F.R.O.G. Blog

Gilded Roses from the Healing Mass in Washington, La.

    My name is Tara Rodney. On September 30, 2010 , my husband Terry, my parents Johnnie and Glenda Tarver, and I, attended a healing mass at the Immaculate Conception Church in Washington, La.  It was our first time to see Mac Smith, and we had no idea what to expect.  We went to confession and waited in prayer for the rosary to begin.  When we started to recite the rosary, my mom noticed that the silver clasps which encased the rose petals on her rosary, had turned a gold color. Assuming that the beads had tarnished or something, she thought nothing of it.  At the same time, I received the following text from my cousin Kim Wixson (who wanted to be with us, but had to work)….”Am I crazy?  Just looked at my keychain.  Part surrounding the roses is gold.  NEVER noticed this-even looked at it earlier and didn’t notice!  Am I crazy? Was it always gold right there?”…..The silver clasps on the rose petal beads of her keychain had turned gold, and the rest stayed silver.  She sent me a picture.  The keychain and the rosary that changed from silver to gold were made from my daughter Lauren’s roses.  Lauren died on February 20, 2009.  She was 17 years old.  We all cherish our rosary beads and keychains that were made from her roses.  The next day, Kim, Mom, and I talked, and we realized what had happened! I immediately checked all of the other rosaries and keychains that I had blessed on the altar during the mass.  All of them were still silver, including the one I was using.

     My cousin Kim, called Mrs. Eldine Benoit, the lady who made the rosary and keychain.  Kim explained how the rosary and keychain turned gold, on the same day, at the same time.  Mrs. Benoit was very excited to hear about this, and expressed that this was the first time anything like this had been reported to her about her handmade rosaries or keychains.  She also informed us that she used two different casings to make rosaries and keychains, so she would not have expected them to turn the same color, in the event that they turned at all.  She felt that it was a miraculous gilding, and sent her sister to my mother’s house to see the rosary in person.

     On October 8, 2010, Bonnie Dufour, (Mrs. Benoit’s sister) met with my mother to see the rosary.   When Mom showed Bonnie the rosary, she kissed it and proclaimed it a miracle!  She said that neither she nor her sister had ever heard of one of the rosaries that they made turning gold, and that they felt excited and blessed.  She verified again that the casings were in fact silver.  She asked my mom if the roses had been Lauren’s funeral roses.  My mom explained that the roses came from a bouquet that was presented in memory of Lauren at her high school graduation ceremony.  It was then that we realized how special the roses were.

     The bouquet was assembled at graduation on May 13, 2009 (Feast of Fatima).  Each classmate brought up a rose and placed it in a vase on the altar when they received their diploma.  The bouquet contained 17 white and red roses, one for each year of Lauren’s life.  The bouquet was placed on the altar next to the Our Lady of Fatima statue in St. Joseph’s Church.  I took pictures of the bouquet at Mary’s feet, and left it in the church that night.  A few days later, when we remembered about the memorial rosaries, my mom asked permission to have the roses.  They had already been thrown away, and she had to retrieve them from the trash.  They weren’t in good shape, but I sent them to Eldine Benoit anyway, hoping that she could use them.  Mrs. Benoit was able to make us 2 rosaries, and several keychains, which I distributed to family members.   

       After realizing the synchronicity of the color change, and the significance of the roses that were used to make her keychain, Kim took her keychain to a local jeweler and had it examined.  This jeweler has experience in antique jewelry, and is very familiar with tarnishing and patina.  She was able to confirm that the keychain was definitely not tarnished.  The jeweler explained that when silver tarnishes, it turns a grayish black color.  She also verified that the casings were not brass, and that they were indeed silver.  She examined them under a microscope, and found that the gold color was uniform throughout the entire piece, even parts that were not accessible to touch.  The jeweler said that in her opinion, “The only thing that I know of that can do this, is belief in Jesus, or rainbows.”

     My husband Terry took my mother’s rosary, and my Aunt Tina’s keychain (which had also changed color) to another very reputable, and experienced jeweler for examination.  He had the pieces tested to see if they had actually turned gold.  At first sight, the jeweler assumed that the silver casings had tarnished, or changed colors because of a reaction to perfume, or some chemical.  He was surprised when the gold color would not rub off.  He then scratched a piece of the metal and tested it to see if the metal was gold.  Although the metal did not prove to be actual gold, the coloring remained intact.  The jeweler said that in his opinion, “It is the most remarkable tarnishing I’ve ever seen.” He was impressed at the uniformity of the color change throughout each piece, but had no explanation for it.  The jeweler allowed Terry to view the pieces under the microscope, and showed him how the very small, raised portions of the casings had uniformly turned gold.  The pieces still remained silver in between the raised portions, which helped to dispel the theory of a chemical reaction.  To the naked eye, it looked as if the entire piece of silver had turned a gold color, but under the microscope, it was much more intricate that that.  The jeweler indicated that he didn’t expect to see another tarnishing like it.

     We have shared our story of the rosary and the keychain with others.  It is a sign for us to keep the faith.  Although the properties of the medal did not change from silver to gold, the color did.  The timing of everything that took place is also a reminder that there is something greater than us at work here.  If the synchronicity and the permanent color change were not enough, the feelings that we experienced will not let us doubt this beautiful gift from heaven.

Tara Rodney

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