I got called Thursday evening to a nursing home nearby. A 93-year old lady was close to death and her family wanted her to have the last rites. Her eyes were open but she wasn’t responsive. Wrapped in her hand was her rosary. She was of an age where kids were taught the rosary young, so she probably prayed it tens of thousands of times in her life, and therefore likely said the Hail Mary over a million times.
The last line goes, “pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.” I found myself thinking, “Dorothy, this is the hour you’ve been praying for all these years.” She died later that night, with her family around her. It was a beautiful, grace-full death.
Fr. Steve Petrica is a parish priest in the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin.