In September, 1959, the seventh season of The Loretta Young Show began. The episode which aired is likely a very familiar one to everyone who has watched the show- The Road. The filming took place in France, during the show’s hiatus, and it was a project very close to Loretta’s heart. While there, Loretta would learn a valuable lesson in the miracle of being in the right place at the right time.
While in Lourdes, the shrine where the peasant girl Bernadette had seen apparitions of Mary and the emergence of a healing spring, Loretta and the team were having lunch, when she noticed two nuns across the room. One of them got up and asked her, “Loretta, don’t you remember me?” It was Mother Gabrielle, a Dominican nun from a monastery that Loretta often took retreats to, near Los Angeles. She and her friend, a nun from India, were on their way back to America, by way of making their pilgrimage, then to Paris to get home. They marveled at meeting each other half way across the world, and Mother Gabrielle ensured that the monastery would pray for the film’s success. After the two had left, Loretta felt the need to give them some money. She searched her purse, leaving every last bit she had in an envelope, to be given to Mother Gabrielle. And with that, she left, thinking no more about it.
Back home, in California, Miss Sally dropped by one day to remark on the fascinating story she’d heard about her sister and Mother Gabrielle. Loretta had no idea what she was referring to. Sally had just returned from a retreat to Mother Gabrielle’s monastery, where she had told her the story of their return to America. She and the Indian nun were so close to Lourdes, during their stopover in Paris, that they both wanted to see it. They had no extra money for bus fare, and after a nine hour novena, Mother Gabrielle cashed in their tickets, and off they went to Lourdes, where they would run into Loretta. The morning they met, the nuns had no idea how they would pay for their tickets from Paris to the US. The envelope that Loretta had left contained the exact amount, no more or less, that they needed for plane fare.
I’ve been thinking about that story, among others, lately, during my own personal quest, of sorts, to figure out what I’m even doing on this planet. To be quite honest, there are a lot of times that I really struggle with wondering why I’m here, why I was chosen to be here instead of so many countless others. I think most people have the notion that life has a purpose, and I’m no exception. My question is always what that purpose is. I feel like I’ve done nothing terribly remarkable. In fact, most times I fret about not living up to the gifts I’ve been given. Recently, some events took place that simply had to line up, and for some silly reason, I know I had to be a part of it. I had a weird, specific, technical insight that was needed to get this thing rolling. So far, it looks like it might work out, all around. I have this near phobia of giving myself credit for anything, but it all makes me wonder- is the purpose specific, or is the purpose to be open to all events, be able to give help where needed, and simply follow an instinctive drive to be kind? What if Loretta had thought, “No, they can take care of themselves.” What if, in my situation, I had kept quiet and thought, “They should know what to do.”
Maybe we’re all just sort of floating in space, our souls waiting to collide with another for a lesson, a love, or a random act of kindness.
All information and excerpts from Forever Young are used with permission of author Joan Wester Anderson. She has written a multitude of books on the topic of spirituality and faith, some of which Loretta read and enjoyed, herself. LY couldn’t have chosen a more perfect person to tell the stories of all of her “little miracles.” Please check out Joan’s other books, on Amazon, if you’d like to read more of her work.