John was somewhere between 50 and 60 when I met him. It was hard to tell, because he was a recovering alcoholic, and the boozing had ravaged his body. He had come back to Catholicism after many years .
John grew up a working-class Irish kid in one of NYC’s boroughs.
John was ruined, morally, spiritually and psychologically by abuse during his childhood.
An interesting thing happened to John not long before I left New York and lost touch with him. He’d heard that Father Zlatko Sudac, a Croatian priest was coming to town, a young man with a reputation as a mystic and a stigmatist. John went to see him on his last night leading a prayer service at a Catholic parish in the city. John hung at the very back and stayed quiet, observing. Toward the end, there was a long line of parishioners who wanted to receive Father Sudac’s blessing. John decided that he should too. As I recall his story, he was one of the last in line. He hadn’t talked to anybody there, and to his knowledge, no one at that parish knew him.
As he knelt and received the priest’s blessing, Father Sudac, who spoke no English, whispered something to his interpreter. The interpreter leaned over and whispered to John, “Father says to tell you that the Virgin says she was with you every time you were abused and suffered along with you. You were not alone.”
Fr. Zlatco Sudac
When John told me that story, he started crying. He didn’t cry because he thought, “If you were there, why didn’t you stop it?” He cried because he was now convinced that he had not suffered alone. God, and the Virgin Mary, had seen what happened. That was enough for John. He had begun to heal.
An interview with Fr. Zlatko Sudac–>Here