Welcome to My Story

I’m a survivor of two violent crimes. Most recently I was robbed, shot in the chest and miraculously survived. You can read all about what happened, my journey of recovery as well as the trial in the archives of this blog.

For speaking engagements visit my website –  Rosario Rodriguez

or contact me at: info@RosarioRodriguez.org

God is Sovereign!

~Rosario Rodriguez

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Speaking to Prisoners

Happy Advent friends!

I was invited to speak in November at a California State Prison at an event hosted by the program Victim & Offender – HOPE: Helping Others’ Pain through Empathy. It was my first time speaking to prisoners. I was pretty nervous, but I knew that many friends and family were praying for me and that brought me the peace and strength I needed. It turned out to be an incredibly powerful experience.

The day before I was to speak at the prison, I met with my friend Brian, who had been a guard at the prison for many years before retiring shortly after the event. He shared with me the reality of prison life and the types of brutal and heinous crimes that many of these men committed (without sharing specific details, of course!). He also told me that many of the prisoners were repeat offenders who will spend the rest of their lives in prison.

On the day of the event, I was accompanied to the prison by Brian and my boyfriend, Sebastian, which helped me feel very protected and safe. Brian introduced me before I spoke to the over 300 prisoners who were in attendance. It was the most humbling and moving introduction I’ve ever heard. I was practically in tears as I walked up to the microphone. Thankfully, I was able to pull myself together. I even made a comment about not being a fan of podiums, much like the other speaker Dionne who spoke before me, whose husband was a police officer killed in the line of duty. Anyway, my comment had all the guys laughing which was a good start.

I went on to describe the pain, physical and emotional, that I have suffered from being victimized twice, as well as the impact both incidences had on my daily life and the lives of my family and friends. I told them how both times my survival was miraculous. I saw many heads nodding excitedly when I said that I was only alive because of divine intervention.

I also spoke to them about the message of forgiveness I shared in court with the woman who shot me. I extended forgiveness to them, telling them that it came from me as a victim and from God. As I was saying this, I saw many men with tears in their eyes. I also saw pain and brokenness through the men’s body language. I told them that I believe each one of them can experience healing with God’s love, mercy, and grace, which would lead to peace and joy.

When I was finished speaking, every single one of the prisoners jumped to their feet clapping with great enthusiasm. Several of them were even wiping tears! I saw vulnerability and hope in the men standing before me, which brought me so much joy! It was the longest standing ovation I’ve ever received. I was surprised and humbled by it. After they sat down, the MC took over. He encouraged them to thank me once again, and I received yet another standing ovation from all 300 prisoners.

There were a few others from different outreach programs who spoke after me. And when the event ended, Dionne and I received two more standing ovations from the prisoners. I was (and still am) incredibly humbled by their reaction to my story and my offer of forgiveness and healing.

After the event, we took a picture with the men who are in the victim awareness program. As everyone was getting situated for the photo, one of the men thanked me for giving them their humanity and dignity back. His words moved me to tears. It was a beautiful moment, and I was able to see how far I’ve come with my own healing to be able to stand in front of them and offer the gift of forgiveness and hope.

It’s important for me not to get caught up in the power and romance, so to speak, of the night and forget that there are very good reasons why these men are in prison. But I also realize, as a victim, that it is also important to remember that no matter how grave their crimes they too are men who are hurting deeply who need healing and salvation. This doesn’t excuse their crimes; they should still suffer the consequences of their actions by being in prison, but it was powerful and healing for me to realize that Christ loves them, that He would die for them.

I am honored that God chose to use me in the lives of these men. I have already been asked to return and speak to more men at this prison.

Please let me know if you would be interested in praying for me when I return to the prison (or join my intercessors group, Mantle of Roses, that prays for me every time I speak) because I know that I cannot do this without the power of prayer! I also ask that you join me in continuing to pray for these men that they may experience Christ’s love, mercy and healing.

With the prisoners, the other speaker Dionne (she's standing next to me), Brian (on the left) and those who help run the program and other programs at the prison.

With the prisoners, the other speaker Dionne (she’s standing next to me on my left), Brian (is on the far left) and those who help run the program and other programs at the prison.

The certificate that the prisoners made and presented to me after I spoke.

The certificate that the prisoners made and presented to me after I spoke.

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My 4 Liters Water Challenge

Last week I did the 4 Liters water challenge where I used 4 Liters of water within a 24 hour period for three days for everything! Drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing, etc… It was a busy week so sadly I haven’t posted about my experience until now. Here’s how I managed to use only 4 Liters of water through photos: Measured out liter by liter

4L - meausring cup

I used  hand sanitizer to keep clean even when I was out and about

4L - sink

I dampened a cloth and used that to clean my dishes

4L - Wiping Clean

All clean! (Perhaps a little hard to tell because of the darkness but I promise it was clean.)

4L- Wiped all clean

Since I was out and about and speaking I wore makeup. How does one take off eye makeup with little to no use of water? I used what I normally use… coconut oil! I applied it on top of the makeup all over my eye, rubbing off the eyeliner and mascara and then used a tissue and wiped it all off. I’ll try to post photos of this later!

The morning after day 2… my greasy hair! ;)

4L- greasy hair

4L- Greasy Hairs

Once again this was a powerful experience and reminder of those who suffer from water poverty and how spoiled most of us are to turn on every facet in the house and have a stream of water at our disposal at any time of day for all the amount we desire!

It’s not too late to donate and bring clean water to those who don’t have any! Please donate here at my 4 Liter water challenge profile!  

