In the Master’s Embrace

St. Therese as St. Joan of Arc in a play she wrote for her sisters.

St. Therese as St. Joan of Arc in a play she wrote for her sisters.

Ordinary Miracles

(This piece, by our reader Suzie Savoy of Texas, deeply resonated with me. Our Lord often uses significant dates as a little sign that He is with us, particularly when suffering is involved. I have mentioned that I delayed by several years fully accepting the work that was offered me, because I had been promised that when I did, I would enter into a period of extended intense suffering to prepare me. I finally gave my definitive yes late in the summer of 1997. Sure enough, serious and unusually huge convulsions began to shake my life – with family, work, everything. On Feb 11, 1998, my house burned down. Everything had come unglued so quickly – but it was a comfort to me…for when the house was destroyed on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes, one of the most important feast days to me, it was a sure sign that all these troubles were merely what God had promised. I was in deep stress, but He let me know He was with me. Suzie clearly has lived that and lived it well. – CJ)

By Suzie Savoy

The link that you posted about Pope Francis’s devotion to St. Therese the Little Flower reminded me of my devotion to her which started many years ago after I became a convert to the Catholic faith.  I guess this story would be in the category of “Ordinary Miracles” which I believe the Saint is responsible for the many blessings of graces to me due to her intercession to this day.

During my conversion into the Catholic faith in the 1990’s, I was given many consolations from God’s grace.  One of those being that my children, David and Jackie, were baptized into the faith at the ages of 8 and 9 years old, respectively.  You see, I came to my conversion taking the long, crooked road from the Lutheranism of an anti-Catholic household, to agnostic, to studying about all different Protestant faiths, to studying about Judaism, to becoming a Unitarian Universalist, to finally meeting a man who was Catholic (I was divorced at the time) and going to Catholic Mass with him.  During Mass, a feeling came over me giving me the impression that “I was home.”    

After I became a Catholic at 40 years old, I had an internal urging to read about St. Therese the Little Flower.  Her Way of Spiritual Childhood intrigued me so much because I felt this was a theology that I could understand.  Ordinary saints outside of the apostles were a foreign concept to my former Protestant mind.  I was in the baby steps of my conversion, and a sponge for trying to absorb the concepts of this rich faith called Catholicism.  I immediately fell in love with St. Therese after reading all I could about her, and I started to pray for her intercessory help because I truly believed after getting to know her that I had a sister in Heaven.

When her traveling relics were coming to St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church in Houston, Texas on December 6, 1999, I knew I was not going to miss it.  After Mass, while awaiting our turn to go up and revere the Saint’s precious relics, I was sitting in my pew praying when a little girl who I did not know that couldn’t have been more than 4 years old, dressed like St. Therese with a habit, red roses, and a crucifix in her hands, broke through the processing crowd, directly coming over to me.  She handed me a colorful medal of St. Therese.  I thought that she was just showing it to me, so I commented to her how beautiful it was, and attempted to hand it back to her.  Her mother came up behind the little girl and said to me, “No, she wants you to have this medal for some reason.”  So I thanked the mother and the little girl, and then she quickly disappeared into the crowd with her mother.  We never saw them again.  My husband and my in-laws witnessed this event, and they were as surprised and shocked as I was about what happened.  I still have this medal attached to my Rosary to this day.

But, the story doesn’t end there.  As I continued to have a strong devotion to this Saint, my son, David, started to have problems later in his life.  To make this long story short, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, a severe mental illness that seems to have a genetic link in my family with the men as my brother and uncle also had this horrific disease of the mind.  David lost his battle with schizophrenia at 21 years old.  He died on October 1, 2007, the Feast Day of St. Therese the Little Flower.

After my son’s passing, I have pondered numerous hours on these events that led up to his death on the feast day of the first Saint that I became so attached to during my conversion. God knew David was afflicted with this genetic disease while he was in my womb.  And in my humble opinion, I’m assuming this Saint also knew this.  And this was God’s way and her way of letting me know that David is with Him in Heaven, interceding for me, looking out for me, for our family, with his prayers.  After all, David did suffer silently in his passion during his whole lifetime while hiding this horrific disease from those of us closest to him.  The suffering that I bear from his death is nothing compared to what my son suffered his whole life dealing with a diseased mind that turned against him and reared its ugly head as the disease came to the surface of my son’s mind at the age of 21.

This Saint still blesses me with little miracles.  I have such comfort knowing that my son, David, has this Sister with him in Heaven.  David was born on the Feast Day of St. John of the Cross, December 14, 1985, and died on the Feast Day of St. Therese the Little Flower so I call David, “My Carmelite in Heaven.”

