Monsignor Habig, Rhoda Wise spiritual director
The following story was the begining of the relationship Monsignor Habig had as spiritual advisor to Rhoda Wise.
How it began - In December of 1936, Rhoda Wise accidentally stepped into a sewer drain, which severely damaged her right leg, causing an infection and turning her foot inward. Thus began a long series of hospital visits, necessitating many leg casts in an effort to repair the damaged leg. Additionally, it was discovered that the earlier incision in her abdomen had reopened, causing a severe infection surrounding the incision.
While in the hospital her sufferings grew worse by the day, but the nursing sisters at Mercy Hospital were a great consolation for her in the midst of it. She spent so much time at the hospital that she knew most of them by name. Dressed in their long white habits and veils, the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine looked like angels of mercy to her. She became especially close to one named Sister Clement. Sister Clement was greatly devoted to Saint Therese of Lisieux, and she gave Rhoda a little shrine to St. Therese, “the Little Flower”, enclosed in a glass ball, and she told Rhoda a little about her.
"O beautiful Rose of Carmel, Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus, deign according to your promise to descend from Heaven to visit those who implore you. Pour down upon us in profusion those Celestial Graces that are symbolized by the shower of roses that Jesus, your Spouse, had put at your disposal. Your power is great with his Heart. He can only listen and hear your prayer. I have recourse to you then, O Saint Therese of the Child Jesus; assist me in this need. Speak for me to Jesus and to Mary and obtain for me the grace to live a holy life and die a happy death. Amen"
And now, Rhoda’s thoughts were centered on becoming Catholic. The Protestant patients in her ward tried to discourage her from continuing the Catholic practices that were absorbing her time and attention. Some of them even sent their ministers over to dissuade her. But her heart and will were steadfast.
Sister Clement told Rhoda that she needed to talk to a priest to become a Catholic, and she immediately knew which one she wanted to talk to, although she did not know his name. She had seen him visiting other patients in her ward. When she described him, they told her he was Monsignor Habig of St. Peter's Church.
Learn more about these events [here] and at [RhodaWise.com], Read a biography on Rhoda Wise [here]. To visit Rhoda Wise's home or [obtain] copies of The Rhoda Wise Story call 330-453-0322 or write 2337 25th St. NE Canton, Ohio 44705. Visit the Rhoda Wise Home Religious Center [Facebook].