Category Archives: Forgiveness

6 years of carrying a bullet in my shoulder

This past Monday, June 29th, marked the sixth year anniversary of when I was shot. Past years I’ve gathered with family and friends to celebrate and thank God for the incredible miracles He performed that night. Some years I have a dinner or a party and I usually go Mass.

It’s amazing to think back to that night and the days following and see how far I’ve come thanks to the Grace of God and the many, many prayers from friends, family, and even strangers all over the world!

Words cannot even begin to describe how grateful I am to all those who’ve prayed for me, supported me, and have been by my side throughout these past six years as I stumbled my way to recovery. I’ve made mistakes and at times haven’t been the easiest patient. Through all of it, I’ve learned what true friendship looks like and am thankful to those who stuck by me and loved me during the darkest moments of my recovery.

The day I was released from the hospital

The day I was released from the hospital

Six years later I still have some incision pain from the surgery and little issues with swallowing every once in awhile. My energy level still isn’t what it used to be and I’m still pretty jumpy. But I’m incredibly grateful that for the most part I’m fully recovered. I’m also grateful for all the opportunities to share my story and reach out to others who are hurting more than I could possibly imagine.

For the past two years I’ve been speaking to gangsters with the LAPD at Operation Cease Fire and last year I addressed 300 prisoners. If you would have told me that I would be speaking to those who’ve hurt people the way I’ve been victimized I would have thought you were crazy! Yet, with the grace of God and many friends and family praying for me and for them I’ve been able to reach out to them. While I stand in front of them as a victim, I strive to share with them a message of healing and forgiveness.

 

I’m still on my journey of healing and living a life of love and forgiveness and I do that carrying a bullet in my right shoulder. My prayer is that what was meant for death can be used for life!

 

“The God of all grace who called you to His eternal glory through Christ Jesus will himself restore , confirm, strengthen , and establish you after you have suffered a little.” 1Peter 5:10

“Cast all your worries upon Him because He cares for you.” 1Peter 5:7

Speaking to prisoners of a high max security prison.

Speaking to prisoners at a high max security prison.

Leave a comment

Filed under Forgiveness, Recovery, Reflections, Update

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Forgiveness, Speaking, Update

My Radio Interview on Daybreak with TJ and Rachel

Here’s a link to the live radio interview I did with TJ and Rachel on Daybreak Morning Show for Spirit Catholic Radio Network back in July. We discuss Forgiveness, the Power of Prayer, and the Healing power of the Sacraments!

(Scroll down the page to 07 – 11- 12 Rosario Rodriguez for the interview.)

Daybreak interview with TJ & Rachel

Leave a comment

Filed under Catholicism, Forgiveness, Prayer, Recovery, Reflections

Christopher Closeup Podcast

My lastest and most in-depth interview to date is now online: Christopher Closeup Podcast with Tony Rossi.  Listen to the two full podcasts in which I share about surviving two attacks by violent criminals and how I’ve learned to forgive my assailants.  The first podcast contains details about the second attack (what went on in the ER, my spiritual journey through recovery, etc.) that haven’t been shared before.  In the second podcast, I talk about my family, faith and missionary work.

1 Comment

Filed under Catholicism, Family, Forgiveness, Recovery, Reflections, Trial

Interview on Catholic Answers Live

Tune in Monday, August 15th to “Catholic Answers Live” with Patrick Coffin to hear my short, 15 minute, interview where I share the story of surviving a robbery & shooting and talk about forgiveness!

*Disclaimer – Patrick mentions I was robbed in broad daylight, which is actually incorrect. The robbery took place at night. Just a little mix up!

Leave a comment

Filed under Catholicism, Forgiveness, Reflections

When Forgiveness is Hard

Here’s an interview I did with Pat Gohn for the “Among Women” Podcast. In this interview I share about my story of Forgiveness as well as details from surviving a robbery &  shooting!

When Forgiveness is Hard

1 Comment

Filed under Catholicism, Forgiveness, Recovery, Reflections, St. Philomena