I Met a Saint Yesterday

It has been way too long since I added to my blog and I apologize for that. Get a coffee, this is a long one!

There has been so much fun and excitement at St. Mark’s that it has been hard to find a minute to get to this. It has been a wonderful week to be priest. I have in the last few days been able to be present at a wonderful wedding, enjoy wonderful second advent liturgy and engage in a process of instruction to the Chancel Guild and friends about liturgical colours and seasons and to meet an honest to God servant of Christ who has brought great joy to my life. Allow me to tell you more.


Last week I got to know Paula. Allow me to explain how I met Paula –

My brother is vice-principal of a school in Newfoundland that has promised a Nintendo Wii as a prize for kids who are fund raising for the school. Problem is my brother was working on incorrect information that he could actually get one of this next to impossible to acquire gadgets. Upon finding that he did not get one of these things he called me in hopes that I might actually be able to do the impossible….get one of these blasted things. Check that, “if you can get more than one then it would be good because my principal would like one as well.” Yeah – RIGHT! So I spend a week or so calling and looking in a variety of places to try and find the Nintendo Wii with no success. Last Wednesday I was told that Bust Buy would have some available on Friday Morning. When I inquired about what it would take to get one and I was told …”if we get 50 of them you will get one if you come early.” Great, so I asked, “What is early?” Are you ready for this….”4 or 5 AM!” I was shocked. But I care enough about my big brother that I was prepared to go to the cold morning sidewalk and wait. “Call back on Thursday night and find out how many we have.” Ok. I now at least felt as though there was a chance that I might be able to do something to help Darryl in his quest with his school fundraiser.

Before I got to the call to Best Buy I thought that I should try Wal-Mart. So I called there and got electronics and that is when I first encountered Paula.  We chatted for it on the phone. I told her I was a priest and that I was trying to help my brother with his school fundraiser and that spending time on the sidewalk in the cold at 4 AM was not appealing to me at all. I asked her if there was any chance at all that Wal-Mart would have something for me and that I could prepay for it and have the assurance that things were looked after. I mentioned that my brother’s principal also was looking for one for her child. She said that it was not possible and asked me if I knew something that she did not know. I told here that I was certain that Best Buy was getting some that night and that they would be available in the morning EARLY. She was very fun on the phone and said that I must have someone who could go wait over night for me and I said – I don’t think so. In any event, she took my number and said I will call you if I can find one. She let me know that there were plenty of family and friends looking so she would let me know. So I said thank you but figured I never hear from her again.  

Contented that there was no hope at Wal-Mart I moved on to call Best Buy and get the facts. I did call and the news was not great. “We have 21,” the voice on the other end says to me. Great, So I ask “What time should I be there in the morning.” There was a little teenage laugh on the other end and then, “if not here, like, when we close at 10 PM to like, line up, you won’t get one in the morning.” I prayed and came to the conclusion that I could not spend the night on the sidewalk. I was too concerned about myself to do that. So I went to bed convinced that my brother would not want me out overnight for this thing. When I got up in the morning on Friday, I was thinking that maybe I could look harder in the US, maybe this, maybe that…you know….I was feeling a little guilty that I did not do the over night thing. I turn on my cell phone to find a message from….you guessed it… Paula.  It said in short, “I Father, it’s Paula. I’m in line at Best Buy it is 12:15 AM and I have enough money to buy one Wii but not two. I have a friend with me who can stay in line and buy the second one if your can bring me the money.” I was stunned. I called Paula at 9 AM and found that she was headed to bed after being at Best Buy all night but she had a Nintendo Wii fro Roncalli School in Newfoundland. Basically this servant of God’s love and trust saw fit to take a sleeping bag to Best Buy, where she went directly from work, after calling to Best Buy and learning that I was not there all night I would not get one. She decided to trust that I was not a scam artist. She decided that she would forgo comfort. She decided that God was asking her to do something good for someone else. Paula is a great woman. She delivered the wii Sunday night and it was delight to meet this woman who has raised 5 kids – 4 of them quadruplet girls. She is warm and friendly and I was thrilled to meet someone who has so much energy to care for others, even people she does not know.

The last time I wrote, I referred to St. Nicholas. I wrote this, “Today is a good chance to stop early in advent and ask God to guide our hearts to find ways in the middle of this wild time to find someone who is tossed about, who is drifting, who is broken, who is alone, who is hurting or who is forgotten and seek to find a small way to make a difference. We can honour the real origin of gift giving by seeking to give dignity to fellow child of God. Having sought dignity for the other, I think that we ironically give ourselves a little more dignity in the middle of the madness that this season can be.” I had no idea I would see this in action just a day or two later. You see I think there is a sure madness about the frenzy around these games and any other consumable good that people would line up in the cold to buy.  Paula has influenced many people in her search to do something for her God. Well done Paula – you have restored my faith in our ability to do good for others and I know that in the retelling of your story, I am allowing others to have their faith in the goodness of humanity restored in your actions as well. May God Bless You abundantly!


If you are in Windsor – go the Wal-Mart I the East end, go to Electronics and meet Paula and thank her for her love for others.

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