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  • Writer's pictureSusie Dunning

The Holy Spirit and Saint Patrick

When the Holy Spirit Calls

This marks year two of Saint Patrick’s Day without my mom. She delighted in this holiday and she was proud of her Irish heritage. She would tell story after story about her Irish immigrant grandparents. When we were growing up she made sure we all wore green. She would make corsages and boutonnieres out of green carnations and green ribbon. We sang Irish songs into the night. It was sensational!

Five years ago, after spending a couple of Saint Patrick’s Days in Arizona, I decided to fly to Grand Rapids for the festive holiday. I would go to the parade with my mom, my daughter and son-in-law, siblings and extended family. This would bless her and curb my own homesickness. #familymatters

My mother loved a parade!

What Does Saint Patrick’s Day Have to do with the Holy Spirit?

My brother Jim and his wife Jan live in Limerick, Ireland. I emailed him in January and said, “I really want to go back to Michigan for St. Patrick’s Day this year.”

“Maybe Jan and I will too,” he replied.

His daughter Amy and her family live in Limerick as well. She emailed, “Aunt Susie, we’re going to Grand Rapids for St. Patrick’s Day too!”

My mom wasn’t in terrible health, but we knew we wouldn’t have this time forever. This was unusual for all of us to make this trip in March. In the sixteen years Jim and Jan had lived in Ireland, they had never come back just for St. Patrick’s Day. I was in Grand Rapids at Christmas time, but I needed to go.

God Orchestrated a Reunion

We all gathered downtown, my siblings, Mom, children and extended family. We went to the parade and then to our cousin’s bar. It was a party! I know my mom enjoyed it, but none of us knew then, why God made it work so easily for all of our schedules.


Sunday, April 12, 2013 my phone rang in Kingman, Arizona. “Suz, Mary is missing,” Micki said. Mary is two years older than me, Micki two years younger, we were sisters, we were the “three little girls.”

Early that morning, she and her husband were arguing in the car and she demanded he let her out to walk home. He did. She never made it. Tuesday, April 14, 2013 Mary’s body was found in the Grand River. She slipped and fell into the cold water and drowned.

Then God

I can’t explain the pain. Telling this story five years later almost paralyzes me. Today, and so many other days I thank God for St. Patrick’s Day 2013. It started with a “hey let’s go celebrate with Mom!” But turned into a gift from God. He allowed us to be together one last time to cherish one another. Just for fun. Because He truly cares that much.

I miss my sister, I miss my mom. But, I’m thankful for our loving God. March is a time when life is renewed.The daffodils and crocuses are poking their buds above the ground. We memorialize Saint Patrick introducing Christ to the Island of Ireland. #celebrateeverything #imissher

So don’t worry. For your Father cares deeply about even the smallest detail of your life. ~ Matthew 10:31 TPT
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