"In 1968 I was stationed at a parish in Gulfport, Mississippi", began Fr. John Izral at a Peace Mass at St. Matthew the Apostle Church in River Ridge, LA.
"One day I received a call from a Baptist woman. 'Father I must see-you', she said. 'I met a nun and I want you to tell me who she is."
Since Fr. Izral knew the nuns of the area, he agreed to come to her house. When he arrived the woman began to tell him about her life. Her husband was a drinker and had physically abused her. If she went to Church he would beat her up.
If he found her reading the Bible, he would tear it up. When he was very drunk he would bring other women home. If his wife complained about his habits, he would beat her. She had a 9 year old son who was following in his father's footsteps. The boy had been in trouble with the law on several occasions.
One day, when her husband came home drunk, the woman could take it no longer. When he went into the bedroom she fell on her knees near the kitchen table and prayed: "God, please help me."
A few minutes later the door bell rang. Standing there was a beautiful woman with street length clothes, blond hair and blue eyes. She had never seen her before.
"Father", she questioned, "Do you know this nun? I want to talk to her again." She theb continued...
"The nun sat at the table with me and described my life – how my husband has acted and the abuses I have had to endure."
The nun gave her some advice – not to worry about getting to Church if her husband would not let her, and for her to read the Bible when he was not at home. She also taught her to offer the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel which she was to pray daily.
" I was amazed", said Fr. Izral, "that she could recite the payer after hearing it only one time."
Inspired by this visit, the woman called her husband to meet her guest. He came to the bedroom door and was knocked back, as a strong and invisible hand slapped him across the face so vigorously that he fell to the floor. He didn't dare to come out of the bedroom until long after the visitor had left.
Then the son came into the kitchen. His eyes riveted on this beautiful visitor. She then hugged the wife and walked out the door. Immediately her son asked, "Mother, who is that lady?"
The woman, realizing she had forgotten to ask the name of the visitor, immediately opened the door; no one was there.
Earlier when the visitor arrived, the wife had noticed there was no car parked nearby. As she looked up and down the street there was no car and no one on the street.
Fr. Izral told the woman, "That was not a nun. You were visited by the Blessed Virgin Mary". He continued, "Though it went against everything I learned in the seminary, I seemed to have the absolute certainty that this was Mary."
Fr. Izral spoke to the woman six weeks later. She had followed the advice given by the visitor. Her husband no longer was drinking. Her son had changed too, and their family life had greatly improved. She was still praying the daily prayer to St. Michael.
St. Michael, the Archangel defend us in the day of battle.
Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him we humbly pray and do thou o prince of The Heavenly Hosts, by the power of God,
Cast into hell satan and all evil spirits who prowl around the world seeking the ruin of souls.