Those who knew Amanda, knew her great capacity for love. Nancy fondly remembers the "Amanda hug", about which she says, "there was no denying that Amanda loved you!"
While we lament that we can't get those physical hugs any longer, Amanda is around us all the time; encouraging us, clearing problems and generally showing that same love in a way of total devotion. She is the same Amanda, but released of the limits she had on earth. Amanda certainly had a tendency to be contrarian, and even downright sinful at times; maybe more than most. She was very close to Christ in her own way however. Her earthly affliction (BPD) was the source of much of her difficulty in life, raising that difficulty to the level of true suffering, which is purgative and gets one even closer to the Lord.
This suffering, redemptive as it was, formed the basis of her faith. It was a faith which manifest in a courageous commitment to others, what we call "Amanda Love". Her family prays to her now, with a belief in the beautiful irony that she is in heaven and knows all, while we remain in this valley of tears; still trying to figure it out, still going to Confession in a futile attempt at faith the size of a mustard seed.
We were told by an acquaintance (now a close friend), just after Amanda died that, "your daughter is a powerful saint." So she is. Disclaimer: we are not claiming validated miracles, nor are we opening a "cause for sainthood" any time soon. However, it is our personal belief that she is in heaven, which is the only definition of "saint", with or without Rome's official recognition (there are "sung" and "unsung" saints). Such a personal belief is valid; valid for us, and for anyone who chooses to personally accept her sainthood and pray for her intercession. Three folks have, and they are now beneficiaries of inexplicable and joyous events which have increased their faith.
Amanda's saintly activity seems to be evident in miracles around babies. So far, we have three, with a wedding soon to come as a "cherry-on-top" for one of those miracle babies.
Please feel free to bring your intentions to this unsung saint, as well as the sung saints she was so profoundly connected to in her life. Her faith was strong, and the saints near her will be near you if you make her a daily part of your life.
In corde Jesu,
The Gray Family - Michael, Nancy, Declan and Amanda†
Those who loved Amanda knew that she suffered from acute mental illness. For that reason, we spent many years devoted to St. Dymphna, the patron saint of those with mental illness, or suffering any form of mental or nervous system disorders.
In the aftermath of her death, we have come to know the National Shrine and Relics of St. Dymphna in Ohio, and have traveled their frequently. Please visit their site and make your personal devotion for all those suffering any stresses or anxiety.
4 days into a prayer devotion to Venerable Anthony Vincent Gallo (priest), we had a "miraculous" recovery of symptoms which led to 8 weeks of bliss just before Amanda's death. The story is told in the eulogy on our About Amanda page.
O Most Holy Trinity, who deigned to raise Venerable Father Anthony Vincent Gallo to the priesthood, and endowed him with precious gifts, especially that of a burning love for suffering and immolation, we humbly beseech You, if it be Your Will, that he may be glorified on earth, and that we may obtain through his intercession the particular grace which we ask for with living faith. Amen.
"Beatrice" was the name we baptized Amanda as an infant, but she never had much use for the name, noble as it was. Given the chance at her Confirmation, she chose a name for herself which she would use exclusively. The name she chose, based upon her love for the saint of that name, was Rose.
Oh St. Rose of Lima, Set me on fire with a love for Jesus, that I may thirst for His sacraments and burn with zeal for the spread of His kingdom. By your powerful intercession, help me in the performance of my duties to God, myself and all the world.
The night of Amanda's burial, her friends stayed with us and talked stories of she whom they loved. As we sat at our dining room table and listened, we knew these young people would love us throughout our lives for her sake.
At the end of the night, our beloved Kylie noticed a plaque of St. Teresa and said, "Mother Teresa, she was Amanda's favorite saint." When Michael told Kylie that we weren't aware that Teresa was her favorite saint, she said, "Of course, she was! She loved babies, and, if you loved babies, you were OK with Amanda!"