Monday, April 4, 2011

My Divine Providence Story

Almost two weeks ago I entered a writing contest at where I was to tell of some profound experience in my life where divine providence played a role in my life.  It is such awesomeness that I won third in the writing contest.  Hope you enjoy my true story. 

When writing a personal story about Divine Providence, one shoud make sure not to omit the information that would answer certain simple, straightforward questions in the mind of the reader, such as the following: What did God do for you? Why did you need that? How bad off were you before God intervened? What would have happened if He had not stepped in? What good came of what God did?
For me, the answers to those questions are ultimately as simple as the questions themselves. God saved my life and my soul, literally. When our Lord acted to save me, I was at the lowest point in my life and seriously considering suicide. If God had not stepped in, I would have lost both my life and my salvation.
As I said above, at the lowest point in my life a ticket came into my hands by what some would call chance but what I know was divine providence. The ticket was to attend a Catholic Conference celebrating the Millennium. It was well after the cut off date so I couldn’t have gotten it on my own efforts. I know in my heart that God was calling me to that conference.
I am a cradle Catholic. Having been raised in the faith I had knowledge of it, but that knowledge was superficial, just memorized facts. I believed what I was told because that was how I was raised but I had no understanding of the fullness of the Catholic faith in my heart. In my late teens I started attending a Catholic university which was faithful to the Magisterium. It was at this place that I began to experience and know the fullness of the Catholic faith.
Due to health issues I had to live off campus and attend the university part-time. Over the next couple of years I began to feel lonely. I wasn’t able to see my friends nearly as much as I was previously able to, and I felt detached from my friends who were living on campus. I ended up renting a room from a lady professor, which led to my becoming acquainted with her handyman. My main focus at this time was my studies but I have to admit it was a nice feeling knowing a man was paying attention to me. After conversing with this guy for a couple of months he asked me out to lunch. We went out and I enjoyed myself. Then one afternoon He asked me to hang out with him and some of his friends at night. At the time I didn’t see any harm in going out with him.
I went out that night and let’s just say that events didn’t go as planned. Unfortunately, some of the options I was given to choose from that night were not good ones. I was so scared and I didn’t know how to get out of the situation I was in. Because of my being scared I made some bad choices in trying to avert something worse from happening to me. By the end of the night, the handyman I went out with sexually assaulted me. At the first available time I told the professor that her handyman had sexually assaulted me. Well, one would think one would respond with understanding but what came out of the professor’s mouth next shocked me. She said “I thought he didn’t have the greatest outside life but I didn’t warn you because I didn’t want to be your mother.” After having heard her response I was both shocked and upset.
At the college I started seeing a counselor to help me deal with the fact that I was sexually assaulted. At the beginning she seemed like a good counselor. I had a very frustrating experience with the police department being less than helpful to say the least. Unfortumately, I didn’t know my perpetrators last name. In addition, the police refused to ask the professor for his last name. As the semester continued tensions mounted. A couple months later this professor forced me to leave her residence. This happened right before my last exam was to take place. This caused me great stress but thankfully I found a couple of friends who were willing to put me up for a couple of nights.
During the next semester I continued with counseling. I finally heard from the police in mid-march. I picked out my assaulter’s picture out of a photo lineup. Fast forward a bit…. During the summer I the police informed me that the guy who assaulted me moved to the state where I attended college. This wasn’t good news. I was scared. After I returned to college I continued with counseling.
The previous year I had filed a complaint against the professor for her awful treatment of me after she found out that I had been sexually assaulted and for being unwilling to give up my perpetrator’s last name. During the previous year my counselor asked me to write a feelings letter and to write a journal of my feelings over a short period of time, so I did. When a person is violated, having that person write a feelings letter or journal is a therapeutic tool to help that person vent their feelings about the incident.
During the summer our previous president had retired from his post. At the beginning of the fall semester our new president was introduced to the students. I felt the need for justice to be done, to get this criminal off the streets before any other girl or woman was hurt. It had been almost a year since my sexual assault had occurred but I had hit some road blocks along the way, with regards to both the police and the university. One day I happened to see the new President, a priest, walking around campus and I asked whether I could talk with him. He said Yes. I informed him about both my situation and the complaint I had made against the professor. I asked him to look into this and he agreed to check it out. I made it clear to him that I didn’t want my complaint to be swept under the rug. Over the following week a series of events unfolded that was unexpected to say the least. Before I knew it the staff at the university had falsely accused me of the unthinkable, and had decided to suspend me for something I didn’t do. They used my feelings letter against me and accused me of threatening this professor. I didn’t do this. I never thought of doing anything of the sort. All I ever really wanted was for this man who assaulted me to be taken to court in order to prevent him from harming anyone else. I didn’t want any other woman to have to experience the horror that I experienced. In addition, I thought that the university should at least talk to the professor since she had treated me so badly.
I had formed a number of friendships at this university. This university helped me to experience the fullness of my faith. I loved and enjoyed attending this college. Its beliefs were in line with my beliefs. After I was suspended I felt like my heart was ripped right out of me. I began to ask, why did this happen to me? How could God let this happen to me? How could this university which I loved and adored treat me so horribly? I became severely depressed. I thought this college would handle my problem the correct way but they didn’t. The staff at the college stabbed me in the back, scapegoated me. It was the year 2000, and our diocese was getting ready to celebrate the mellennium with a huge conference located about a half hour drive away. But, unfortunately there weren’t any tickets left. I knew in my heart of hearts that I was meant to attend this conference. I was friends with my parish youth minister at the time so I talked with her about getting a ticket to the conference. She said that she would keep her eyes open for a ticket. Then a couple days later she gave me a call, and told me that her father became ill so I could have his ticket. This was divine providence. Now I was able to go to the conference. The millenium celebration conference took place a week after I was suspended. But, during that week I became very depressed. I was in so much pain that I thought life wasn’t worth living. I was seriously contemplating committing suicide.
I attended the Sunrise 2000 Conference. I was able to see some friends of mine from the diocese who I hadn’t seen in a long while. Seeing them was good. I really enjoyed the praise and worship in the different workshops. There was also some people from my parish who gave me support and cared so much for me during this conference it was so touching. While at the conference I felt this very strange awesome, soothing feeling come upon me. The presence of the Holy Spirit calmed me, soothed me and gave me this feeling that I was loved. God showed that he loved me. I do believe that it was divine providence that I was given a ticket when there was none left, and that it was divine providence that I attended the conference. I knew I was exactly where God wanted me.