Thank you, Charlie, for letting me share this little miracle with you.  Also thank you for your website and postings.  They are rich in their theology, yet easily understood by my simple mind.  I have a better understanding of creation, this universe with the eternal, of God, of Christ, of Mary, his saints, his angels, the satan, and everything else you have talked about.  By way of a little miracle, I found you through Mystics of the Church website that mentioned you last January 2015.  Since then, I have been in a crash course of The Next Right Step, trying to read all the articles and the attached comments of your archives.  They have given me such peace to know that God has a plan.  And I am humbled to know that I have been given the grace to know this.

Also through grace, I was urged interiorly, to put in a prayer request for my daughter on your website.  You sent St. Therese to intercede for me stating that she was picked by you at random.  Another little miracle.  St. Therese telling me again that your website is what I need to pay attention to so that I can acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around me as the Storm rears it’s ugly head.

About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
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40 Responses to In the Master’s Embrace

  1. johnmcfarm says:

    What a loving, courageous Christian mother you are Suzie, your story really hit my heart. Thank you so much for sharing that with us!

    Liked by 8 people

  2. says:

    So beautiful!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Barb says:

    Wow what a story.Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Marita says:

    Thank you Suzie for that heartwarming testimony! St. Therese is indeed a precious gem!

    Charlie, I never told you, but my parish is National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica, it was just designated a Minor Basilica by Pope Francis earlier this year, and we are all thrilled. What a mighty blessing! Maybe this will entice you to come for a visit to my beloved Church when you make your plans for the Midwest, and a swing through Michigan. I know Therese would love to see you there, and her Feast Day is October 1 and your schedule for the Midwest ends Sept. 30th. Wait one more day and join us for her Feast. That whole week we do it up BIG for her, with lots of beautiful celebrations. You can email me about it if you are interested. I have a very close priest friend who is an Associate Pastor there and I’m sure we can work something out.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Dee (Dolor) says:

    Thank you Suzie for sharing your beautiful story. It is a sign of hope, and another testimonial to how God takes care of His own. Many have asked “what is the next right step”, and so had I until I realized that is what I have been doing.I didn’t have a favorite saint, but felt I have been very close to Mary since a child when I would bring her statue out in a field, bouquets of flowers at age three. Twenty two years ago when my husband died at age 50 of cancer, my youngest was just eleven. I had four at home, one in the missions, and one just married. I never had time to grieve what with all the children were into. There was wrestling practice, basketball, band practice, and on, and on and on. And we even had to move several yrs later. I was a RN, but didn’t go back to work after he died, because I didn’t want my kids to be latch key kids, so I took what the govt. gave , which was about one tenth of his salary, and never missed a beat. We never went hungry. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I did what I had to do when it had to be done. That was the next right step.I had received my rn, from a catholic hospital that taught us to treat every patient as if it was Jesus. And I loved my patients. I moved twice again, and ended up living now a block away from two daughters.Families with grandchildren who can now take care of me after several work related accidents, and several car accidents. I can look back, and know with certainty that every move was a well placed miracle leading me to where I am now. I can’t remember worrying, I just did what had to be done. And I know now that if God has taken care of me so mercifully and wonderfully, for the last twenty two years, I don’t think He will stop now. I loved Him and Mary, and I know they love me, so why would they hurt me. I know I have rambled, but I hope I have gotten my point across. I know I’ve accepted everything that has happened to the family, and looked at it as , well, this is life. God knows whats best. I didn’t think I was trusting when I was doing it years ago, but I did, and I loved. You just know what the next right step is when it’s right in front of you, and as Charlie has said, if it’s the wrong one, God will make it right somehow. May God guide your steps, and those of your families. Dee

    Liked by 11 people

  6. Centurion_Cornelius says:

    Dearest Suzie,

    we ever so softly yet gently embrace you; hug you; hold your head on our shoulders; comfort you; cry with you; mourn with you, and yes, rejoice with you.

    our hearts melt with yours in your sorrow, but know this: Jesus and The Little Flower are at David’s side—forever.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. rickie says:

