House of Miracles

By Grace Petrasek
Interim Publishing Company, Toronto, 2006
96 pages $5.95

There is nothing more inspiring than true stories that illustrate the hand of divine providence in the lives of ordinary people. As a teacher, I often read to my students such stories from the lives of Catholic saints, including Don Bosco, Padre Pio or Francis of Assisi, etc. But the one question that continues to come up is whether such miracles and divine coincidences happen today.

Indeed, nothing has changed; the hand of divine providence is evident to those who trust God enough to step out and walk in the dark, allowing themselves to be used as his instruments. House of Miracles is a collection of stories that illustrate the hand of divine providence in the inconspicuous lives of those who serve at the Aid to Women crisis pregnancy agency in downtown Toronto.

For example, in just one account, we read that a young and distraught father was refused entry to the abortuary adjacent to the Aid to Women office. His girlfriend, of university age, was waiting to have an abortion. Aid to Women counsellor Robert Hinchey was standing nearby, carrying a sign showing the 2003 Newsweek magazine photo of a developing fetus sucking his thumb. Hinchey called to the young man, who was sitting on the steps of the abortuary, and inquired whether he needed help.

The man explained that an abortuary guard had refused to allow him to enter just to say a final goodbye to his girlfriend. As he said this, he noticed Robert’s picture of the baby in the womb and became teary eyed. Robert suggested he try to enter again and call the police if he was refused. He replied he’d think about it.

Shortly thereafter, back in the second-floor Aid to Women office, Robert and Ann Wilson (the current director) quietly prayed for the young man. They then heard his footsteps as he climbed the stairs to the office. Wilson encouraged the young man to be strong and try to get in again and, if he was refused, to return and call the police.

Once again, he was refused, so Wilson and he called the police. With the shrewdness that characterizes Christ’s innocent (Mt. 10, 16), Wilson explained that “his right to access was being denied and that he needed police protection to enter the abortuary.” Almost immediately, two police cruisers arrived on the scene. The officers accompanied the young man to the door of the abortuary and waited until he came out, at which point the police left. Minutes later, the girlfriend rushed out of the abortuary and ran and embraced him. The abortion had been cancelled.
This book is very comforting, because it illustrates that extraordinary things happen in ordinary lives. It reminds us that God is in control and that good things happen, not primarily because of anything we do, but rather because God providentially arranges events. He is like an omniscient chess player moving human pieces to their rightful squares, answering the prayers of those who do their part, trust him and are willing to becomes fools for him.

After reading this book, one realizes how important Aid to Women really is, for it is savings babies every week. Without a doubt, this agency deserves to become a financial priority for all who are committed to the unborn child.