A string of tornadoes ripped through Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania on May 31, 1985, killing eighty-nine, injuring over one thousand, and causing more than $600 million worth of damage. "Death from the Sky" read the headline of the Erie Times newspaper the following day.
Albion in Pennsylvania was particularly devastated by this storm. An F5 tornado cut a two-block wide path through the town, killing twelve and injuring dozens more. The local Catholic parish, St. Lawrence, was literally sliced in half. The pastor, Father Robert Reilly, survived by holding on to a window frame as the rest of the rectory was blown away.
A number of homes directly in the path of the tornado, however, were curiously unharmed. Standing amidst the rubble, it was discovered that in each of these homes a shrine to the Sacred Heart had been set up, the families had been consecrated to Christ.
When Jesus appeared literally to Saint Margaret Mary in 1674, speaking to her about his Sacred Heart, he said, "I will bless every place in which an image of my Heart is exposed and honored...I will establish peace in their homes."
Today, almost 35 years later, an invisible, though no less destructive enemy is sweeping through our cities. The Coronavirus is ruining our economy, shutting down our churches, and taking and disrupting lives. As we are ordered to remain in our homes, we would do well to make our home a little shrine to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We cannot physically be in front of Jesus in the Eucharist, but we can have him spiritually in our hearts and homes. And he will protect us as he did the residents of Albion.