Balloon Rosary travels from Madison to Michigan Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Jul. 26, 2012 -- 12:00 AM
Sheri Miglio and her son Will find the balloon Rosary which traveled 354 miles from the Rosary Rally held at the state Capitol in Madison to their farm in North Branch, Mich. (Contributed photo)

MADISON -- On Thursday, June 21, the first weekly Rosary Rally was held at the state Capitol in Madison. At that rally, a large helium balloon Rosary was released.

The 40-foot Rosary made up of a cluster of yellow balloons had been assembled by youth at St. Mary Parish in Pine Bluff under the direction of Beth Ptak, coordinator of religious education.

The next day, Sheri Miglio in North Branch, Mich., looked out in her backyard and saw a huge cluster of yellow balloons snagged on a tree just inside their property line. She and her family live on a 10-acre farm.

It was the fifth birthday of Miglio’s son, Will. She said jokingly, “Will, someone sent you a bunch of balloons for your birthday.”

Finding the Rosary

They walked over to the balloons and cut the string holding them to the tree. With the balloons they noticed a cardboard crucifix and found out that the cluster of balloons was a Rosary. On the crucifix they found a message from Fr. Rick Heilman, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Pine Bluff and one of the leaders of the Rosary Rally at the Capitol.

It turns out that the Miglio family are practicing Catholics. Their parish is also St. Mary Parish and their pastor is Fr. Rick Treml. He, too, has three country parishes like Father Heilman, and he also has a seminarian staying with him.

Lots of coincidences. But the story goes beyond these facts.

Influence of ‘Saint Antoinette’

Sheri Miglio’s mother, Antoinette DeGrez, was a devout Catholic. “She was the sweetest, kindest woman and mother,” said Miglio. “We referred to her as ‘Saint Antoinette.’”

Her mother died on Easter Sunday in 2008. Miglio wrote to Father Heilman, “I always talk to my kids about my mother and especially to Will lately as his fifth birthday was approaching. Even in her failing state, my mother was always holding, rocking, and playing with Will.

“My mother has sent signs that she is with me in many spiritual ways. We all firmly believe that as my mother could not physically be there, she guided your message and cluster of balloons to my son on his fifth birthday.”

Miglio said her mother always prayed to Mary. “I still have a ceramic praying Mary in my bedroom with a Rosary in her hands. My mother painted it for me as a child.”

Weekly Rosary Rallies

The weekly Rosary Rallies are continuing at the state Capitol every Thursday at 7 p.m. through Nov. 1.

Father Heilman said that even in this summer’s heat, “everyone is absolutely astounded how a cool breeze appears just as we begin our Rosary. We call it ‘Mary’s air-conditioning.’”

Father Heilman urges people to come to pray the Rosary at the Capitol every week. If they can’t make it to the Capitol, he encourages people to pray the Rosary at the same time in solidarity.

The Rosary is being prayed for life, family, and the conversion of the world.

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