Grand Central Publishing has finally released the cover for “The Little Way Of Ruthie Leming.” You’ll remember that readers voted earlier this year on whether or not to go with the rocking-chair cover, or the oak-tree cover. Rocking chair won by a mile. So cool to see the final product on Amazon.com.

UPDATE: In the book, I tell the story of Father F.X. Seelos, a 19th century German-born priest who served the sick and dying in New Orleans, before himself succumbing to yellow fever there. There is a shrine to him in his old parish in the city, where people come to pray at his tomb, asking his prayers for their healing. They say there have been some miraculous healings recorded as a result of his intercession. As you’ll read in the book, I drove down with one of Ruthie’s daughters to pray for Ruthie’s healing a day or two after her diagnosis, and brought her a relic of the Blessed Seelos (“blessed,” because he was beatified in 2000, the first step to sainthood). Catholic friends of Ruthie’s sent her relics of Father Seelos, which she kept near her bed. I used to pray to the Blessed Seelos, asking her to pray to the Lord for Ruthie’s healing. 

Ruthie said that she believed God would heal her of her cancer, but if He didn’t, then she was confident that there was a reason He will have allowed her to die now. That good would come out of it, she meant. That realization informed all my own prayers for Ruthie’s healing. Perhaps God would heal many others through Ruthie’s faithful sacrifice. Maybe that was His will. Ruthie allowed for that possibility.

I’ve just found out from a Catholic reader that April 9, 2013, the publication date of Little Way, is the 13th anniversary of Father Seelos’s beatification. “No coincidence!” says the reader. Agreed!