crossposted at AlwaysCatholic   


Opus #6 said...

Oh, Teresa. I am SO sorry justice was not done. I wish I was there with you right now and I could give you a hug.

It is amazing how shameful people can act. I don't doubt you for a minute. God loves you, as sure and we are sitting here.

The Conservative Lady said...

I am so sorry to hear that you had to go through such an awful experience. The circumstances were terrible, but thankfully with God's help you have come through. You are a strong person for being able to share this story and it may help someone else who feels alone and afraid.

Teresa said...


Thanks so much for your kind words and the long distance hug. I wish people would just do the right thing and stop acting shameful.


Thanks so much for your kind words. I hope sharing my experience might be able to help someone else who has gone through a similar situation. God is the great healer.

Actually that is a condensed version and about half of the story but I wanted to keep it short for the essay contest. I've been working on turning my story into a booklet to publish to help others.

Pedaling said...

You are brave to share this inspiring experience.
i believe in divine intervention.
I know that you were indeed being looked after.
It is interesting how these kinds of experiences either increase our faith, making us stronger, or they crush it. I guess it depends on what we truly know. What we know in our heart.

Teresa said...


You are spot on about these types of experiences either making us stronger or crushing us. I had struggled on and off due to this tough situation. But, now my faith is stronger than it ever was before.