    What a beautiful story. We don’t understand how much the mentally challenged suffer in their minds. How God must love them because really, they have a skewed perception of reality, so their motives can be only innocent, and their suffering is constant. I also have mental illness in my family. It is a cross that requires patience and faith because they can’t always explain what they are feeling, and sometimes things surface that you didn’t expect, so you have to accept it and hope and pray for the best. Miracles can happen as you have shared. I think some of the miracles come from their suffering as they teach us how to love one another. Thank-you for sharing about your children and your faith journey.
    The relics of St Therese came here too. I still have some of the rose petals that people placed on her reliquary and fell all around it. Many people came and many received blessings. At the time I was working in a school run by Carmelites. You can imagine how much we celebrated it because it was also the time when she was declared a doctor of the church. I think that year I really felt close to St. Therese because of all I was learning about her through the Carmelites’ witnessing and also because of the graces and blessings that were flowing from it. I’m so grateful for those gifts.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. SteveBC says:

    Suzie, your story is a lovely one despite the painful times. I found myself appreciating how your story provided such a support for your final comment about St. Therese verifying Charlie’s site to you. It struck me as something for me to add to my reasons for spending so much time at this site with everyone here. So your story has ended up helping settle me just a little more. Thank you for your story and for taking the time to add in your last paragraph. I hope it may do the same for others reading here.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. luvadoxi says:

    Beautiful and inspiring–thank you for sharing your story!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Mary W. says:

    Thank you Suzie, thank you Dee, thank you Charlie and the entire communion of saints. Such beautiful witnesses you all are. We are a privileged lot here at TNRS. How could we ever feel alone during these times of trial knowing our grateful hearts beat as one.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Julia says:

    Beautiful testimony. Thanks be to God.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Kati says:

    Thank you so much for sharing all this. I cannot tell you how so much of what you have shared has affected me. I found myself full of tears at a number of places in your story. St. Therese is my Confirmation Saint. She was ignored by me for many years but that has radically changed! My mother is regarded by our entire family as a saint. We KNOW that she is actively interceding for all of us. Her name is Suzie. I have a daughter who is a Unitarian Universalist but I KNOW that she will return to the Church and be used by God. There are so many things that greatly touched me from your sharing. All I can really say is thank you…thank you…..THANK YOU! I am off to Mass and will ask God to bless you greatly while there. 😉

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Mack says:

    What a beautiful story! It moved me too and gave me hope.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Amy says:

    Dear Suzie,
    I am so sorry for your loss. There are no words really. We found out our son Robert Francis passed away on May 13, 2013, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima. I’ve often pondered the significance there. May our departed children pray for us always.


    Liked by 2 people

  15. Melanie says:

    Thank you for this beautiful testimony. I too am a convert and am so thankful for all the gifts of the catholic church. I am still learning about he Saints and their contributions and will make a point of teaching the teens about St. Therese. Faith is to be childlike, trusting which is what the Lord wants of us. To trust His way. Its really not that difficult, we have to just get out of our own way.

    Liked by 3 people

    • charliej373 says:

      I fell in love with St. Therese shortly after my reception into the Church, Melanie. I suppose it is partly because her “Little Way” matched up so nicely with my simple way. But as the years have gone on, my advocacy of the next right step has been deeply refined by referring back to her “Little Way.”

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Suzie, thank you for sharing your personal witness of suffering, faith and hope. I generally find all the posts and comments to be so edifying, some of which I consider to be like the ‘book work’, but it’s the ‘field work’ that really hits home with me. You’re living it.

    I’m very appreciative of the Little Flower too. She’s something else, isn’t she?

    God Bless.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Dee says:

    I was beginning to feel a little bit down after reading the reply’s to Suzie, and how it seems like everyone had a connection to St Theresa, or had a favorite saint, and I began to think “whats wrong with me”. And it’s amazing what happens when you sit back and think about the past, even back to your childhood. And I remembered a second grade sister telling us about her, and her “little way”, and how she became a saint by just doing the laundry and offering it to God. (isn’t it amazing how I can remember that, and I can’t remember what I did yesterday, lol) And that made such an impression on me that at times in my life it would pop into my memory, and I would feel I was becoming a saint the “little way”. So; now I’m happy, I too have a link to St. Theresa. Now I feel like I just passed my Initiation to the TDL membership. Just like not realizing I was practicing “trust”, I didn’t really realize I was practicing the “little way” I mean, who really sits down and thinks about it. I guess it’s time to begin thinking about what I do automatically, and thank St Theresa officially for keeping me true to her “little way”

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I found Susan Savoy’s testimony one of the most moving things I have ever read either on this site or anywhere else. What a wonderful example of the effect of grace in our lives! The fact is that her “simple mind” as she calls it, has been receptive to profound consolations of a sort that always elude the intellectual mind and its myriad ineffectual ponderings. May she continue to receive such heavenly blessings for sharing her inspirational account..

