When my beliefs in peace and prayer were challenged

By Mary Guzzetta

Prayer is as natural to me as breathing.

The attacker came downstairs after me. It truly was a scene right out of a horror movie.

I was four when I first experienced its phenomenal power. I had misplaced a precious belonging and ran to my mother. She took me into her bedroom where four walls separately showcased different icons: Catholic cross above the bed; Sacred Heart on another; Blessed Mother on the third; Saint Anthony on the fourth – the latter three all had lit vigil candles. She directed me to Saint Anthony, told me to say three Hail Mary’s; he was in charge of lost things. I dutifully recited them, left the room; within minutes found the item – ran back – looked at his picture and to this day can hear my childlike voice in awe saying: You’re good.

From that moment, I guess I figured between God, Jesus, Mother Mary, Saint Joseph, Guardian Angel and Saint Anthony, I had it made.

Both dad and mom loved the rosary and novenas. Daddy was only home Sunday night; the other six he worked as a cab driver. Mom was always in the home. She was always in pain from crippled feet – result of polio as a young child. Her favorite prayer area was the front porch, watching the world go by–the world that she was never part of. She said a rosary for each of my six siblings; learned in later years I received two. My first response was: oh wow, I’m special. She was somber in her reply:

No, you will need two. Did she have a premonition?

It was the dawn of 1990 when my life dramatically shifted gears founding a charitable mission helping homeless men, women and children. It totally relied on self-labor and charitable Good Samaritan tax-deductible donations, without government and/or grant support.

Initially, I felt hopeless/helpless. It was truly a new world of experiential and academic learning. But, finally I got a grip that I attribute to rooted discipline taught by my parents, and daily mass juxtaposed with ceaseless prayer. After a decade of work, it seemed to be going well.

Within fifteen years, I was sponsoring others, but when stress escalated, I re-evaluated things and realized my zeal was focusing on quantity vs. quality. Instead of trying to multiply myself, I decided to write about how others could do what I did: that is, start a nonprofit as a solo, and help others. Nonprofit has macro name to symbolize how “we all associate with each other in a new renaissance creative way.” Recovery Help was published now available complimentary by contacting AssociationRenaissanceCreators@yahoo.com

It not only shares “how to” information but also describes how I had the opportunity to open a new refuge on the east coast, and left son in charge of the west coast shelter.

I networked extensively with community and specifically emphasized that we would not accept those with a violent history: “no violent history referral.” Alas, soon after, a young man was brought by Social Services. He had recently attacked his father and grandfather. They did not tell me. One night almost a week later, he followed someone into the home upstairs bedroom and attacked him with knives. The victim got away through an upstairs window calling for help. The attacker came downstairs after me.

It truly was a scene right out of a horror movie. He had knives in both hands, an evil glint in his eyes, and a cruel malicious smirk on his face. As he advanced slashing and slashing, he taunted me. I was in such horrible shock, I couldn’t even scream. I had my arms up defending myself, feeling knives cutting. I turned to run for cell phone. He caught me, I stumbled, fell. I closed my eyes and kept still like a little child hiding under a bed. When he stabbed my right eye, I went unconscious with my mind exclaiming: I’m going to die.

The long and short of it: I am the septuagenarian survivor of 42 stab wounds. I center myself in overcoming stress by focusing on thanking God for renaissance and revivified life, a Kimosabe rescuer, my blessed daughter/son and other loved ones who support me juxtaposed with constant meditation using visualization.

My attacker was sentenced fifteen years; he is forgiven. However, prayers were constant and continue to this day: prayers for him to ask God to redeem his soul or there was no doubt in my mind, evil would attack again.

I have learned recently that he is on a prison ministry list. Hallelujah!

In an ironic twist, I lost both homes, became homeless like those I served. My phenomenal children rose above and beyond the call of duty and took me in.

I continue helping others through email mentoring, juxtaposed with whatever I can do “in the moment” as divinely guided.

I thrive on writing, music, dancing, new learning, and social gatherings vital to well-being.

I meditate through prayer, looking to find acceptance, transcending daily needs with intermittent four mile prayer walks to church and a park oasis. I begin my day with bended knee thanking God for renaissance life and opportunity to continue serving.

I am so, so grateful; so, so blessed.

Mary Guzzetta is a fan of Third Way and subscribes to some of our regular features. We welcome stories from readers to use as our Current Peacemaker story anytime. Please send to ‘);