On Nov. 12, 2018, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Diana Richardson received an ultrasound picture from her son Chad’s wife, Lindsay, that asked, “Prayers for baby. We have to go back for another ultrasound in four weeks. Baby has cysts on its brain, which may mean Trisomy 18, and feet were turned, which would mean casts on legs immediately after delivery, along with a problem with the umbilical cord — it’s not inserted into the placenta. It’s just hanging by a string. I’m a little overwhelmed, so love and prayers for us and baby ‘G’ please.”
“This news couldn’t have been more heart-wrenching,” Richardson recalled to the Register. She understood Trisomy 18 is a chromosomal abnormality affecting the organs, and only about 10% of children born with it live to their first birthday.
She quickly reached out “to a dear priest friend of mine, Father Carlos Martins, and asked what saint we could pray to for intercession,” she remembered. He recommended St. Gerard Majella, patron saint of expectant mothers, whose feast day is Oct. 16.
“As Diana was communicating to me over the phone the medical afflictions of her grandson, a vivid image of St. Gerard Majella filled my mind. It was clear, bold and persistent,” Father Martins, of the Companions of the Cross and the director of Treasures of the Church, recalled to the Register. “I felt he was saying, ‘I will take care of this. Send me to that baby.’ I said, ‘Diana, I know someone who will help your grandson.’”
Richardson found a prayer to St. Gerard, modified it to include Lindsay’s name as part of the intention, and then printed several copies to hand out: “We needed an army praying for this little baby.”
Read more at National Catholic Register