Monday, September 12, 2022


Today, on the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, I am especially grateful to Joseph Zaccoli, who lost his father on 9/11 and made this beautiful painting commemorating it. And so we pray: 
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Some events are so important, you remember everything about them, where you were, what you were doing. On Sept. 11, 2001, I was at home with my babies--Dagny was just four months old, Max a toddler--listening to the radio when it was interrupted by a news story about the Twin Towers in NYC collapsing from commercial planes flying into them. Holy smokes. When I heard that the pentagon had been hit as well, and that another plane had crashed in PA, I wondered if Michael would be safe in Seattle. He was at an aircraft manufacturing convention downtown instead of at the Boeing factory. I was so relieved when he came home. We didn't have a TV but later that evening, I logged on our dial-up computer and saw the horrific pictures--the smoke, the people jumping to their deaths, the firefighters going in to save lives. I didn't know anybody personally who died there, yet over the years I met many people whose lives were changed by this event. Some who survived because they didn't go to work that Tuesday or were running late left the corporate world to pursue a rural life, others left to pursue a religious vocation, and for some, like us, it was the beginning of a conversion.

I've written about it before: Vijaya Bodach: Tragedy and Grace. But now, what a privilege it is to pray for those who died in that terrible terrorist attack. Yesterday, at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (intentions for Michael), we had the catafalque, that represents all those who died in that tragedy. I thank them for their sacrifice because unbeknownst to them, they've had a share in our salvation. It's a mystery. I hope to meet you in heaven. Requiescat in pace!


Mirka Breen said...

I remember it well.
Most poignant for me was what my son, then six years old, wrote to his teacher the next day. Her homework assignment was to write or draw how each of her students felt about what had happened. He wrote it was most sad because the people killed in the World Trade Center were from every corner of the world, every religion and every color, and that they thought they would be safe in New York, USA. He drew people in different colors. I recall there was even one blue person.

Vijaya said...

Mirka, that such a small boy could comprehend the reality that we are all united in our humanity is remarkable. I gave a picture book, The Man Who Walked Two Towers, by Mordecai Gerstein, to Michael for his birthday when it came out a couple of years later.

Barbara Etlin said...

It's amazing and wonderful that you and Michael managed to turn this tragic event into a rediscovery of religion.

Carol Soisson said...

Thanks for the link to your post from 2012. I didn't know that piece of your conversion story.

I have been a faith formation teacher for many years and I remember the uptick in enrollment right after 9/11. It was truly amazing how God worked through that event.
Sadly, as we went back to "normal" life after that, many students didn't re-enroll.

I did have one college classmate who died in the Trade Center, but it was not someone I knew well. There were many from Connecticut. I pray they are all in Paradise this day.

Vijaya said...

Barb, it is truly amazing how the Lord works.

Carol, I suspect an uptick in religious education across the board. It's too bad it didn't stick. Alas, I'm still trying to find the good that came out of the Jewish Holocaust--I know of individual stories of greatness but I'm not able to see the big picture. All in His time.