My Great Great Uncle Andy Hemmer (brother of my Great Grandma Dehner) was in his 90’s and still living on his own. His son Paul (of Dubuque, Iowa radio fame) told me that one of the things that bothered his father the most was the loss of his eyesight, because he enjoyed writing and reading letters from his family and friends. You see, Uncle Andy, was completely blind in his right eye and could only see dimly with his left eye – only enough to make his way around the house. He had been declared legally blind.
Paul told me Uncle Andy was a very spiritual man who had only completed the 8th Grade, but was a self-taught man who became quite learned through his reading and study. Paul would stop in every day to visit his father at 3:00pm and would find him listening to the television and praying the Rosary.
It was in 1993 that I was ordained to the priesthood and in one of my televised Masses at EWTN, I spoke of a prayer that many people pray before Christmas for their needs. It is a prayer that recalls that most awesome moment in all of human history when God became man and dwelt among us. It asks for help in one’s needs by the merits of what Jesus did.
Traditionally people pray this prayer 15 times a day from the Feast of Saint Andrew (November 30th) until Christmas.
When Uncle Andy heard me speak of this prayer, he wrote to me asking for a copy of that prayer. I happily sent him a copy which he prayed, not only 15 times a day, but all day long, for the restoration of his eyesight.
That Christmas Eve night he had a terrible pain in his right eye. Christmas morning he awoke and, to his great joy, he could see again. He later wrote to me (see the two 1994 attached letters) and said that he continued to pray this prayer in thanksgiving and that the sight in his left eye had dramatically as well. My parents and I visited Andy during one of my Iowa Summer visits and he was happy to tell us of what God had done for him.
You see, sometimes we are “shocked” to discover that God really does know us, cares about us and loves us. This miracle showed this to Uncle Andy Hemmer, but also to all of us in our family.
Dear family, we live in anxious times when many people are losing hope. I wanted to send you this account of a Christmas miracle to give you hope. Know that “God so loved the world (including each member of your family) that He gave His only Son.” Never forget that God really does know you, cares about you, and loves you. That is why Jesus was born in such poverty, because He did not come for His own sake – but for yours and for mine.
– Fr. Joseph Mary Wolfe, MFVA