Written by Sherry
Friday, 07 August 2009 08:52
Two years ago, I wrote 7 posts chronicling the illness and death of Gloria Strauss, a radiant 11 year old Catholic in the Seattle area and her family. Gloria's life was covered intensively by the Seattle Times and transfixed the city and many thousands of people around the world. But her death was not the end of the story.
Last week, Catholic Online did a wonderful follow-up piece on what has happened in the time since Gloria's death in September of 2007.
"Immediately following Gloria’s death, the family realized the large impact that Gloria had on the community.
Doug explained that people came all over to view her body before and after the Rosary. He added that he received a letter from a Lutheran man who attends Eucharistic adoration at a Catholic church who said that he had to go so that he could “see a saint in person.”
Then at the funeral, over 3,200 showed up and the family began to hear stories of how’ Gloria’s life and struggle had transformed lives.
One man from Virginia had read about Gloria and explained that he felt like he was “hit over the head by a 2 x 4.” The man had been on a four-day drinking binge and he completely gave up alcohol after reading the story on her illness and strength of faith.
Not only do the Strausses have a list of others who have quit different drug addictions because of Gloria, but they are aware of at least ten people who have become Catholic directly due to Gloria’s story – and more are continuing to convert. One in particular was a nurse at the Children’s hospital who didn’t grow up going to church. After seeing little Gloria’s faith, she knew she had to do something about it.
According to the Catholic Northwest Progress, one Presbyterian family became Catholic after Gloria attended a camp for ill children and their families. One of the volunteers, Brinn Funai continued to keep in touch with Kristen Strauss, Gloria’s mother, after the week’s activities.
Brinn explained that she had been checking into Catholicism, but meeting Kristen and the Strausses “was a big turning point for me.” They “really helped kin of soften that road so to speak, to coming into the church.”
“I told her right before she died, ‘Gloria, we’re going to become Catholic,’” said Brinn. “And she said, ‘Wow!’” The Funais were received into Catholic Church at Easter 2008.
Not only did the girl’s life, touch individuals, but she also inspired the organization, “Gloria’s Angels.”
Gloria's Angels walks with families from end to end when families are faced with a life-threatening illness. Our organization maintains a network of community-based volunteers, in-kind service providers and relationships with other service agencies (e.g., hospitals, DSHS, etc.). We do not intend to replace services already provided by other agencies. However, we do intend to serve as the "Guardian Angel" that can help families navigate the confusing maze of services available. Where gaps exist, we will provide offerings to fill those gaps.
"It is like when you throw a stone into a pool, and the concentric waves spread further and further. Who knows where it will end? Redeemed humanity is still young, it has hardly come to its full strength. But already there is joy enough in the little finger of a great saint such as yonder lady to waken all the dead things of the universe into life."
The Great Divorce, C. S. Lewis.