Br. Gene’s St. Anthony Story

Br. Gene with OLO Perpetual Help shrine

Br. Gene Mayer holds his Our Lady of Perpetual Help Shrine

Lost for 6 years

As a kid growing up in Michigan, in every parish we belonged, there was the Mother of Perpetual Help Novena, which my mom and I attended.

Years ago, a friar was moving, and in the process of “cleaning out stuff,” he gave me a small, freestanding pot-metal shrine to OLPH (Our Lady of Perpetual Help), knowing I was a devotee. This shrine has had a prominent place on my desk ever since. Over the years, I dropped the metal shrine while cleaning the room and the pointed tip of the frame broke off. I was able to rather precariously re-attach it using some tape.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help shrine on desk

Br. Gene’s OLOPH shrine has a prominent place on his desk.

Fast forward to seven years ago, when I was moving from Saint Anthony Friary to Saint John the Baptist Friary, I was not careful when packing the items on my desk, and in the process, that broken tip fell off. I was not aware of it until I unpacked it, and I thought it was lost forever—it could have been anywhere from Saint Anthony’s to Saint John the Baptist Friary. Alternatively, it could well have been in a packing box that I discarded. I was upset with myself for my carelessness, but the shrine was usable even with the broken tip. I said a quick prayer to Saint Anthony but considered it an exercise in futility.

Mindful that I do clean my room occasionally, about a year ago, while cleaning under my desk, along the edge of a two-drawer file cabinet, I spotted something shiny. I could not imagine what it could be. To my great surprise, it was that missing tip from the little shrine. That piece had been laying there for six years without any notice. I think “somebody put it there!!!” Thank you Saint Anthony!

(Br. Gene Mayer is the Advancement Specialist at Roger Bacon High School.)

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