Chicago woman helping build faith in Iraq

.- Mary Zilligan Becker probably didn’t realize she was going to play a role in the U.S. war in Iraq. But following a chance e-mail encounter back in January, she now facilitates the shipment of thousands of rosaries, scapulars and prayer books to U.S. soldiers stationed there.

According to the Tidings newspaper, Hannigan, a Chicago area Catholic bookstore owner and mother was asked by a friend who didn’t have a computer to send and e-mail to Fr. John Hannigan, a chaplain with the U.S military.

Soon, Becker began hearing Fr. Hannigan’s stories of the faithful in his 30,000 mile “parish” which stretches from Syria to Jordan, and their need for things like Catechisms and rosaries.

In a letter posted on Becker’s website; <http://www.seatofwisdom.net/>, Fr. Hannigan writes, “It does my heart good as I travel over 30,000 miles every weeks to see Marines, soldiers, Sailors wearing the scapular around their neck. They ask for more than one scapular since it’s now super hot out here plus all the protective gear we wear makes us sweat even more so.”
 
He also added that recently, “a Marine approached me and said when he gets out of the Marine Corps in 2 years from now, he’d like to start studying for the priesthood. WOW! He’s being a sponsor for one of the Marines here who will be getting confirmed.”

Stories like these are what led Becker to begin something of a campaign to collect the books and high shipping fees to get religious materials into the hands of soldiers. 

Since the cost of the prayer materials are not in the U.S. military budget, Fr. Hannigan considers his chance meeting with a Catholic bookstore owner a Godsend. In a letter to Becker and her supporters, he said that “Many of these Marines, Soldiers, and Sailors have found God in this combat zone.” 

“Many, upon seeing their buddies get killed in action, now have a greater realization of death in their lives,” he added. “This combat zone has for many, made them appreciate more so the importance of God in their lives. Your donations have helped out here in an outstanding manner. Your generosity will never be forgotten.”

For more information or to donate materials, visit www.seatofwisdom.net.

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