A Penny Found, A Prayer Answered

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freeimages.com / Penny Mathews

A penny is a penny, right? Not if you’re a penny pray-er or a penny finder!

For many people, finding a penny means saying a prayer. They turn the words “In God We Trust” on the coin into a personal plea for divine help. Other people who say a prayer and then find a penny believe the found penny is more than “coin-cidence.” It’s a sign from above that all will be well.

It was no “coin-cidence” that Edward, a professional sports photographer in Kansas, found a penny before a big photo shoot. Here’s his story:

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A Gift of Peace

(Photo by Marion Amberg)

It’s a traditional Nativity scene. Christ Child. Angels. Wise men. Shepherds and sheep. What isn’t so traditional is who made it: German POWs incarcerated at Algona, Iowa.

The story begins in 1944 when Sergeant Eduard Kaib was captured in France and shipped to Camp Algona, a base camp in north-central Iowa that housed 3,200 German POWs and oversaw 34 branch camps in Minnesota, Iowa, and the Dakotas.

Suffering from war injuries, Kaib was also mired in depression. He missed deeply his homeland, family, and German Catholic religious traditions. One day, the radio operator had a divine idea.

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Evenings with Bishop Hank

“Dominus vobiscum!” I called as the white-haired gentleman opened the front door.

“Et cum spiritu tuo!” answered Bishop Hank, his dark brown eyes laughing.

Reciting this ancient Latin greeting was a ritual with us. Thankfully, we never prayed the Kyrie asking for God’s mercy. I felt guilty enough about telling the good bishop fibs.

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freeimages.com / James Goneaux

Bishop Hank had dementia, and maybe I did, too. Sometimes I’d forget he wasn’t a real bishop. For three years, I had been staying with Hank in the evenings while his daughter was at work. Like many caregiver situations, this one began with a scare. One wintry night Hank was found wandering the streets looking for his deceased wife, Betty. For his safety, he could no longer be left alone.

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