There were eight children in our family. We lived on the outskirts of Dublin and we were able to do a little farming to make ends meet. My job was looking after the hens – all 72 of them. I fed them, watered them, collected the eggs, and had a list of people who who would buy the eggs. We lived a few miles from the village and I would take the eggs, each one wrapped in newspaper, packed into a box and tied to a carrier on the back of the bicycle. This Saturday I set off with eight dozen eggs. Rather foolishly I took a corner much faster than I should have and the box of eggs fell off. Imagine my utter consternation as I unpacked each egg and found them all broken! We needed the money and I could not go home and tell my mother they were all broken. I would have been murdered …. and there was no Child-line then – I was only 13. So when I got home I told my mother a big lie, I told her a woman had bought all the eggs as she was having a party and wanted the eggs for baking. I had a week to get the money.
That’s when I started praying, really hard. In the conversation I had with God I remember expressing the hope that He didn’t mind being part of a lie because I was excepting Him to get me out of this awful situation. The prayers continued, getting more desperate with each passing day. So confident was I that a solution would be found I did not develop another strategy. With one day to go my father said to me “Let’s go up the Pheonix Park and look at the cattle”. The Park was Government land in the heart of Dublin and we paid rent to graze some of our cattle on it. As we went across open land I noticed a ten shilling note blowing across the field. Just as my father nearly stepped on it I shouted “There is one over there by the edge of the wood” pointing to the trees behind him. By the time he looked and said “where” I had the ten shillings note in my pocket. I slept well that night, and thanked God for getting me out of a very desperate situation.
Next day I delivered more eggs, ever so carefully, and returned with a large sum of money which included the ten shilling note. My mother was delighted and advised me to keep that lady on our books. The ten shillings more than covered the cost of the broken eggs, and I got the change to spend on ice cream. After that, I felt I had a friend in Jesus.
Fr Frank Ryan, OMI