By Sister Kristen Forgotch, ASC
We Adorers have a special connection with St. Maria de Mattias, who founded our congregation on this day in 1834 in Italy.
It’s a connection that my bright and sweet second-grader, Jomanny, recognized too.
On a recent January morning, a rather joyful Jomanny entered my classroom ahead of everyone else. He came right up to me and told me that he had a Christmas present for me, but did not have it with him that day. Of course, I was a little skeptical as Christmas had long since passed.
A few days later, he entered the classroom again, beaming behind his face mask, and carrying a bag that he insisted I should open right away. Inside the bag was a large pink silk flower that he said he had picked out specifically for me.
Under the flower was a large coffee mug, a nod to my love of coffee, which I brew in a small pot in my classroom. The bag of treasures also had a scented candle that he said his mom had picked out for me.
The last thing that I found in the bag was a small, plastic, what seemed to be a decoration that looked like a wrapped candy. I mentioned it looked nice and set it aside. Jomanny was quick to tell me that I had to open the fake candy. I sat for a moment and struggled to open it. Jomanny was quick to offer me assistance, which I greatly appreciated.
Inside that little candy that I was quick to put aside was something that made me tear up. Inside was a small piece of tissue paper. I unrolled the tissue paper and inside was a medal of St. Maria de Mattias, the Adorers’ foundress.
I was speechless for a moment. I looked at Jomanny and then back at the medal. While still looking at the medal, Jomanny said, “It’s your favorite saint.” I was slightly taken aback. I had yet to tell the story of Maria to my class this school year. I typically tell Maria’s story on February 4, her birthday. I said, “Yes, but how do you know?” Jomanny then pointed to a picture of Maria that I have on the wall and said, “See, she is the only saint you have on the wall, so she must be your favorite.”
Jomanny then raced over to his desk, pulled out a small scrap of paper and ran back to me. He had copied Maria’s name down from the picture and took it home and told his mom that he had to find Maria for me since she was my favorite saint.
Jomanny would not have known that she would not be the easiest to find. At that point, I was slightly in shock and a tear fell down my cheek. Of course, Jomanny noticed and asked if I was sad. I quickly responded that I was so happy.
I sent a thank you note home that day for Jomanny and his mom. His mom emailed me back and said that they looked up Maria’s story on the computer together. They ended up on the Adorers’ website. They read all about Maria’s life and mission. At one point of scrolling through the website, they even happened to see my picture and his mom said that Jomanny said, “Wow, Sister is famous.”
I have worn the medal many days since.
During the lesson on February 4, Jomanny had remembered lots of Maria’s story and shared lots of fun facts that he learned.
I’ll be thinking of him again today, March 4, when we Adorers celebrate our Foundation Day, when Maria started all of us on our path.