This is an incredible, true story shared by Mary. It is her family’s story and involves three of her seven siblings.

Paul’s eyes filled with tears as he told Rita that their sister Rose had appeared to him. It didn’t happen in a dream, he said, but while he was wide awake.

Paul had been suffering much guilt and remorse. Rose must have loved him a lot, Rita told him, because apparently Rose visited him not once but on three different occasions.

Rose had had a rough life. Shy and introverted, she drank, smoked and partied to excess. She was obsessed with exercise, yet ate like a rabbit. The doctors warned her about becoming anorexic.

She stashed away her money and didn’t trust banks. She paid cash for her home as well as for her beautiful new Toyota Forerunner.

The family grew up very poor, yet her parents managed to purchase a Tasty Donuts franchise in New Orleans. With a degree in home economics, Rose’s forte’ was preparing 15 different kinds of jelly-filled donuts, included Mary’s favorite, blackberry.

Later in retirement, when her parents closed up shop, Rose decided she could open up her own place. It was great; her bakery became quite the buzz. People came from all over, especially for her King Cake.

For the next 10 years, Rose was baking at 3 a.m. Firemen from the next block and taxi drivers filed in by 6 a.m. One in particular, a regular, cried especially hard at Rose’s funeral.

Rose left the back door open for the milkman’s 4 a.m. arrival.

She became concerned about being too close to the city projects and asked Paul to help her move into a better neighborhood, but Paul was opening up his own shop with Rita in Cameron. He also cared for their aging parents. He just couldn’t help her right then.

That is something he will forever regret, because a year later, someone – not even from the projects – walked into the shop. Threatening Rose at knife point, he demanded the keys to her brand new car, but Rose was not going to give them up. She fought fiercely. He cut her hands and stabbed her more than 200 times, all over her body. Rose died that day at age 45. Her family was not allowed into the crime scene.

At the funeral, all her friends, but especially the firefighters, were sickened, regretting that they had not been there for her when she needed them.

Mary started praying for Rose’s soul as for all the souls in Purgatory.

Paul told Rita that Rose first appeared when he was at their parents’ farm. She was dressed nicely, he said, with boots on like she was going out. In life, alcohol had wrinkled her face, but in death, her skin was smooth again. She looked 20 or 25 years old.

Mom and Dad had moved to Lake Charles when they closed up the shop. It was there that Rose appeared again. This time, Paul was on a rocking chair, when all of a sudden, Rose was rocking next to him.

Paul called out to her, “Oh, you’re back!” he said. She disappeared without a word. That was, until the third time she materialized at his home in Cameron. There, she told him, “I locked the back door.” She answered the question everyone had been asking since her death.

Then Paul experienced something very strange. He saw that Rose began regressing in age. She started looking younger; first she was looking like a teen, then around 10, and finally she was a toddler.

Was she returning to innocence to enter salvation? Was that what she needed to do in order to get into heaven?

“Since, by your obedience to the truth, you have purified yourself…” 1 Peter 1:22

Terice Richards
Author: Terice RichardsEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
I am a hospital chaplain with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. I have been writing professionally since 1981 as a radio and television news reporter, anchor and producer. I earned an M.Ed. from the University of Houston and a B.A. from UCLA. I am a certified teacher for Pre-K through 12th grade and completed the practicum for pastoral care ministry certificate from St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston. I live with my family in Kingwood.

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