Paulina Tawil is a prayer warrior and a fighter. She battled breast cancer in 2007 and won – albeit for seven years – but in 2014 cancer was discovered in her bones and liver. Six years later, Paulina is still battling the disease with the help of her family and a special group of friends, among many others.
A woman of fierce faith and devoted to the Catholic Church, Paulina had responded well to treatment until earlier this year. Oncologists are now trying other treatment options.
“I got sick again and everything went COVID,” Paulina said. “I’m holding on. I don’t feel good, but I feel better.
One thing that comforts Paulina is a daily rosary group – via computer – which started in early April. (Other prayer groups and various churches have also held online services.)
Rosary Group member Avis Coleman explained, “In the Catholic Church, the Rosary is a scriptural meditation on the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ.”
Before the coronavirus brought everything to a screeching halt, Avis and Paulina were at a book club hosted by St. Vincent religion teacher Catherine Richie. Members read books about the different saints and met monthly to talk about the saints and “enjoy each other’s company,” Avis added.
The first book they read was about Saint Maximilian Kolbe, a Franciscan friar who, in 1941, volunteered to die in place of a foreigner at Auschwitz concentration camp. Since the completion of this book, the group has read 25 to 30 additional volumes detailing the lives of the saints.
When the virus separated the members physically, member Lori Barlow had the idea to start praying the Rosary via the Zoom app (video). On weekdays, group members log in at 5:30 a.m. and on weekends, they can join each morning.
Avis added, “Being with friends and praying together, if only through the computer, is the highlight of the day for many members.”
They always offer prayers for their friend, Paulina.
“For me,” Avis said. “(The Daily Rosary) kept me close to my faith when it was so hard to be kept out of church. And I love feeling that something is being done for Paulina.
“We decided to make it a 27 day rosary with 27 days of Thanksgiving,” she added. “When finished, we will have prayed the Rosary together 54 days in a row for our friend.”
Members can actively participate or just listen, Avis said.
For Paulina, who considers herself a walking miracle, the rosary group allows her to “feel connected to so many people who pray for me and for others”.
Contact Polly at 912-657-3877 or[email protected].
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