Tag 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.

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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 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

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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!

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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

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

Normal…?? – A Carepage Post

Posted Aug 10, 2009 7:21pm

Hi Everyone… it’s Danny..

Sorry i haven’t posted in a while…

The past week or so has been an amazing journey. As you may have read in a previous post, Rosario had quite a battle with the pain meds and then coming off of them and all the side effects that involves. BUT the decision to get off the pain meds has proven very fruitful… Sunday night/Monday was the peak of the withdrawal symptoms… it was really hard… lot’s of nausea/vomiting/insomnia/mood swings/fear/ and other things… we had felt that after the peak, things would level off in a couple days… it’s difficult to tell because everyone’s reaction is different. But that IS how it worked out… here is the timeline…

(While on the Hydrocodon,e Rose was experiencing the following side effects.. nausea, difficulty urinating, grogginess, constipation, muscle stiffness, loss of appetite, dry mouth. )

Aug. 1st, Saturday-evening… Rose decides to go off the hydrocodone pain meds and switch to straight liquid Tylenol (acetaminophen).

Aug. 2nd Sunday morning. Rose feels pretty good. She has her first normal bowel movement. Wooo Hooo!

Aug. 2nd Sunday Evening… Rose begins to feel the withdrawal effects listed above …heavy mood swings, nausea, vomiting, etc…
she cannot hold any food down. nor can she hold down the tylenol. OH… and not much sleep!

Aug 3rd. Monday.. more nausea, vomiting and the added bonus of diarrhea. Can’t eat much, and doesn’t even attempt to take the tylenol.

Aug. 4th. Tuesday.. More of the same BUT the symptoms seem to be waning. We are taking her temperature several times a day to make sure that she doesn’t have an infection. Her urination is returning to normal!! She is eating a bit more but not much at all. Still no pain meds at all. She is surprised that she is still able to move fairly well…. and even though she is in more pain in some ways, she is in less pain in other ways… strange. She can wash her own hair and needs very little assistance in the shower (Melissa helps with that). She is much more alert today and she likes this! Did well most of the day but got sick Tuesday evening. 😦

Aug 5th. Wednesday… Today is the first day that she doesn’t vomit. After talking to her Dad, who told her not to be afraid to eat… or to throw up… (he said if you throw up you throw up but you have to eat… ) Rose began to eat… and hold it down! She is sleeping better each night, Normal urination, diminished nausea. In fact she is really starting to feel good. And because she is more alert and feeling better, she is getting anxious to get out of my tiny apartment… OK fine… So we went out to dinner (a first) and to a movie (another first) she was out of the house almost four hours!!!! She got emotional about it at dinner… “I’m alive!… and I’m eating at a restaurant!!!” *tears*

Aug. 6th. Thursday… I had to work all day, so Melissa S. and Maggie took Rose to her Doctor appointment and got her back home and showered up. So I call home to make sure everything went well at the appointment and Rose is not home! Where is she ? With Maggie hanging out at the Grove / Farmers Market! She apparently had a taste for crepes and enchiladas! Easy there, speedy!” Also she had a couple of visitors who brought yet more movies over! Still feeling good no vomiting. We all really feel like she’s really over the hump!! Especially since the doctors said that they don’t need to do any more follow ups !!!! Thursday night, Rose and I immediately began planning a trip back to Michigan! We can’t wait to blow this town!

Aug 7th. Friday… another great day ..feeling better and better! We make a trip to the bank and in the evening Tiff and Theresa came over for a girls night… I went out to eat by myself… had a lovely piece of salmon- oh sorry this isn’t about me- I forget.

Aug. 8th Saturday… Rose and I went to her apartment and packed up all her stuff. We had to get it out of there because the apartment is being vacated. In the evening, the school at which Rose used to work, Act One, was having a dinner for the end of the term. They asked Rosario to come by and to bring me along… Well it happened to be at a restaurant which is literally 75 yards from where we are staying. It also happens to be right across the street from the exact spot where the original incident happened. Act One did not know this when they booked the space.. this is a big city and we are no where near Act One… weird? Maybe not.

Now, Rose had not been by the scene of the crime yet. I had been feeling, for some reason, that it was important for Rose to go by there, and I think she did too. I figured the longer she waited the more opportunity there was for fear to grow. It occurred to me, since many of her best prayer warrior friends & supporters from Act One would be right there, that maybe she could go there with the support and prayers of the staff of Act One and myself right there for her. She said that she could do it! We asked Gary, his wife, Vicki & her husband, Melissa & her husband, Terrence, Genevieve and a couple others to walk with us across the street to the scene of the crime with us. They agreed. Rosario was able to stand right on the corner where it happened. We all surrounded her and prayed. Gary started out the prayer and everyone contributed their own verses. We prayed for Rose, for her strength and continued healing, we thanked God for all that He had done for her thus far. We prayed for the person who actually committed the crime and those who were accomplices. Needless to say, it was a very emotional moment for Rosario and all of us as well. Rose felt it was good and felt a lot of peace about confronting the crime scene this way.

Many thanks to all who were there for her both physically and spiritually!!

Sunday was incredibly normal! Which is what Rose craves most these days. We relaxed and went to church in the evening. Then we visited friends at the “after mass”. After that went went out to eat… again! Rose had her first couple of sips of wine! Another first… and I was determined to get her to eat one of her favorite foods.. ice cream. So we got home, put on a movie, “Return to Me”… one of her favorites… and I went out and picked up some ice cream… success… got her with the old Haagen Daaz caramel cone ice cream! She didn’t eat as much as me … she never does… but still she ate some! Pretty normal, Rose!

SO… even though things are getting better… Rosario still needs your prayers!! She will have to face many more battles physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually… so PLEASE keep the prayers coming… they are working so well!

God Bless You all!

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