This is a true story about the “Miracle of the Sun” in Lubbock, Texas and my conversion to the Catholic faith, but it is also about my wife’s reversion to the Catholic faith.
My wife and I were married in the late 70’s and…sad to say…not even sure in what denomination. We found a minister open on a holiday weekend (New Year’s eve of all days) who was willing to marry us. My wife had been baptized a Catholic as an infant, attended Catholic schools, but had fallen away from the faith in her early 20’s. I was a fallen away Episcopalian. Over the years we worshiped at various churches.
One day in early August, 1988, my wife’s mother called to tell us that “something special” was supposed to take place in Lubbock, Texas on August 15th of that year, and it involved the Blessed Virgin Mary.
For some reason, my wife felt called to go, even though she was not really practicing her faith at the time. I told her we really could not afford to take the trip, and besides, I had no interest in going anyway. But she was determined to go, and on August 14th, she took off along with her brother, two cousins, her cousin’s wife (a convert) and two of our children to Lubbock, Texas. I thought my wife, who was normally very level headed and not prone to sudden whims, was being rather impulsive. What I learned later was, she was desperate to find God (and had begun to wonder if He even existed).
The “something” that was going to happen was supposed to take place on the grounds of St. John Neumann Church in Lubbock, Texas on the Feast of the Assumption (August 15).
At that point in time members of a prayer group at that church were reporting unusual experiences while in prayer. This included the smell of roses when praying the Rosary (a sign of the presence of the Blessed Mother). These parishioners included a man named Mike Slate and a woman named Mary Constancio. They claimed to have received instructions to spread the word of what they had experienced, and to encourage people to come here to Lubbock on the Feast of the Assumption, August 15th for special graces and miracles. I guess my mother-in-law was one of those who got the word and passed it on to my wife. My wife just knew she had to be there.
Upon my wife’s return home from Lubbock on August 16th, I could sense something very different in her….but, clueless as I often am…could not figure out what it was. Finally, a few days later she related the events of that day.
Here is her account of that eventful day: August 15, 1988 in Lubbock, Texas
A large crowd had gathered outside Saint John Neumann Church on that very hot August afternoon on the Feast of the Assumption. Mass was being said in the afternoon, and around the time of the Consecration, suddenly her cousin’s wife (a convert, if you remember) said “look at the sun”. When she did, the sun was pulsating, it would look like it was coming down to earth and then go back again, it spun around in circles, much the same as what took place in Fatima in 1917….and changed colors. She looked at it directly for 15 minutes or so without any damage to her eyes.. As my wife looked around, the people in the crowd seemed to be bathed in various colors. During all this my wife even saw The Blessed Mother. The Blessed Mother was extending her arms in what appeared to be a welcoming gesture.
But not everyone had the same experience that day: her cousin’s wife and our son saw and believed instantly, but her cousin and brother saw nothing at all . Why did some see these events and others did not? We don’t know….not enough faith? Or perhaps they had enough faith, and they didn’t need a sign!
There was actually a collection taken up that day, and our son….who was (and still is) pretty frugal…opened up his wallet and gave all that he had. Talk about miracles!
What happened after that:
Now, first, you have to understand that my wife is a very no-nonsense person with both feet on the ground and not at all prone to exaggeration or letting her emotions run away with her (me, on the other hand, I cry at the end of “it’s a Wonderful Life”). So when she related these events to me, I readily accepted her story and knew it was the truth. As I mentioned earlier, my wife is not prone to exaggeration…she is pretty much a black-and-white person. She had absolutely no doubt….and neither did I.
She became more devoted to the Blessed Mother….praying the rosary daily and reading anything she could get her hands on about the history of Mariology. She had been raised Catholic and gone to Catholic schools, but that had faded away up until now. If you have ever been close to someone going through a religious conversion(in this case it was a re-version) to the Catholic faith, it can sometimes be a bit frightening…often times you feel like that person is growing apart from you.
I’d been raised in the Episcopal Church, attending only on Christmas and Easter. And I was certainly never going to become Catholic. In fact, the Episcopal church I attended as a child was “low church”…no “smells and bells”, just a plain cross over the altar, and we only heard of Mary mostly at Christmas.
But there was no doubting my wife’s sincerity, so I had to investigate the Catholic Church more.
The story continues with some amazing twists and turns.….but I will leave that for another time, other than to say that I did become Catholic as a result of an event that I never attended…but sure wish I had!
Of course, skeptics won’t believe this….even the Bishop refused to believe it…..but there are many people who were there that day who will tell you otherwise..And most of them were changed forever by this event.
Post note: My wife’s cousin who was with her in Lubbock August 15th, 1988, died from AIDS a couple of years later. But before dying he requested a priest to hear his confession and he received Last Rites….a unique blessing.
If you were there that day, we would love you to share your story with us and our readers….just send us an email.
Further reading (links open in a new window):
Chicago Tribune (written the day before the miracle)