August 15, 2011: A Beautiful Surprise

~ by Mary Galvano

On August 1st 1906 my grandmother, Mama Rosa, along with her children left her homeland of Sicily to travel to New York City to meet my grandfather, Papa Pietro, to start a new life. Papa Pietro arrived two years before her to find work and establish living arrangements for the family. Mama Rosa arrived on August 16th 1906 at Ellis Island, the day after the Feast of the Assumption.

During the time of travels my grandmother started a tradition, one that our family still carries on today, our family novena. Although, novena means praying for nine consecutive days, her novena started on August 1st when she left Italy and ended on August 15th, the Feast of the Assumption. Through our family “novena” we have witnessed the miracles that only can be explained through our praying the rosary. Well, this happened to me. This past weekend was a miracle.

Thursday, August 11th, was my birthday and I thanked God that morning for the gift of family and for the birthday phone calls that I received. I held my little dog and told her that being with her and my husband, Jonathan, were all I wanted for my birthday, although, I wished other family members could be there with me, too.

Not too long after I said these things, I was sitting at my desk working when suddenly I noticed a car pulling into the driveway and then another car pulled in behind it. My mouth dropped! “Oh my goodness!” I said. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Running out the door with excitement, I embraced my mother and my sister. My whole family knew about this surprise! My sister, Liz, said that we are going to celebrate! Of course this would happen during our family rosary.

Love overflowed that day from all my family members. I couldn’t believe that I had been praying to spend time with my mom and sister and then it just happened. This was the best gift I could have received, the gift of time together.

There is no better gift than the giving of ourselves; especially at the moment we are receiving the Body of Christ. Our Lady gave herself to God when she said “yes” to conceive Jesus. The love we give out should be a gift that cannot be bought. If we do have to buy it or exchange something for it, then it is not a gift. Gifts are given freely, just as God gives us gifts freely.

Make each day count. Spend time with people, even the ones that are just looked at as acquaintances, because you may not know when their last day will be, or yours. Life goes by in a flash. Just recently this happened to me with a friend of mine. I thought of her as always being around and then she passed away this week. Each present moment you are living is a precious memory in the making. Take time to appreciate that moment and with whom you are spending time.

I am so grateful to my grandmother, Mama Rosa, for bringing over from Italy such a beautiful tradition, our family rosary said for the Feast of the Assumption. What a gift we have in the Mother of God! And what a gift we have in each other. Give out freely, or else it isn’t a gift, and give the greatest gift that you have, “you.”


Mary Galvano-Bajohr is a singer/songwriter, LPGA golf instructor, speaker and author. On the golf course she is a dedicated professional, but go to a Yankee game, a Pro-life event or other venue and you just might see her step up to the microphone and sing the National Anthem or the Ave Maria.

Visit Mary’s website at

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