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Dire hospital situation leads to deep devotion to Mary

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Dave Hrbacek, The Catholic Spirit

The rosary came alive for Paul Putzier in a hospital waiting room while his friend’s son lay dying in the E.R.

A 16-year-old classmate of Putzier’s son had been in a car accident on July 3, 2010 and was feared dead when he arrived at Region’s Hospital in St. Paul.

Family and friends were gathered in the waiting room early the next morning wondering about the fate of the boy, and hoping for a miracle.

“There were quite a few uncles and aunts and cousins, probably about 15 or 18 of us in this room waiting,” said Putzier, 55, a member of the Cathedral of St. Paul with his wife Veronica and children. “It was early morning. We were trying to talk and be hopeful and [were] saying some prayers. But, it was very uncomfortable. It was sad. And, I really didn’t know what to do.”

Finally, a woman in the room suggested praying the rosary. Everyone quickly agreed. Then, the entire mood changed.

“So everybody ducked down their heads and she led us through a rosary,” Putzier said. “It was 20, 25 minutes of all of us being of one heart and one mind in that room in prayer together.

“We were able to join together and bring the situation to God and to our Blessed Mother. The rosary brought focus and hope to that hospital waiting room. It was at that powerful moment of grace that my relationship with the rosary changed. I made a personal commitment to learn and pray the rosary, and never be ‘empty handed’ in a situation like that again.”

Within a matter of days, Putzier began praying the rosary regularly, which he has done ever since. He has found a way to build it into the routines of his life.

“We started saying the rosary on the way to Mass because it’s a 20-minute drive for us [from Burnsville],” he said. “So, having all the kids in the car is a perfect period of time. I say the rosary myself on the way to work, which is also a 20-minute drive. I started leading the family more in that prayer. It’s been powerful. I say the rosary probably two or three times a week now.”

Bringing peace

Although praying the rosary did not result in the miracle of saving the boy’s life — he died later that day — Putzier has seen the fruits of this iconic prayer nonetheless. He notices a greater peace in his family. He notices that his children are finding the path God has for them.

And, he is experiencing a deeper relationship with Mary, who had to helplessly watch her own son die, just like Putzier’s friends had to do with their son.

“I love Mary. I know she loves me and that she’s a powerful intercessor,” he said. “Our friendship is growing through saying the rosary.”

Putzier takes a practical approach to the rosary, offering decades for various intentions. For example, when he prays it on the way to work in the morning, he offers one decade for each of his five children, three of whom have graduated from high school and moved on.

He also has a list of five intentions he will pray a decade for:

  1. Pope Francis;
  2. bishops;
  3. priests;
  4. deacons; and
  5. those called to religious life.

He also knows that another emergency could arise, and therefore, the urgent need to offer a rosary to seek Mary’s intercession.

“I’ve never had to use it again in a dire situation like that, thank goodness, but it is a beautiful gift to us at those moments,” he said. “And, I know that sometime in the future there’ll be a time that I’ll need to reach down and lead that prayer for a group of people that are in a difficult spot. I just know it. I think it’s good to learn it ahead of time, so it’s ready when you need it.”