Vaya Con Dios
By Robb Howard
Philippe, Maria’s ten-year-old son, couldn’t breathe. She massaged him as her curandera had taught her and it seemed to help. She knew he was dying, and soon, but every day was a gift from God. Maria went to Mass every morning and evening and all she ever asked for was a healthy Philippe, if that was God’s will. She asked that He take her instead of her son. He had a whole life in front of him and she would gladly take his place and praise God. So far, God had been silent.
As she drove to church, Maria thought about the medical bills. They were already more than she could pay and like ocean waves, they just kept coming. Some doctors were refusing to come and see Philippe. The hospital that knew his condition best told her she must take him to the overcrowded Civil Hospital, where the care was much too quick. Suddenly, she heard the siren and saw the flashing lights. Policia! She had been speeding because she was late for Mass.
The policia only gave tickets, which she couldn’t pay. Tears started flowing down her weary face as she pulled to the side of the road. The stern- looking policeman asked for her registration and license. She opened the glove compartment, pulled everything out and the first thing was an old jamon and queso torta, covered in mold.
She handed her license and registration to the policeman, but couldn’t stop staring at the mold. It looked familiar. She crossed herself three times. It was the Virgin of the Rosary, the patron of her village! Maria clearly saw her face and the rosary around her neck.
The policeman knocked on her window to get her attention and said, “Here’s your license and registration. Por favor, slow down and be careful. This road is dangerous early in the morning. Vaya Con Dios”
Maria mumbled a shocked, “Gracias.” She crossed herself and thanked the Virgin for her favor. Maria skipped Mass and hurried home, thanked her neighbor for staying with Philippe and said “Adios.” Maria gently placed the torta on the edge of Philippe’s bed, said a prayer to the Virgin and began to bathe his face with a cool rag. He opened his eyes and said, “Hola Mama, I love you.”
By morning, Philippe was strong and out of bed for the first time in months. The neighbors came to see Philippe and the Virgin. Each neighbor told ten more neighbors. Soon, Maria’s house and yard were overflowing with the sick. They came, knelt before the torta and prayed. The crippled walked, the blind saw and the sick became well.
The rich man from a large hacienda came with his baby girl who was near death and she was made well. All who came left what they could and the rich man left enough money to more than pay for Philippe’s medical bills.
Father Alvarez, Maria’s priest, watched, all the while saying his rosary. A few days later, Father Alvarez returned with the Bishop. They watched the sick being healed and the Bishop spoke with Maria. “What is happening here is surely God’s blessing on you and your neighbors. The Holy Father has asked me to bring the torta to church so that we may conduct a proper investigation. We must prove that the Virgin of the Rosary is creating these miracles.”
Maria didn’t mind. She knew that the church had rules. But she also knew the Virgin had made her son, Philippe, healthy and that was all that mattered.