Special Issue - Prayer

Prayer for the grieving heart

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Up at the crack of dawn (or before), Mary Pickering gets down to business — the business of prayer.

Setting her alarm a half-hour early for prayer is something she started five years ago after her husband died.

“It made me feel really at peace,” said Pickering, a member of St. Patrick Parish. “I thought this was a good idea, so I decided to do it every morning.”

Over the years she’s collected a stack of holy cards. Usually, there’s a prayer on the back, so she works her way through that, followed by the Divine Mercy chaplet.

“I pray for each one of my grandchildren individually,” she said.

In the daytime, while doing laundry at Arrowhead Middle School in Kansas City, Kansas, she finds odd bits of time to sneak in a prayer. She also works in the school cafeteria’s bread department and prays there, too.

When she gets home in the evening, she prays a rosary and says her night prayers.

“Praying was part of my grieving process,” said Pickering. “After a while, I said to myself, ‘Mary, this is a really good idea,’ so I prayed to Jesus to help me get through it. It makes me feel so much better, and I feel so much closer to God.

“It gives you a peace that you can’t explain,” she added.

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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