Butterflies Bring Comfort in Time of Grieving

Published in the Pawtucket Times on February 18, 2019

Susan feels “joy in her heart and complete happiness” whenever she sees a butterfly. A butterfly came into her life as she mourned her brother’s death in 1990. Before he died, she remembers her brother saying that he would come back as a butterfly. The 62-year-old Pawtucket resident says “he meant it” and she believes he has sent messages to her through butterflies each year for over 30 years.

She believes that butterflies that play in the garden during the late spring and summer every year could possibly be other family members (deceased husband and father) and friends that have since departed. “Most of them knew the story of the butterfly and perhaps they too wished to come back as a beautiful butterfly. I know I would love to come back as a beautiful butterfly if I had the chance,” she says.

Significance of Butterflies Brings Sign from Beyond

Looking back, Susan remembers meeting her future husband, Stephen, after the death of her first husband. She was introduced to him by her close friend, Jackie. As the three dined at an outdoor restaurant in Tiverton, Jackie quickly pointed at a beautiful monarch butterfly sitting on a purple butterfly bush not far from their table. As they gazed at the lovely sight, a text message came into Susan’s cell phone from her next-door neighbor who had sent a photo of a monarch butterfly sitting on a purple butterfly bush in Susan’s backyard in Pawtucket. Both sightings of the monarch butterfly were at the same time of day, both directed to Susan- one in Pawtucket and one in Tiverton.

“I knew what was happening here. My brother, maybe my husband and my Dad (both deceased) were telling me that Stephen is the man for me. That’s why I married him! Well, besides he’s a good man too,” said Susan.

Like Susan, Phyllis Calvey,68, a writer, speaker, educator, and storyteller, sees the significance of the butterfly and how it can bring comfort in one’s darkest hours after the death of a loved one. “It’s a book that people can pass onto someone they know who has lost a loved one,” she says.

In “The Butterfly Club: “Is That You?”’ the Bellingham, Massachusetts writer shares her inspirational true-life stories of how God can, and does, use signs to communicate His presence to “those in need.”

“My book has brought comfort to many who had not yet found the closure they were hoping for. And still, for some, the age-old question persists, “Was it a sign or just a coincidence?” Their underlying need bleeds through – I need more proof! I believe I have found “more proof” in the Butterfly Phenomenon,” she says.

When Calvey began hearing from others who crossed her path about how God used the sign of a butterfly to comfort those grieving the loss of a loved one, she began to explore these occurrences, becoming more aware of their frequency of happening. Calvey began to hear about other “sign stories”– red cardinals, dragon flies, feathers, music, flowers, and even a “divine fortune cookie,” to name a few.

The 136-page nonfiction book of inspirational stories detailing the butterfly phenomenon, brings the age-old debate up for discussion, ‘Are these signs or merely coincidences or an incidental occurrence?’ For Calvey they are not coincidental.

As a caregiver for four parents who were allowed to die in their own homes, there is always “great matters of life and death,” to deal with, says Calvey in writing her book. “Two people in the equation – one wondering if their loved one will be okay, along with the finality of facing if they truly believe there is an afterlife. And one soon to be on the other side wondering the same. Both hoping to somehow be able to communicate that answer. The Butterfly Club is the communication of their answer,” she says.

Calvey recounts a story told her by Jackie, her cousin, who attended the wake of her brother. She had met a man wearing a butterfly pin on his lapel. In conversation, he mentioned that his daughter, AnneMarie, had died of leukemia in 1997. It seems that the 17-year-old had clearly found a way to send a signal to her father that she was okay, through a butterfly. When asked about the lapel pin, he smiled and said, “Welcome to the Butterfly Club,” and then walked away.

“There wasn’t a name for this experience, but in talking to people, you learn just how many people share it,” Calvey said, thus- naming her tome “Welcome to the Butterfly Club.”

Calvey herself had shared in a butterfly encounter many years before she wrote The Butterfly Club when Danny, an 18 year-old outgoing, charismatic, loved by everyone, boy from her church community was killed by a hit-and-run driver after leaving for college only three weeks earlier. “His mother was at a point where she felt she couldn’t bear to go on,” Calvey explained. “She took a walk in the woods and sat on a fallen log wanting to bury herself in her grief, when a monarch butterfly alighted on a small stick near her feet. Danny’s mother bent down to pick it up and sensed that the butterfly would not fly away. She looked at it in her hands and described this feeling to me, that it was as if her son were speaking the words to her himself, “Mom, it’s okay. I’m alright.” “The transformation I saw in her and the healing that followed was no less than miraculous,” Calvey said. “Now, when people ask her if they could have real proof that a butterfly can be a sign from God or a loved one, she tells them people like Nancy are all the real proof I need!”