I also encourage you to take the 4 Liter water challenge and experience it for yourself!  4 Liter Challenge  For more information go to Dig Deep

Here’s a great article by Dig Deep’s founder George McGraw “When Water Poverty Hits Home”

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The 2nd Annual 4 Liter Water Challenge is Here!

Tomorrow (Thursday, Oct 9th) I begin the 2nd annual 4 liter water challenge! I’m going to use only 4 liters of water for one day for everything! Cooking, cleaning, bathing, drinking, etc… Around the world many people live in water poverty and live on only 4 liters of water a day. And many times that water isn’t even clean! Please help me bring awareness to water poverty and HELP bring clean water to those who don’t have it around the world and even here in the United States! You can help by donating to my challenge at my profile and/or join the challenge yourself!

Keep track of my 4 liter water challenge

4L_A Mile in their shoes

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Podcast Interview with This Feels One Sided

Have you ever wondered how my parents met or why I’m an Ohio State University fan despite growing up in Michigan? If so you hear all about that and details about my recovery that I’ve never shared before on this podcast interview with ‘This Feels One Sided”!  Despite some technical difficulties I had a blast being interviewed by Matt and Casey. It was great to share more details about myself, my family, and my story than I normally have time for and the guys are a lot of fun!  Check it out here at This Feels One Sided, I’m episode #40! I hope you enjoy listening to it!!!!

 

thisfeelsonesided

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Today is the Anniversary of my Baptism!

Baptism fontI’m incredibly grateful for my parent’s who chose to give me the gift of salvation! And for sharing the Catholic faith with me through teaching and by their example of living it out everyday.

Like most years I celebrated this year by going  to Mass today and renewing my baptismal promises. If you’ve never done it, I highly recommend it! I usually like to find a priest or deacon friend to lead me through it but I didn’t have any on hand this year so I renewed it on my own.

Renewing Your Baptismal Vows:

V. Do you reject Satan?
R. I do.

V. And all his works?
R. I do.

V. And all his empty promises?
R. I do.

V. Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth?
R. I do.

V. Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?
R. I do.

V. Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?
R. I do.

V. God, the all-powerful Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and forgiven all our sins. May he also keep us faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ for ever and ever.

R. Amen.

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Raise to Shave! A fundraiser for FSU Newman Center

My brother Fr. Charles is sporting a beard these days that in my sisterly opinion is OUT. OF. CONTROL! Fortunately he has Padre's Crazy Beard agreed to shave it off if the Newman Center at Ferris State University in Big Rapids MI where he is assigned, can raise $3,000 by THIS Saturday, March 1st!

The Newman Center is raising money for a mission trip to work in inner-city Memphis, several retreats throughout this year, and continued outreach on the campus of Ferris State University.

Not only is this a great opportunity to support Catholic college students grow in their faith and live out the works of mercy but we can shave this crazy beard off the Padre! ;)

Go here to ‘Quick Give’ on the bottom right of the website to DONATE

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Forgiveness, A Gesture Of Love

February is a month when many of us focus on talking about and celebrating love! I always enjoy celebrating St. Valentine’s Day. I get caught up in the celebration of love even though for many years I didn’t have a significant other to celebrate with. Most years I take time to celebrate with other family members or friends who I love the most in my life, like my 93 year old Grandfather. He’s one of my favorite Valentine’s! My other favorite is my autistic sister. I would be in big trouble if I didn’t mention her.

For almost five years before we moved out of Michigan, my sisters and I would spend the weekend closest to Valentine’s Day with our Grandfather. We brought him gifts, cards and nice bottles of wine and he would give us flowers and candy and cook delicious meals for us. It was a beautiful way for us to celebrate love, the gift of life, family, and our relationships.

I think it is very important to celebrate and show gestures of love in big ways on special holidays but I believe it’s even more important to show gestures of love on a daily basis. There are many different ways to express our love to those around us, but one of the most powerful gestures of love is forgiveness.

We have so many opportunities to forgive the people we love the most every day! Forgiving those who leave behind dirty dishes, those with short tempers, undone work, misunderstandings, lights left on, missed deadlines, sticky counters, miscommunication, messy work stations, mean words, gossip, etc., … the list goes on and on. Whether it’s a spouse, significant other, best friend, sibling, child, roommate, teammate or co-worker, we are constantly called to forgive each other for the big and the little things that hurt us and annoy us. Forgiveness doesn’t undo what happened, but it does change our hearts so we can receive the grace and peace to love, unconditionally.

I’m not a natural forgiver, but then, who is? So when I’ve been hurt or annoyed, I pray and ask God to give me the grace to forgive, because I need all the help I can get! Then I’ll say out loud, in a whisper, or as a prayer in my mind, depending on the situation, “I forgive ________ for ________”, and I ask God to bless them. Sometimes I need to do it once and I can move on. Other times, depending on the severity of the action needing forgiveness or my unwillingness to let go, I have to forgive over and over again. But as Christ told us in Matthew 18:22, we’re called to forgive – seventy times seven!

I also find that it can be harder to forgive those who are closest to us. When they hurt us it hurts more because they, of all people, should be the ones to love us most. The problem is that we expect them to love us perfectly – and they can’t. If we can accept that we aren’t perfect and that we can’t love perfectly, why would we expect others to love us perfectly? Only one person can love perfectly and that is Christ Jesus.

This month, as we celebrate the love’s of our lives, let’s show gestures of love in small ways and in big ways and strive to always forgive each other.

My sister and I with our Grandpa

My sister and I with our Grandpa

Copyright © 2014 Rosario Rodriguez. All rights reserved.

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