"My Dad didn't go to church so I didn't see why I had to go either...plus I hated wearing those 'doilies' on my head!" said Dee. In her youth, women and girls were expected to cover their heads in church and wore lace veils called mantillas.
Dee was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church, but was off and on about attending Mass. Prayer was not a part of her life.
When she was eighteen years old, Dee's beloved brother, Billy, killed himself by monoxide poisoning in the family's garage. She was in the home at the time, sound asleep. “Why didn’t I wake up?” Dee agonized but never understood. She often looked back to that day wishing she could have saved him. I wondered about whether he was in heaven. Confusion and guilt bothered her throughout her life. She did not know how to pray for him.
Often, feeling at odds with people in her local parish, Dee attended different churches, not feeling at home. She would sit in the back and not talk to anyone.
One day, driving in Pontiac, her foot slipped off the brake and she accidentally bumped the car in front of her. She got out to check for damage and was mortified to discover that the driver was a priest. The car was fine but Dee's friend still had to reassure her, “You’re not going to go to hell because you rear-ended a priest!"
Seventeen years later, a friend brought Dee to St. Mary of the Hills Catholic Church for Mass and she found herself face to face with the priest she rear-ended in Pontiac. She knew it was the same priest; he even had his two dogs with him. It seemed like a sign to her and so, she joined the parish.
Dee decided to attend a parish retreat and was the first in line to have a group of prayer intercessors pray over her. But she felt nothing and sat there just waiting for the whole thing to be over. She got up and walked away feeling disappointed. The next evening, there was another opportunity for prayer and she decided to try again. "My father never told me he loved me," she thought. “I just want to hear that God loves me!" As the team prayed, Dee prayed, “God, please let me know that you love me! Please just let me know that you love me!” The prayer team quietly finished their prayers for Dee. After they were done, and before they moved away, a man on the team bent over and said to her, “I have a message for you from God. He wants you to know that he loves you like a daughter.”
Dee chokes up talking about the feeling.
She looks back over the years and sees how many times God was trying to communicate with her. "I was oblivious!" she said. One time she told a friend that she needed a sign from God. Then she accidentally made a left turn on a red light. A policeman pulled her over and asked, "Do you know what you did?" "Yes," Dee said. "And I don't know why!" "I'm going to give you a free pass," he said as he glimpsed her Red Wings bumper sticker. "From one fan to another! Have a nice day!" That was enough of a sign for Dee.
"I have never been stopped without getting a ticker before!" she said. She started paying attention to details in her life and relating them to God. The year her mother died, she had found a poem among her Christmas cards that began: "Merry Christmas from Heaven!" She cried sensing God trying to comfort her. She saw how present he was to her and she wanted more. "I wanted more of that camaraderie! I have Jesus in every room in my house. Even in the basement!" she says.
“The Church is now my life!” Dee says. Dee prays daily and intercedes regularly with the rosary for her friends, the church and the world. She is a fully awake Christian prayer warrior praying especially for young people who are in trouble like her brother, Billy.