How one little angel named Maria inspired 50 years of helping others.
- Posted on Jul 11, 2011
Through their 60-plus years of writing for Guideposts, John and Elizabeth Sherrill have encountered some incredibly inspiring stories, and shared them with us.
Now as they look back on their amazing journey of life and faith, the Sherrills are revisiting some of their favorites—survival stories, real life love stories, angel sightings and more—so that we can be inspired by them all over again.
In 2006 I went back to the scene of a long-ago interview. I'd gone to Belmont, North Carolina, in 1965 to report for Guideposts on Holy Angels, a home for infants born with multiple handicaps.
I remembered the kindly nuns bending so tenderly over each crib. Most of all I remembered Maria, a bright-eyed nine-year-old girl whose ruffled blue dress hid the arms of her small wheelchair.
Maria was the first handicapped baby the sisters had taken in, a “vegetable” who wasn’t supposed to live more than a few days. The nuns had been running an ordinary day nursery when Maria’s arrival launched them on this ministry to the very challenged. Now the little girl who wasn’t supposed to live was 50 years old, and I’d been invited to come see what had grown from the work she’d inspired.
Following a winding drive up the hillside, I saw a greatly expanded campus. Welcoming one-story brick-and-wood buildings connected with covered walkways were set in manicured lawns. There were patios, colorful gardens, a greenhouse, an outdoor Jacuzzi.
In the central building, a woman wearing a cream-and-pepper sweater with a mass of auburn curls was handling calls at a reception desk. Putting the phone down, she whipped her electric wheelchair around the desk and held out her hand.
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