Fortune Cookies Bring Messages, Too

At a Cranston book signing event, Calvey told this writer a story from her book, describing a divine sign that came through a message from a fortune cookie, delivered in perfect timing, one that brought comfort to her and was an “undeniable message” from her deceased father that he “was okay, and with God.”

As her father was dying Calvey sensed his fear of dying and the unknown and sought to comfort him by saying “you do know that you are going to heaven.” She stressed that he had lived his whole life as an example of the Good Samaritan in the parable that Jesus told. Calling him a “Good Samaritan” she recounted all the people throughout his life that he had helped. The day after he died, Chinese food was brought in and Calvey’s mother opened a fortune cookie, receiving this message, “The Good Samaritan did not get his name through good intentions.” “The sign of the fortune cookie could not have been a more perfect communication to deliver the message to our family that our father was indeed in heaven,” Calvey explained.

Calvey has heard from readers from all over the world who found comfort in reading her book and closure by knowing a loved one can still communicate through signs across the veil by reading her book. Their shared experience is the key for those who haven’t seen their sign as of yet and, perhaps will help them learn how to recognize their own encounter.

“A sign is undeniable. It’s making the connection of the perfect timing of a loved one delivering a message to you, that constitutes the difference,” adds Calvey. “But through the years, I’ve found it never works to ask God for a sign. Signs come to you only in God’s perfect timing,” she says.

Calvey’s book details stories of people who experience universal signs. “They don’t know they are part of a club,” she says. “But they are.”

Readers can share their views or tell their own “sign story” or purchase, “The Butterfly Club: “Is That You?”’ by going to http://www.butterflyclubbook.com.

To order, go to pcalvey@hotmail.com. Or call (617) 869-2576.

Revelations Bring Together Heaven, Earth

Published in Woonsocket Call on July 17, 2016

Approaching their twilight years, aging baby boomers might occasionally think about their impending mortality, even contemplating what happens after their last breath is taken, wondering what lies beyond the veil. But a growing number of people who have reported Near Death Experiences (NDE) may just shed some light to this age old question.

Although some people, diagnosed clinically dead, come back to life after being revived with no conscious memory of this experience, others experiencing a NDE report vivid, personal memories of their out-of-body trip across the veil. During this spiritual experience the person may meet dead family, friends and even their spiritual teacher, see a white light or travel through a tunnel.

Critics of NDE may try to explain away this experience as being the result of psychological and physiological causes, but those who come back with their direct knowledge of the afterlife don’t buy these explanations.

Dozens of books have been published, many being listed on the New York Times best sellers list, detailing the author’s clinical death and NDE, they strongly believe as evidence of an afterlife.

One book, published by Rodale Books in 2015, details what Tommy Rosa, a Bronx-born plumber learned in 1999 about health and healing during his NDE and coming back to life. Rosa’s chance meeting at a conference with Dr. Stephen Sinatra, an integrative cardiologist and psychotherapist, seen on “Dr. Oz” and “The Doctors,” would lead to the publishing of a 247 page book, Health Revelations from Heaven and Earth.

One such book, published by Rodale Books in 2015, details what Tommy Rosa, a Bronx-born plumber learned in 1999 about health and healing during his NDE and coming back to life. Rosa’s chance meeting at a conference with Dr. Stephen Sinatra, an integrative cardiologist and psychotherapist, seen on “Dr. Oz” and “The Doctors,” would lead to the publishing of a 247 page book, Health Revelations from Heaven and Earth.

A reading of this book reveals two very different approaches at looking at health, one gleaned from a spiritual experience and the other by scientific training, but both lead to the same set of conclusions. The tome offers eight health revelations (being connected with others, faithfulness, your vital force, grounding, being positive, self-love, seeing your body as a temple, and life’s purpose) geared to helping you live your best, healthiest life, revitalize yourself and embrace a new found sense of purpose and spiritual balance — gleaned from Rosa’s experience and fully corroborated by four decades of medical expertise and other scientific evidence by Dr. Sinatra, who practices in St. Petersburg, Florida, Manchester, Connecticut.

Rosa believes experiences described in his book are different from other NDE books published. His eight revelations can be applicable in the reader’s daily life.

To date, Rosa has promoted his book and his heavenly revelations in newspapers, radio and television. Over 20,000 copies of his book have been sold.

Peeking Over the Veil

Eighteen years ago, Rosa was walking across the street to a local convenience store to buy bread and he was hit by a car and became clinically dead for several minutes. Right after he was hit, Rosa felt a tug whisking him off into a tunnel of light [a common NDE]. The 58-year-old was rushed to the hospital and resuscitated, but left in a coma for weeks. During his NDE Rosa found himself in “Heaven,” where he met a spiritual Teacher and was taught the fundamentals about health and healing.

