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 fighting the disease with the help of her supportive family and a group of special friends, among many others.
A woman of fierce faith who is devoted to the Catholic church, Paulina had been responding well to treatment until earlier this year. The oncologists now are trying other treatment options.
“I got sick again and everything went COVID,” Paulina said. “I’m hanging in there. I don’t feel great, but I feel better.”
One thing that brings Paulina comfort is a daily rosary group — via computer — that began in early April. (Other prayer groups and various churches also have been hosting services online.)
Explained rosary group member Avis Coleman: “In the Catholic church, the rosary is a scripture-based meditation on the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ.”
Before the coronavirus brought everything to a screeching halt, both Avis and Paulina were in a book club organized by St. Vincent’s religion teacher, Catherine Richie. Members would read books about the various saints and meet every month to talk about the saints and “enjoy each other’s company,” added Avis.
The first book they read was about Saint Maximilian Kolbe, a Franciscan friar who, in 1941, volunteered to die in place of a stranger at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Since finishing that book, the group has read 25 to 30 more volumes detailing the lives of saints.
When the virus separated members physically, member Lori Barlow came up with the idea to start praying the rosary via the Zoom (video) app. On weekdays, group members tune in at 5:30 and on weekends they can join in each morning.
Added Avis: “Being with friends and praying together if only through the computer is the highlight of the day for many of the members.”
They always offer prayers for their friend, Paulina.
“For me,” said Avis. “(The daily rosary) has kept me close to my faith when it has been so hard to be kept away from church. And I love feeling like we’re doing something for Paulina.
“We’ve decided to make it a 27-day rosary with a 27-day of Thanksgiving,” she added. “When completed, 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 to be a walking miracle, the rosary group makes her “feel connected to so many people who are praying for me and others.”
Contact Polly at 912-657-3877 or email@example.com.
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