My New Friend

by Rae Stanley

I am a convert to Catholicism from nominal Protestantism, and there are huge gaps in my ability to deeply embrace the riches of the Faith. One of my deficits is a lack of experience of the Communion of Saints.

In line with this was a very superficial relationship with St. Joseph. Mostly I saw him as an add-on to the Christmas story—not really integral to salvation once the Boy was raised and his job was done. But an experience last year, just at the beginning of the COVID lockdown, changed that.

In early March 2020, I fell on the outside stairs during a snowstorm and was taken to the emergency department of our local hospital with a foot injury.

The diagnosis was a bad sprain. They were not going to x-ray, but I was moved to ask them to. The result of the x-ray was inconclusive, but indicated a possible serious fracture. A CT scan was ordered, which I was told I would get in two weeks.

Then, unexpectedly, the scan was done the next day. It did not show a break, and I was told I’d get the results from my family doctor.

Soon after that, to my surprise, I got a phone call saying that I had an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. I was told that this is routine, so I wasn’t worried.

The surgeon could have taken the results of the CT scan at face value but some medical instinct told him to order more x-rays.

These showed conclusively that I had a serious break needing surgery within a week to fuse two bones. If it were not done within a week, the bones would have to be re-broken and optimum healing would be less assured.

As I was awaiting surgery, the first lockdown, in which only the most necessary surgeries were being done, came suddenly into effect. I resigned myself to a less-than-optimal recovery.

Then, a few days later, to everyone’s surprise, on March 18th, the eve of the feast of St. Joseph, I received a call from my surgeon telling me to go for surgery the next morning at 8, when they would “put my foot back together.”

It all clicked: on the feast of St. Joseph, Joseph, whom Catherine referred to as the mender of broken toys, bodies, and minds, was enabling the mending of my broken foot!

All went extremely well, and somehow I knew that this good fatherly saint had been interceding through all the surprising and unlikely twists and turns to get me timely care for an optimal recovery from what can be a crippling injury.

P.S. When I returned home and was given a room in which to recover, I was delighted to find in it a hospital bed with adjustable foot and head elevation. Before this, I had had to use a stool sitting on my bed with a pillow on top (which kept sliding off).

When I asked where we got this wonderful bed, I was told it was a donation from the Sisters of St. Joseph.