|David Flanagan in his first and only day of life on Earth.|
October 1, 2010. Atlanta, Georgia. When God enters into a
life and begins to transform it, there is no predicting
what other lives he will touch through it. Sometimes grace
breaks through at unexpected times, and through the most unlikely
of instruments. And when it does, there is no doubting
that God is the one at work.
Regnum Christi member Laurie
Flanigan’s journey back to the Catholic faith was mediated by
unexpected instruments as well. After bringing her back to faith
in God through a group of elderly women in a
faith-sharing group, he used a Baptist woman to convince her
to stay in the Catholic Church.
After returning to the
sacraments, she gradually grew in prayer and knowledge of her
faith, eventually becoming a catechism teacher at her local parish.
Before too long, she had started up a Familia group
in Cincinnati and Eucharistic adoration in her parish.
began to grow in love for souls, all souls. She
began offering small sacrifices—tiredness, little treats and indulgences that she
used to enjoy—for the souls God wanted to save.
I know he was preparing me for the cross he
had waiting for me to carry… the loss of our
son David,” she said.
A complicated pregnancy
David was her sixth
child. The pregnancy went smoothly until the 11th week, when
she woke up in the middle of the night in
a puddle of blood. An emergency morning visit to the
doctor’s office revealed that the baby was fine, so the
doctor told her to continue on as if nothing were
After several bouts of severe hemorrhaging, she ended up spending
most of the rest of her pregnancy in the hospital.
she resolved to use her time in prayer, offering it
all up to God for the good of other souls
while receiving the Eucharist daily from the hospital chaplain.
last three weeks before David’s birth, she felt moved to
offer up all of her sufferings for one person: her
Because of the lifestyle he had chosen to live,
and her newfound knowledge of the faith, their relationship had
become somewhat strained; however, they both continued to reach out
to each other.
On Thanksgiving Day, her brother came to visit
her in the hospital with a gift: a miniature Christmas
tree with lights.
“I treasured this tree because everyday as
I turned it on it was a constant reminder for
me to pray and offer the day up for him
and his conversion,” she says.
|The Flanigan family.|
An unusual inspiration
When Laurie first found
out that she was pregnant, she felt the Lord was
telling her to ask Scott to be the child’s godfather.
speaking, the choice made no sense. He despised the Catholic
Church. Her new love for the Church made it very
difficult for her to understand why the Lord would ask
this of her. To make matters worse, Scott had once
told her that he didn’t see the point in praying
for their own mother, who was sick, because “prayer doesn’t
make any difference.”
But the inspiration was so strong that
she decided to give it a chance.
“I told the Lord
that if he worked a miracle in the next nine
months, I would ask him,” she says.
When heavy contractions came
on the morning of December 3rd, she was only 26
weeks along with David. Nothing the doctors tried could stop
the contractions. Internally, Laurie prayed for the Lord to let
the doctor know when to give up and take the
A few moments later, the doctor came into the
room and said it was time to deliver David.
remember them putting me on a very narrow table… so
narrow that my arms wouldn’t fit. They pulled boards out
from each side and asked me to lay my arms
on them. There I was with my arms stretched out
like Christ on the cross. All my offering and sacrificing
the last nine weeks came to completion as I laid
stretched out on the table. It was then that I
knew whatever happened would be awesome because it was his
It was 3:00 in the afternoon.
David was born at 3:30,
weighing 2 pounds, 5 ounces. This new little life was
with them for just 13 days before the doctors observed
that his intestines were dying and that he urgently needed
David was quickly transferred to another hospital, where the
surgeons removed part of his intestine. Then came the time
of waiting to see if another surgery would be needed.
next day, Laurie felt the Lord asking her to ask
Scott to be the godfather right away. There was no
more time to wait. Worried that it was too early,
she asked the Lord if her brother were really ready
to take on the responsibility.
The answer she got back was:
“Trust in me… trust in me.”
The first surgery had not
been successful, so David was scheduled for another at 3:00
pm. If he did not recover well from this second
surgery, there was nothing more they could do.
“I went in
to see him,” she recalls. “There was my little David
lying there, arms stretched out in slings like Jesus on
the cross. Now my son was united to Christ’s suffering
and sacrifice. I no longer prayed for a miracle for
David to survive; I prayed for God’s will to be
Without waiting any longer, she called her brother Scott and
told him about David’s condition. Then she asked him for
two favors. The first was to be David’s godfather. The
second was to pray for him. As they both wept
over the phone, he told her that he had already
“That was God’s way of showing me Scott’s
soul was slowly transforming,” she says.
David did not recover
well after the second surgery. Now his remaining time on
earth was measured in minutes.
The battle over, he was disconnected
from all the machines and moved into a private room
with the immediate family. It was time, the doctor said,
for David to be connected to his family.
“Everyone said their
goodbyes and our sweet David died so beautifully and peacefully
in my arms,” Laurie recalls. “There was even a smile
on his face.”
As painful and sorrowful as it was
to lose her son, Laurie knew that this was God’s
plan. Somehow, by a design of his own, he wanted
David to be an intercessor from heaven for the family—especially
for his own godfather, Scott.
David lived for
less than a month, but his sacrifice, joined to his
mother’s, was fruitful.
For Laurie, he was—and is—a blessing from
God, a saint who intercedes for them from heaven.
souls he transformed here on earth in the short time
he was with us were more than most of us
will transform in our lifetime. But now in heaven, all
the more powerful will he be!”
This is the first
article in a series about God’s action in the lives
of lay Regnum Christi members who turned to him in
prayer. If you have a story to share, please contact
us at this link.