In 1928, I was placed in Newport. But like our Lord going on retreat for 40 days and 40 nights before he started his mission. He was pleased to put me on retreat by sickness for three months in a hospital before I started mine. Of course, it was His mission above all as we are but instruments and He does all the good. All honor and glory to the Sacred Heart.
I came back from the hospital to St. Clare's in Newport the 22nd of December 1928. On the 12th of February 1929, my first Enthronement took place at Mr. and Mrs. Henry F’s home. Things weren't going too well there. The children, three of them, Louise, Charlie, and Irene were very often sick and Mr. F. himself was dragging himself along. His work was too strenuous for him and for quite a while he had been trying to get a job as a machinist at the Torpedo Station but each time he'd apply he proved unsuccessful. I brought them a picture of the Sacred Heart. They welcomed the idea of the Enthronement. Father George Archansbault who was curate at St. Augustine's church then, was a very zealous priest and accepted right away to officiate. They had a very solemn Enthronement on the 12th of February 1929. From then on, the family never missed saying their prayers together at night. It consisted in the renewal of the consecration and a decade of the rosary. Little Charlie, who was five years old then, learned the little Act of consecration by heart in no time and when prayer was over, he'd tarry a little while longer in front of the Sacred Heart. Joining his little hands, he'd say pleadingly: “Please Sacred Heart, help Daddy's undertakings.” It amused Mrs. F. as she wondered how he caught the word. But the Sacred Heart heard Charlie's plea as it wasn't long after the Enthronement when a notice was sent to Mr. F. to apply for a machinist job at the Station. How happy he was, and how he thanked the Sacred Heart for it. Our Lord really became the Center, the Loved one in the family. The children didn't hesitate sometimes to include Him in their fights. One day Charlie who was five and Irene three years old were having a tongue fight in the parlor. As it happened Irene got the best of Charlie each time. He became exasperated and falling on his knees in front of the Sacred Heart pleadingly said: “Dear Sacred Heart, if you don't give Irene a toothache I'll give her a whack.” I suppose he thought that a toothache would surely make her shut up.
Once in a while, Charlie listened to the old boy, like the day he set fire to the Sister's mailbox. It happened that there was a letter in it to the superior from a Father Collins, then in Washington the letter was partly burnt and the Superior had to send it back to Father Collins to rewrite the missing part. This incident was brought to light, three years ago, when Father Collins came to St. Mary's parish, in Newport as curate and happened to bless Charlie's marriage. Also Father Collins solemnly Enthroned the Sacred Heart in Charlie's home. He has a wonderful little wife and was then the proud father of a child when the ceremony of the Enthronement took place.
Quite a while after the Enthronement Mrs. F. Sr. admitted to me that she and her husband used to have arguments and keep cold feelings toward each other sometimes for a whole month, when one wouldn't hardly speak to the other. They just didn't want to give in. It made living home so uncomfortable. But, says Mrs. F: “Ever since the Enthronement we've had our little arguments, but the cold feelings melt away when we pray together at night. We don't keep grudges with each other anymore…. Louise is married now also and the Enthronement has taken place in her home. So the fire is spreading from one generation to the other.
What couldn't I tell you about what the Sacred Heart did for me during my twenty years in Newport. Where I couldn't have the Enthronement I'd at least bring the Sacred Heart picture and I'd wait until the fire would take. No one had heard of the Enthronement neither the priests, nor the people. That made it hard for me. My work as a nurse had to be done first and I grabbed all the spare time I had to spread the work. That's why it was so slow.
Funny things happen to me at times. I guess it will always be a mystery to Mrs. M. in Newport, the day I went to take care of her ulcerated leg. Reverend Leonard McAteer had Enthroned the Sacred Heart in their home. They lived, Mrs. M. and her two daughters in an old tenement over a store in the center of the city. Her front door wouldn't stay closed unless it was locked. For that purpose, she had a big, deep hook put inside the door so that no one could get in unless someone in the house unlocked the door. It was always hooked and wouldn't stay closed unless hooked.
The day after the Enthronement I went to take care of Mrs. M. As I went to knock at the door and before I had a chance to, I heard the hook go up and fall heavily on the door which swung wide open but no one insight. I looked around wondering who had played me a trick. It surprised me, because they were rather shy people and I didn't think them capable of acting that way. Presently, mother and daughters who were laundering in the kitchen came in a hurry to see who had come in. And there I was. “Who opened you, the door?”, said Mrs. M. “Yes”, I said: “Who did?” They sincerely said they didn't and after thought they couldn't have and have time to run away. The rooms were large and the kitchen way in the back of the house. But then I looked at the Sacred Heart on the wall and I thought, could it be that where Our Lord is Enthroned in a home there is a special, but invisible presence of Him in the home. I think He opened me the door. Tit for tat. As I brought Him into the homes He was letting me in too. Our Lord doesn't want to be outdone.
This happened to me several times. The next time it happened when I was bringing a picture to a family where the father was sick. This time it was a locker. I heard it snap and the door opened just as the daughter came to the door. She examined the locker and for a few seconds wondering. I didn't say anything nor did she.
to be continued