Something About the Beautiful People We Meet

By Daniel Wagner –

img_0788-croppedI met him while I was walking through the outside Shrine chapel picking up papers that the wind delights in scattering all over the beautiful and maintenance-intensive Blue Army Shrine. I am one of the maintenance crew and have picked up a lot of papers and met a lot of wonderful people since I started working here last year. He was one of those beautiful souls whose name I might forget but whose memory will stay with me, and help remind me why I am out there chasing those papers in the first place.

At any rate, something moved me that morning to stop and connect with the quiet, friendly- looking stranger. He appeared to be well into his 70’s, maybe almost 80, and was thin with grayish-white hair. His eyes appeared to be bright, even smiling, as he sat praying on one of the seats along the aisle where I was passing.

Even though I don’t know exactly what it was that convinced me to stop and say “hello”, I do think that Our Lady had something to do with it. This kind man informed me that he had been a longtime volunteer at the Shrine, although old age and the health complications that come with it had made it difficult for him to help in the ways he had before. A few years back, however, he had been driving in every summer to clean, landscape and beautifully restore the Second Joyful Mystery station of the Rosary Garden. Not only was he dedicated to this work for the sake of Our Lady and a desire to make the Shrine beautiful, he also had an intense personal family reason to return year after year.

“You see,” he explained to me, “that station was dedicated to my sister who passed away. You will see the memorial stone there when you go there next.”

I was happy to inform him that we were about to begin work on restoring that very station next, now that the entrance gate had been mostly restored. I also let him know how honored I was to have met one of the generous members of his family who for years had given their time and resources to honor Our Lady and remember their dear departed family member.

BlueArmy-shrineAs I continue to help with the Rosary Garden Restoration project it is inspiring and heartwarming to know that I can play a part in bringing back some beautiful art which has served to honor Our Lady and her dedicated children, those of all ages and walks of life, who have come to her in times of joy and sorrow and found a refuge and support.


If you would like to donate to the Rosary Garden Restoration project
please make checks out to the World Apostolate of Fatima, and mail to:

Blue Army Shrine
“Our Lady’s Rosary Garden”
PO Box 976
Washington, NJ 07882

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