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Patrick Ferraro’s Adoption Journey View Comments
By Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.

In the search for his birth parents, Patrick relied on the kindness of strangers, chiefly Sister Mary Joan Baldino, who played an integral part in the process. She and Patrick became close friends because of this experience.

IN AN AGE when more and more of the seven million adoptees in the United States are seeking the right to unseal records and obtain their original birth certificates, in all but eight states it is frustrating or impossible.

Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and author of Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution Is Transforming Our Families—and America, said in The Huffington Post on January 12, 2011: “Every additional day, month and year that original birth certificates remain sealed, some more adoptees and birth parents who want or need to find each other will give up instead, and some more will die, without ever filling the hole in
their hearts.”

Because Great Britain changed its laws and unsealed adoption records in 1975, the story of Patrick Ferraro’s search for his birth mother is as unexpected as it is poignant. His journey crossed three countries and spanned 40 years. It is a tale about love, family and a series of providential encounters with complete strangers who helped him.

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Sister Rose Pacatte, F.S.P., M.Ed., is the director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Los Angeles. She has been the film and television columnist for St. Anthony Messenger since 2003.

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Our Lady of Lourdes: On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in the apostolic constitution <i>Ineffabilis Deus</i>. A little more than three years later, on February 11, 1858, a young lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous. This began a series of visions. During the apparition on March 25, the lady identified herself with the words: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” 
<p>Bernadette was a sickly child of poor parents. Their practice of the Catholic faith was scarcely more than lukewarm. Bernadette could pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Creed. She also knew the prayer of the Miraculous Medal: “O Mary conceived without sin.” </p><p>During interrogations Bernadette gave an account of what she saw. It was “something white in the shape of a girl.” She used the word <i>aquero</i>, a dialect term meaning “this thing.” It was “a pretty young girl with a rosary over her arm.” Her white robe was encircled by a blue girdle. She wore a white veil. There was a yellow rose on each foot. A rosary was in her hand. Bernadette was also impressed by the fact that the lady did not use the informal form of address (<i>tu</i>), but the polite form (<i>vous</i>). The humble virgin appeared to a humble girl and treated her with dignity. </p><p>Through that humble girl, Mary revitalized and continues to revitalize the faith of millions of people. People began to flock to Lourdes from other parts of France and from all over the world. In 1862 Church authorities confirmed the authenticity of the apparitions and authorized the cult of Our Lady of Lourdes for the diocese. The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes became worldwide in 1907.</p> American Catholic Blog While the term social justice has received negative connotations in some circles in recent years due to certain media misrepresentations of the tradition, the vocation of all Christian women and men to work toward the common good, protect the dignity of all human life, strive toward ending violence in all forms, and providing for the welfare of all people remains integral to who we are as bearers of the name Christ.

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