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The Feast of Saint James the Great
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“I forgive the person who caused the death of my only son”

Minerva Tannoury | Facebook | Fair Use

Aleteia - published on 03/26/20

A letter she received while in Medjugorje helped Minerva Tannouri finally move through her grief.

After the death of her son Elijah, Minerva Tannouri felt a deep sorrow that remained in her soul for many years. She and her son were very close, and she loved him dearly.

“I felt it after losing four people in my family, but the greatest tragedy was the loss of my son Elijah, who was 21 years old, and who was in a traffic accident with a truck that killed him on his way to Beirut,” said Minerva.

The news came to her with a horrific shock. “After my husband, my sister, and my nephew heard the news, they turned off their phones; then, I realized that a disaster had happened to my son, who had been born after a seven-year wait. When my husband arrived home, he told me what had happened, but I fainted from the shock. That’s when my path of suffering began”.

Despite her agony, she tried to honor her son with a beautiful funeral. “I was drugged with sedatives. Elijah’s last farewell seemed like a wedding, because we took care of every detail: We decorated with flowers, served the best appetizers, and hired a choir.”

The funeral was like a nightmare for her. “I kept telling him, ‘Forgive me, my son, if I have ever neglected or embarrassed you.’ I asked him for forgiveness and then I kissed him. I couldn’t believe the tragedy! Am I dreaming? Is this just a nightmare that’s going to end?!”

As the years went by, time did nothing to lessen her suffering. “Seven years passed, with me still drowning in tears, sadness and pain. I still kept his drawings and lit candles for his soul every day. Although I’d forgiven the man who caused his death, I’d isolated myself far from other people.”

The pilgrimage to Medjugorje changed my life

Everything changed when Minerva went to Medjugorje, where some believe Our Lady has appeared since 1981.

“My thanks go to my friend Najat, who won a prize for her participation in a television program, and who covered the expenses of the trip,” says Minerva.

On the pilgrimage, Minerva asked Our Lady for a sign:

“When I traveled to this precious place, an oasis of peace, I asked Our Lady to send me a sign: ‘If my son is by your side, I will stop wearing black clothes after more than 7 years of mourning and sadness.’ And the surprise came when I received a letter that I found under my bedroom door. At that moment I felt peace of soul because it was a sign that the Lord was listening to my every desire. This message was the main cause of my passage from mourning to joy and to living once again.”

What did the mysterious message say?

“Dear Minerva, I understand your sorrow well, since you experienced the same pain as I did when my son was crucified and then resurrected, and now I give you the strength to continue your life. You are very dear to me and irreplaceable in the lives of many people. Darkness has defeated you for 7 years; do not forget that number 7 is a sign of victory. This journey will help you to be born again and will allow you to wear white clothes that signify the resurrection; my pure heart will accompany you in all the stages of your life. I understand your pain well, and that is why I will always be at your side.”

The signature simply said, “This message was written by a person who loves you.”

“The letter touched me,” Minerva explains. “She answered the questions I had asked Our Lady. I really had the impression that she was addressing me, assuring me that she was accompanying me in my worries; that she was sharing my cross and showing me the way to resurrection.

The letter changed Minerva’s life, making it possible for her to finally put aside her deep mourning and experience life anew.

“Later, the identity of the author of the letter was revealed; she was a participant in the pilgrimage, with whom I became friends after our return to Beirut. I told her that her letter was a true heavenly sign and an answer to my questions. I also received another sign, thanks to the apparition of our Virgin Mother on the 12th day of the month in which we traveled—that is, on the memorial of my eldest son. Then I decided to put an end to the mourning and to take part again in weddings, and to accept invitations to any other kind of occasion. I was finally sure that my son is in heaven and that the Lord was giving me the strength to carry my cross. I also experienced how the Holy Spirit Himself intercedes for us with inexpressible sighs (Romans 8:26). I thank God for His presence in our lives, and our Virgin Mother for her eternal care and love.”

Gita Maroun

Read more:
Mourning father anonymously pays for another little girl’s birthday cake


Read more:
Why we shouldn’t hold back our tears

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