Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

April 27, 2009

The Goodness of God and His Mother

As many of you may know or have by now guessed, I am a graduate student. Every day for the past four years, I've been going to the same coffee shop. Outside that coffee shop every morning is this old man, pretty short, who sells prints of his drawings for $10 each. Now, he's a grumbling old man, usually spouting curse words under his breath and grumbling at the passers-by who don't stop to purchase one of his drawings (which, I might add are quite good - he does portraits.)

Now, being one who does not often carry much cash, I have not stopped to buy a picture, but instead every time I see that man, I prayed a 'Hail Mary' for him. He's not a religious person, and from what I had heard about him (there are always stories about neighborhood characters - and this coffee shop has plenty of them!), he was particularly hostile to Mary, so I prayed all the more. Well, last week I just happened to have exactly the price for a drawing. I saw him walking away from the coffee shop and went running after him. "Excuse me, sir! Are you selling your pictures today?" His face softened immediately as he took out his drawings. He lovingly showed me his portrait of Einstein and the Mona Lisa, both of which were quite good.

Then he said, "I have a Madonna and Child. I have a Madonna and the Child Jesus." As soon as those words left his lips and before I even saw the picture I replied, "That's it, I must have that one." He seemed a little surprised that I was so conclusive but I was so happy with it. And he dates each print when he draws it -- Virgin and Child had been done just this year. The painting is an answer to my prayers for this man -- four years of prayer. God really does place things in our hearts for a reason, and even though I don't entirely know this man's situation, I have been moved to pray for him.

Now, we say hello and chat each morning. Of course, he wants me to continue buying portraits, which I plan to do little by little. But today, I bought him some coffee and as I was leaving he said, "Someday, I'd like to draw you. Would you model for me?" I smiled - "Of course, I would love that." And I do.


Julian said...

THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL! I'm tearing up!

louis said...

Hi Edith, I sure would love to have one of those Madonna and Child drawings to frame. I might also want one of his portraits of you as well. (And this is ok since Edith and I are related!! Otherwise that last statement would seem somewhat odd at best!) Anyway, this was an awesome story. God bless you.

Agatha Magdalene said...


I want to see it.

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