth.  At the sight of Mary, the infant (as we later know to be John the Baptist) leaped in her womb.

The readings for today's Mass include the Scripture passages where we, as Catholics, receive the prayers knowns as the Hail Mary and the Magnificat.  See for yourself! 

As an Elizabeth, this story, scripture passage, and Feast Day has always held a special place in my heart.  But even more so last year...

See, last summer I was at summer camp with 14 rowdy middle school kids.  I wasn't technically supposed to go on the trip, but last minuted ended up having to lead the group AND drive the 15 passager bus two hours away in the mountains.
Normally, I LOVE going to Covecrest for retreats, day trips, camp, etc but I was  16 weeks pregnant and on strict orders from my midwife to "be careful" as I had recently torn something while tubing and wake boarding and had been bleeding.  That ruled out river tubing, zip lining, rock climbing, ropes course, slip and slide, mud pit, and all the other fun things you go to camp for.

I was still in the "I'm starving all the time but nothing sounds good to eat especially not summer camp food" phase.  I was allergic to our moldy/mildewy/dusty cabin. I came down with a viral infection.  I had a fever.  I couldn't get out of bed for more than an hour at a time. The camp staff brought me meals. I even paid someone to go to Wal-Mart to get me more snacks. 

I was tucked in my corner of the bunk house TRYING to sleep while giggly screaming girls changed from muddy bathing suits to summer dresses with meticulously curled hair.  And I was in no mood to tell them they didn't need to spend an hour with a blow dryer or curling iron.  In fact, I was glad it kept them a little quieter. I digress...

One morning in the middle of all this mess, I was able to make it to the youth minister's prayer breakfast.  The priest led us a short reflection.  To my surprise it was the Feast of the Visitation.


A day that I had waited and longed for my whole life - to be pregnant on the Feast of the Visitation.

And here it was, catching me off guard. Exhausted. Sick. Overwhelmed. Surrounded my zealous middle schoolers....

It was all I needed to let the flood gates open.  I started sobbing right there in the middle of morning prayer.  It was the calming wave and sign from the Lord that I needed to get through the day and the rest of the week at camp.

That day was just a little more bearable with this sign from the Lord.

Then that evening the most incredible miracle of my life took place.

During The Feast of the Visitation Mass I felt my baby flutter for the first time! 

The whole world stopped.  It was everything I was longing for and more.  Peace came upon me like never before.

I knew that the Lord was with me, Mary was protecting me, and I finally had the proof I needed to know that our baby was healthy. I had the grace to make it another few days of camp mattresses, chicken fingers, and 99 degree weather.

God is good.


  1. FANTASTIC story.  

    I have not felt God exactly in this way before, but your story does put into mind to me how special, almost holy?, it felt to be pregnant on Christmas Eve mass.  I felt a deeper connection to Jesus (oddly not Mary, I guess) thinking about what a miracle MY baby was let alone the CHRISTMAS CHILD.  It was so hard to explain the realization I felt in the specialness of Jesus.  

    Then this year, Samuel died before Easter, and at Easter this time, I thought about how much more confusing it was to have Jesus die on the cross as a totally holy person.  My baby was sinfree, but would ultimately deserve death because he was a human.  So thinking of a perfect guy being separated from God for three days felt so powerful as I drew comfort from God being with my son over Easter. 

    I went to a church camp pretty similar to the one you described when I was in middle school.  What a great time.  Thanks for letting me recall that time through your post!  I surely wouldn't want to be there right now. Bless you for your enthusiasm for middle schoolers! 

  2. Oh my, Elizabeth that is such a beautiful story!  Well, except for you getting all sick and stuff, that's never fun -- especially when you're pregnant.... not that I would know.  BUT to have the blessing of Mary informing you that your precious little girl was healthy -  and alive and kicking ;-P . 


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