Write your service experience

News from a new memoir collection project: Seeds of Service.

Here’s their introduction:

Have you committed a year or more to post-graduate service in the United States?

Do you have reflections to share about your experience in one of America’s faith-based service programs?

Are you interested in being part of a published work?

We are looking for you!


We are seeking individuals who have completed a year or more of service in a faith-based service programs in one of the 50 states or U.S. territories during the years 1995 – 2011. We are interested in hearing from former volunteers who served in either urban or rural areas and in a faith-based programs of any religious tradition, be that Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and others!


One Response

  1. Dear Katie,
    I have been visiting the Prayer Garden in Tickfaw since 2004. To date, I have YET to find the Blessed Mother. But then again, it might surprise you that it is not she that is lost. My first visit was at the request of a group of nuns from New Orleans. I gave them a ride to the garden. (May the record reflect, I am not even Catholic but befriended the nuns down the road at the Benedictine Monastary who were forced to relocate to Massachusetts because of lack of financial assistance. Shame on the Catholic religion. God bless the faithful who continue to believe. But that is another story). I have no dog in that fight.

    Alfredo and Vita became dear friends of mine. I worked every weekend in the garden because it was the right thing to do, to help two elderly individuals working on a project they gave their heart and soul to. I was inspired. Just FYI, I never saw any “bleeding Jesus”‘. Unlike you, that was not my intention for visiting. I went for spiritual healing rather than the potential entertainment value or the prospect of a “financial miracle” as a result of years and years of poor decision making. This too is another story. Pretty standard fair out there these days.

    Suffice it to say, I am a treating physician of 30 years who considers myself to be far too educated and intelligent to be enticed by light shows or the potential for “slight of hand”. I never experienced any of these things over the couse of my 8 year visits. That was until December of 2011.

    I went to the garden to refill my Holy Water jugs. (Just FYI, I too received a miracle of healing from pesticide exposure which left me without the use of my hands for 18 months, yet another story). It is nonetheless true. Perhaps one day I can tell you about the profoundly autistic 5 month old that I took there repeatedly. He received healing there as well. He did not have to have an “opinion” about this place, he just had to show up and be healed. And he was. Ironically, he has asked me out of the blue to take him to the garden so he can speak to Our Lady of Guadalupe. “She tells me stories”.

    You will have to do a more indept interview with this bright and articulate 5 year old and his interactions with the angels and the Blessed Mother. I stood in awe with this interaction on a number of occasions.

    At this point, I do not even feel a need to elaborate upon the blood that was dripping from the brow of Our Lady of Grace that December morning. It was the first apparition or whatever it is deemed by all you Catholics who see their religion as a spectator sport. As for me, I know what happened. I know it was real. I know it was personal. I could not be less interested in what any of the rest of you think, those of you who feel you are on the religious fast track. I believe it was in Proverbs when someone stated, “It does no good for a fool to seek to be educated.” They must have known many of you Catholics.

    I am privy to a host of miracles over the course of the past 8 years. I sat with Alfredo for hours and hours and had deeply philosophical and religious conversations. He affectionately referred to me as “Gugutsa”. That would refer to my “Squash For Brains”..He would shake his head and laugh as he said, Oh, Gugutsa, Gugutsa”. I must admit, at times I do indeed have squash for brains. The difference is, I am willing to admit it.

    Alfredo died in December, right before Christmas. I miss him more than you can know. I plan to visit Vita this afternoon as we try to make some sense of all of this and move on.

    She gave me two of his infamous caps. I love them so. I have his original cap that he wore in the garden when they first opened the field. It is leather. It smells like him. I find it most comforting.

    I am so sad that you missed the entire point of Alfredo and Vita’s purpose on the planet. I strongly encourage you to begin the hard work of finding your own. As for me, I have no doubt I am to be a “healer”, not a “doctor”. There is a monumental difference. My purpose is tied directly to that garden. I personally will devote the remainder of my life to carrying on the work Alfredo and Vita began, regardless of the bad press or ignorance of the masses who once flocked there. That ground is sacred, it is holy, it is blessed.

    Miracles only occur in the lives of those who are struggling to get their hearts and their lives pure. It is only then that you can receive these blessings. I encourage you to take a closer look at your heart and your perspective. My heart and my door will always be open to those who seek the true meaning of Our Lady of Tickfaw.
    I welcome you to call and visit with me. I am a physician, not a crazy, 113 pound, chain-smoking Tunician who loved the Blessed Mother and devoted his life to her cause.

    I miss him more than you can ever know. I will continue to pray as he prayed, stand where he stood and work as he worked.

    All the best to you. Come and see me.

    Frances Wiggins, DC

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