Gayle Pard
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

I moved to Florida to help my sister as she was unable to work and provide for herself and teen age child because of her Lupus. I was converting to Catholicism as I had been attending the Catholic church for quite a while.

Not having a job when I arrived, I started putting out resumes to different social service type positions. I got home and sat, praying, for God to help me find the job that He wanted me to do. After praying I laid down and fell asleep. the phone ringing awoke me. It was a place called Palm Beach Habilitation Center calling. They had a position to offer and after the interview the next day I was hired to manage the group home which housed ten men with a variety of different abilities. I loved my job so much; the men taught me so much! One Mother was supposed to travel from Palm Beach County to Miami to volunteer for a week at a gathering of priests, nuns and lay people where Jean was having a conference- and she could not attend and asked me to go in her place.

We were coming upon Spring and the Easter holiday. My main job was to type the Masses into French and English. I had the most wonderful time there and actually had my first confession with an elderly priest from France. I was offered First Communion but declined to take it till my class all took it together. I left there with renewed life and felt I had found many comrades in our quest to not just work with peoples with "diffabilities" aand to continue what I was doing- and their families; but that I had been doing the right thing with my friends.When I returned to work I contacted the parents and asked their permission to teach their adult children about God. They were surprised and most said they didn't think they would understandWhen I left my position, they had all had the chance to pray. to learn about Our Father and Our Savior.

Fast forward to 10 years ago now. My daughter and son in law delivered their first child, a beautiful son, diagnosed with Down Syndrome. They were devastated. I moved back to Edmonton immediately to support them. Crispin is almost ten years old now. He is non-verbal (a bit of sign) and has a dual diagnosis of Autism. But God had prepared me for this. Whilst I thought I was there to help my sister, God was there to prepare me for more understanding, love and guidance.

A coincidence? NO, a miracle.Thank you to Jean for re-enforcing my beliefs, for touching my heart so that I can touch others' hearts.

With Love,

Gayle Pard