    Liked by 1 person

  19. rickie says:

    Since today is the feast day of the Sacred Heart, I thought some of you might want to join us in watching an all night vigil dedicated to the two hearts before the Blessed Sacrament. At 8pm there is a mass concelebrated by the bishops and in the morning at 6am (Saturday) there is a mass in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It is a bilingual presentation in Spanish and in English. is the website. The Sisters of the Pierced Hearts are responsible for the vigil. Every year they have it in the seminary chapel. They are expecting a big turnout tonight. It is a good opportunity to pray for all our intentions.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Thank you Suzie for sharing your treasure with us. I was moved by your story because only a few days ago I was telling this forum about certain things that had a connection with the Little Flower and also with Our Lady of Mt Carmel. I was also shocked because schizophrenia has hit two of my siblings. One of them, a sweet girl, Maria was born on a May 31. That day there was an apparition of Our Lady of the Snow on a mountainside visible to the whole town, from the valley below many saw the Virgin Mary floating over the fresh snow. My mother gave birth to Maria while the apparition could still be seen. Although she was not a Catholic she still decided to name the baby that way. Maria had trouble all her life but only when she reached the age of 54 her mind started to fail completely. Another brother now the same age is going through the same process and giving the whole family unimaginable grief. Due to the vagaries of Argentine law, we have been unable to intern him for treatment. I fear for his life and the life of my aging father (85) who is – unbelievable as this may seem – officially under my brother’s guardianship. I have asked for prayers for the intention of being able to save both my brother and father but I hope you can pray for this specific intention and make use of that relic and your close relationship to St Therese. I am asking you to kindly pray for the intercession of the Little Flower and also Our Lady of Mt Carmel so that I can put both my brother and father under medical care as soon as possible, to guide the doctors and lawyers working on this case to do what is right. I will be forever grateful to you and to this forum, to Charlie and to everyone praying for this intention. May God bless you always.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Deon says:

    Thank you for sharing this. My family and I were able to see St. Therese on her visit to the U.S. In 1999. God bless you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      Could you clarify, Deon? Are you talking about a statue or something? St. Therese died in 1897. I thought maybe you meant Mother Teresa, but she died in 1997. I am a little confused. Thanks.


      • Charlie, I think Deon refers to the world tour that started in 1997, the centenary of Thérèse’s death. Part of her body (her remains are split between caskets, so that some always remain in Lisieux) had been taken on a regional tour across France when the bishops of Brazil requested the tour to be extended to their country. Later many other countries presented the same request. I believe the remains of St Therese are visiting Britain in June of 2015.

        Liked by 1 person

        • charliej373 says:

          Thanks, Carlos…I knew it had to be something, but I didn’t know what.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Lilia Florentiae says:

          I also visited the relics of Saint Therese in Legnano, Italy, during her world tour. I remember praying very intensely by her remains and developing a sudden liking for her. Perhaps it is not by chance that when I moved to another part of Italy, where I am now residing, I found that the parish here is dedicated to Saint Therese.

          Liked by 2 people

  22. Mick says:

    Suzie, thank you so much for sharing your story. I would like to share a story with you, because it has many similarities to yours. I, too, developed a devotion to St. Therese shortly after becoming a Catholic. I, too, saw the relics of St. Therese in 1999, except it was in Washington DC, where I happened to be visiting when the relics were there. Years later, I too lost a child (in 2010, through miscarriage). I felt convinced in my heart that the baby was a girl. I decided to name her Philomena Marie. One day when I was “talking” to her and asking for her intercession for an intention, said, “Dear little Philomena Marie…” and then “Therese” added itself at the end. I pulled up short. Where did that come from, I wondered. But then I figured out that the Little Flower wanted me to include her name in the name of my little girl who had so recently gone to heaven. So, I kind of smiled and said, “OK. ‘Philomena Marie Therese’ it is!” I asked my baby to intercede that God, if He so willed, please send us another child. It happened in 2013, when my daughter, Anne-Marie, was born on the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel–over 5 weeks prematurely (apparently, she really, really wanted to be a “Carmelite”!). So, my little Carmelite in heaven helped her little “Carmelite” sister on earth. And perhaps in heaven, your Carmelite and mine are friends.

    Liked by 5 people

  23. Suzie says:

    I just want to say that I am humbled, edified, and appreciative of all the comments about my story here. I am also grateful for such a nice, faithful community that has been made by Charlie’s website. You all are in my prayers daily. Thank you, again, and God bless you!


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