On November 3rd, 1999, my 26-month-old daughter, Samantha, woke up, screamed in pain and said to me, "no walk mommy". I carried her to the couch to see what was going on.
Two weeks previous Sammi stopped walking for 3 days. The year before in October and November. Sammi didn't walk on 3 separate occasions for 1 day each time. She was always sick so it was originally thought to be muscle weakness or vertigo. This last time was different. We went to our pediatrician and he ordered several tests. Nothing showed up. The next day we saw a neurologist. More specific tests were ordered for muscular dystrophy and other rare illnesses. I was heartbroken and had to wait an agonizing week for these results. After she hasn't been walking for 6 days they ordered an MRI of the spine to check for tumors. I was numb. My baby was getting needle jabbed into her, She was screaming in pain and the roar of the machines was enough to fill myself up with nothing but fear. So far the tests gave us no answers.
Our Neurologist was perplexed. He called other doctors around the country to see if anyone had any answers. He felt I should try to see a neurologist at Columbia Pres. Hospital. The best in the world. They had no open appointments for the next month. By this time my baby's feet were flipping backward (posturing). It looked terrible!
The secretary called me back and said: "Come in 3 days". God was there with me then. This doctor diagnosed Sammi with partial paraparesis- cause unknown. More grueling tests were ordered that I, as a mom, had to suffer through. She had to fast for four hours, get more needles stuck in, Machines with radiation zooming over her and wires all hooked up her to test response times. We had no answers except doctors telling me they were sure it was a central nervous system disorder or brain disorder. I prayed and cried. I went back to my pediatrician, He told me to call this man ray in Jersey City.
I called Raymond and finally got through to him on November 30th Sammi hadn't been walking for 27 days. For the first time in a month, I felt some peace. Ray has a painting of Mary and St. Anne that had begun weeping oil in October 1998, He also has the stigmata on his hands and feet. He often begins to bleed many times on holy days, also when healing a is taking place. Ray told me to come to the next rosary at his home. Fortunately for me, it was only 3 days later on a Friday, December 3rd. As soon as I talked to Ray, I knew this was where my daughter had to be.
On Friday, I drove the 40 Miles to his house. I saw about 100 people standing in front of his house. Next, I saw roses in his garden. This is pretty amazing since it is December in NJ and very cold. He waved me into his home right away. Samantha went right into Ray's arms, something she never did with anyone - ever! Ray had all those there praying for my little angel. I felt such inner peace and I went home very happy.
4 days later Ray called to check on Sammi. Told me to promise to pray the rosary once a week for the rest of your life and promised me Sammi would be walking by the weekend. I promised with all my heart and soul. The next day I was off to the hospital for 2 days for a spinal tap, bone scan, and lots more blood tests. it was December 8th, Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The morning was tough for Sammi, she couldn't eat or drink. Her tests were at 2:00. We were both crying. The spinal tap went perfect, as well as the other tests. Seven neurologists were brainstorming to find a cause for her condition. Thursday night we went home still not knowing. But in my heart, I carried Ray's promise with me.
Saturday morning Sammi woke up and crawled to me. I picked her up and for the first time in 39 Days, her feet flipped the right way. I was so excited! My heart was pounding, and I was praying so hard! Suddenly I noticed from her knees to her toes was a bright "sunburn" red. I was baffled and worried. I went to bed exhausted. Praying, hoping, and believing - it was the weekend and tomorrow is Sunday the holiest day of the week.
Sunday morning Sammi woke up and crawled into my room. She said, "I want to walk". I picked her up and her feet flipped the right way. I held her little body up for her to try the walking motion and she was doing it and I let her go. She fell right down. My heart broke. She looked at me Determined and said again "I want to walk". I picked her up again she did the walking motion and as I held her suddenly after 2 minutes I could feel her body lifting away from mine. she was WALKING. I was so happy! She started running after 3 minutes and hasn't stopped since.
Sammi's miracle was symbolic, It was Sunday, December 12th, Mary's Feast Day of Guadalupe. It was also the 40th day of her illness and the number 40 is written many times in biblical stories. I know Mary and St Anne were with me the entire time. Ray only says it is God not him - who creates these miracles. Also, you must have faith. Without faith and trust in God, nothing will happen. My family is truly blessed for our miracle. I will never forget my promise to pray the rosary. with prayer, I truly believe anything is possible. We will never forget him and how he has helped us grow close to the lord.
Samantha Rose Saltarelli is now 21 years old. She has been truly blessed. Sam was valediction of her high school class and just recently graduated from Rutgers Nursing School. Sammi will be working at NYU hospital helping others as she was once helped by so many caring people.