She didn’t want to go back because she felt she wasn’t ready to turn away from her sin and do what God was asking of her.
Her sister-in-law, Maria Preciado, constantly reminded Gutierrez and her husband to go to confession, but Gutierrez always declined.
Preciado’s perseverance, however, would prove successful, as she was the one who took Gutierrez to the many Catholic churches in the area to seek healing — healing that would eventually come, both physically and spiritually.
St. Charbel and the sacrament of reconciliation
In January 2016, a first-class relic of St. Charbel Makhlouf — a bone fragment from one of the most popular saints in the Maronite church, known for his many reported miracles — was on display for veneration at St. Joseph Maronite Catholic Church in Phoenix.
St. Charbel, whose feast day is July 24, was born in Lebanon in 1828 and ordained as a Maronite priest in 1859. In 1875 he became a hermit and died on Christmas eve in 1898. He was canonized in Rome on Oct. 9, 1977 by Pope Paul VI.
Father Wissam Akiki, pastor of the church, was celebrating Masses all weekend in honor of the saint and blessing parishioners with healing oil.
Preciado visited the relics on Jan. 18 and thought that Gutierrez could benefit from doing the same. So she invited Gutierrez and her husband to go.
The couple went that very day.
Gutierrez remembers sitting in the pew and praying to God again for healing: “This is the last time, please hear me out. Don’t do it for me. Do it for my kids.'”
Preciado, who was accompanying Gutierrez and her husband, went to the priest and asked him to give Gutierrez a blessing.
(Story continues below)
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The priest asked Preciado if he could hear Gutierrez’s confession before the blessing. So Preciado said yes.
When Preciado told Gutierrez that the priest wanted to hear her confession, Gutierrez told her “no.”
Gutierrez recalled that her sister-in-law’s response was: “No, I’m not asking you if you want to go, I’m taking you.” Preciado told Gutierrez to “get up.”
So Gutierrez got up.
Preciado walked Gutierrez over to the confessional and she confessed her sins for the first time since before her marriage.
The priest told CNA that after Gutierrez’s confession he gave her a blessing, put holy oil on her, and invited her to venerate the relic.