By June Smith
Saint Joseph parishioner Patricia Ann De Polo Hess is a 69 year old mother and grandmother with a captivating story to tell. For four-and- a-half years she was on a high flow of oxygen fulltime, due to a diagnosis of incurable pulmonary hypertension. Along with this, she had systemic scleroderma and sleep apnea. That is, until Our Lady of Fatima intervened.
Patricia’s devotion increased during the Year of Mercy, when she welcomed Our Lady’s statue into her home for 30 days, culminating with 2,000 Hail Marys on August 6 of 2016. Later, when the National Immaculate Heart of Mary Lady of Fatima statue blessed by Pope Francis came to our diocese, she followed her journey to each church. Did she take the opportunity to go under her mantle at each parish? She calls this a “no brainer” and says that with the help of church volunteers everyone is invited. (Gloves are worn to protect Our Lady’s handmade beaded veil from Spain).
Finally, she attended a Mass on October 8, 2016 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, officiated by Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone. Afterwards, a procession of 3,000 people reciting the rosary walked to Union Square where an altar was set up for Benediction near Our Lady’s statue. After Mass, Patricia took a last opportunity to go under her mantle before the statue left California. She recalls that she didn’t pray mainly for her health, but for world peace. Our Lady’s outstretched hands are said to be for us to place an intention in one hand, so she can give it to her Son with her other hand.
Patricia says, “After adoration, one of the guardians said, ‘We have got to get you off those tanks,’ in reference to my oxygen. He pointed to Our Lady’s statue and said ‘She has you.’ That night, those words resonated in my mind and I took them to heart.” On that night of October 8, 2016, she went off of the oxygen. Her sleep apnea is gone and she reports that miracles are still coming daily. Crediting her strong faith to an early Roman Catholic upbringing, she recalls saying the rosary with her Italian family from the age of five.
Her Stanford doctor says that “Miracles do happen and the only answer could be God.”
She continues to express deep appreciation for her new-found health, especially during this year of grace – the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima.
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