The Last Word
Grace and Rock & Roll
About seven years ago, Fatimah’s boyfriend played in a rock band. One day, as the group’s photographer, she accompanied the band for a concert to one of the main cities in the Middle East, outside her country. After the concert, on her way to her hotel to meet her mother, she wandered in the neighborhood looking to take a few good shots.
Lo and behold, at the turn of a street, she sees a Roman Catholic church—truly a surprising sight in such an Islamic country. She knew of the Catholic Faith, having seen an old black and white movie on the Virgin Mary in her youth. She had never entered a Catholic church before in her life, but something was strongly inviting her to step in. It was mysterious, fairly dark, and with many stained-glass windows.
As she slowly moved towards the front, she noticed that some of the people were going down a little staircase on the side, probably to go to a private chapel. She began heading in that direction when a security lady stopped her, inquiring if she was Catholic. With a negative answer (and her “rock & roll concert attire” certainly didn’t help), she was told not to go any further. She saw in another part of the church a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and, drawn to it, she was again held back, this time by a rope blocking the entrance to Our Lady’s Chapel.
Overwhelmed by these two refusals, she sat down and began to weep. A moment later, looking around for someone to help her, she saw two men kneeling. (They had just finished saying the Rosary.) Fatimah got up and approached them. She knew enough English to express her confusion. One of the men was a priest of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), and the other a seminarian. They were coming back from one of their missions, and had stopped over for a few hours to visit this historic city.
The priest, a good soul-hunter, invited Fatimah outside for a coffee, and talked with her for over an hour. They finally exchanged email addresses, as the young lady expressed a strong desire to convert. Contacts have been kept ever since, but distance and local conditions are major issues to proceeding further.
Seven years later, having briefly met two more SSPX priests and gone through hours of catechism, she is still burning with the desire to be baptized, but has not yet been able to leave her country. Please pray to St. Rita for her.
Fr. Daniel Couture