Special Issue - Prayer

Armchair devotion

by Jill Ragar Esfeld

LENEXA — Holy Trinity parishioners Charlene Meiners and her husband Richard have a deep devotion to St. Anthony.

As well they should.

The patron of finding lost items was instrumental in helping them find each other.

“A few years after my first husband died suddenly at age 62,” said Meiners, “I started asking St. Anthony to help me find another ‘Mr. Right.’

“We met when I walked directly to his table at a Curé of Ars singles dance.”

The couple has been together ever since, sharing a love for prayer.

They attend morning Mass together, saying their morning prayers in the car on the way.

And they share a daily rosary — but not on their knees, like Meiners remembers doing in her youth.

“My husband and I today take it the easy way,” she said. “Now that we’re in our 70s, we sit in our recliners or on the porch swing or on the deck at sunset.”

Meiners’ husband has a talent for building decorative birdhouses — some even with stained-glass windows. And so, the deck is where they share their love of nature as they pray.

“There we can enjoy God’s birds flying in and out of the many unusual birdhouses,” said Meiners.

The couple, in fact, starts every day with their devotion to St. Anthony, along with special prayers to their guardian angels, for the poor souls in purgatory, and to offer up any trials they may face that day.

“You have to deal with all that happens every day,” said Meiners. “So you might as well offer it up with that morning offering every day.

“That way you can get some spiritual benefit from it. That day’s trials are not wasted.”

About the author

Jill Esfeld

Jill Ragar Esfeld received a degree in Writing from Missouri State University and started her profession as a magazine feature writer, but quickly transitioned to technical/instructional writing where she had a successful career spanning more than 20 years. She returned to feature writing when she began freelancing for The Leaven in 2004. Her articles have won several awards from the Catholic Press Association. Jill grew up in Christ the King parish in Kansas City, Missouri; and has been a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa, Kansas, for 35 years.

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