When God Calls

By Norman Fulkerson

It seemed like any other visit with the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima when we entered the home of an 86-year old woman that was filled with guests in Buffalo, N.Y. we quickly realized that it would be no ordinary visit.

The hostess, who shall remain anonymous, was forced to endure perhaps the greatest trauma a mother could suffer. Her daughter, who I shall call Elizabeth, was aboard Continental Connection Flight 3047 that crashed in a Buffalo suburb on February 13, 2009. There were no survivors.

Although nothing can replace the loss of a loved one, the circumstances leading up to Elizabeth’s death were quite moving. I have often wondered about a person’s spiritual disposition in such circumstances, when God calls, and was consoled by what I heard that day.

In the morning of February 13, Elizabeth boarded a plane bound for St. Louis, Mo., to visit her son. When she was bumped from her connecting flight in Newark, N.J., she was given the option of either staying in a hotel and waiting for another flight the next day or flying back to Buffalo. She chose to fly back to Buffalo.

Up to this point in her life, Elizabeth endured a number of personal struggles. She had divorced her abusive, alcoholic husband; struggled with alcoholism; and lived with another man. Her conscience began to bother her, and she recognized she could no longer live in sin. Grace began to work in her soul. Elizabeth decided to leave her sinful relationship, and went back to live and care for her elderly mother. This was the turning point in her life.

Elizabeth’s sister–in–law, who was also at the visit, described how Elizabeth began going to Mass daily. She also began to develop a deep devotion to Our Lady. Elizabeth’s sincere devotion was witnessed on many occasions. Her sister–in–law told how Elizabeth carried her Rosary everywhere she went. When someone would ask Elizabeth how she made it through the difficulties in her life, she would pull the Rosary out and say, “This is how!”

It is my opinion that, when God called, Elizabeth was ready.

From Crusade Magazine: March / April 2010

Header Image: The author at one of his many visits during his 10 years as a Fatima Custodian.