Ultimately, Rosa remembers that he would emerge from his coma not only grateful to be alive, but with a new found sense of intuition, increased empathy and more awareness of the connection to Heaven and Earth.

Rosa, a founder of the Stuart, Florida-based Unicorn Foundation whose mission is to bring spiritual awareness and education to everyday people, says that the most important revelation of his NDE was that all living things are connected. “No one’s actions are isolated to that specific person, but that every action has a ripple effect throughout the energy of our fellow,” he says. In this book. Dr. Sinatra confirms the importance of this revelation, noting how the need for human connection lies at the very heart of human existence. He describes how the practitioner’s ability to empathize with his patients is what truly facilitates the healing process, and also touches upon how one’s emotions can influence their health and overall well being.

His perspective of religion and living life has changed, too. Although he was raised a strict Catholic, the diversity of beliefs serves “Heaven” leading a person to a higher divine plane of consciousness. “I know now that everything is a dream and that you don’t sweat the small stuff,” he says.

Synchronicity Births a Book

At the time of Rosa’s NDE, Dr. Stephen Sinatra was dismantling the prevailing ideas of preventive pharmacology with his holistic approach to treatment. When Rosa met the Florida-based cardiologist, he got an intuitive feeling that the physician had an infection in his hip. This insight confirmed Dr. Sinatra’s own similar thoughts of infection, and he was later diagnosed with a staph infection. When Rosa shared with Dr. Sinatra the divine revelations of healing that he had learned in his celestial travels, the cardiologist was shocked–the keys to solving the imbalance of energy that he had identified as the cause of most chronic illness were the same as those Tommy was relating. Until this point, Dr. Sinatra hadn’t thought about how they were all connected and now it all made sense.

A dinner conversation would propel Rosa and Dr. Sinatra to write Health Revelations from Heaven and Earth, a book covering spiritual revelations from Rosa’s NDE and putting a medical slant to it. “I was prepped for this incredible conversation as I had many NDEs in my own cardiac practice,” remembers Dr. Sinatra. Once Rosa had discussed how he learned not only the importance of “grounding,” during his NDE but other health topics Dr. Sinatra was espousing in his medical practice and at lectures, it was clear to both that a book project must begin. And it did.

Millions Experience NDE

Over the years, Jeffrey Long, M.D., a leading NDE researcher, has documented over 3,000 NDEs, posted on the http://www.nderf.org website. The practicing radiation oncologist says that this data base is by far the largest collection of NDEs, available in 22 languages, that is publicly accessible. Readers from over 100 different foreign countries access Dr. Long’s web site monthly. Over 300,000 pages are read from this website every month.

Meanwhile, Dr. Long’s website, notes that although most people who come near death do not remember anything, around 18% [like Rosa] later report that “something happened.” That “something” is often a near-death experience NDE, says Long. He notes a 1993 Gallop Poll estimated that 12 to 15 million Americans personally experienced a NDE. As of 2001, almost 600 adults per day across the nation experience an NDE.

In this book Rosa pokes a hole in the veil between the living and dead. He tells it like it is. Because of his NDE he does not fear death. “Death is only a new beginning,” he says

During his 40 years in medical practice Dr. Sinatra had been at the bedside of many of his dying patients. “Some I saved. Some I lost,” he said, acknowledging that being with his dying patients often frightened him.” Rosa’s spiritual journey and the lessons learned have brought peace to Dr. Sinatra, his co-author. “In a heartbeat he literally saved me from my own fear of death,” he says.

To purchase a copy of Health Revelations from Heaven and Earth, go to http://www.healthrevelationsbook.com.

Polls Say that America Gives Big Thumbs Up to Pope Francis

Published in Pawtucket Times on September 29, 2015

On a whirlwind trip to Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia over five days, from Sept. 22 to Sept. 27, Pope Francis, 78, has a jam packed public schedule for his first visit to the states.  While the media has released dozens of political polls over the last few months giving statistical predictions readers as to who is the GOP presidential frontrunner, last week they published poll results about the popularity of Pope Francis as he toured this country.

America Loves Pope Francis

With the Pope Francis’ arrival to Washington, D.C., to address Congress, a CNN/ORC Poll finds the Catholic pontiff has a high approval rating across the country and most Catholics approve of his comments even those considered controversial.

The pollsters say that almost 50 percent of Americans and 78 percent of Catholics note they are looking forward to the Pope’s first trip to U.S. soil.  While the Pope’s positive views have decreased slightly since December 13, 9 months into his papacy, three-quarters of Catholics still view him in a positive light.

The telephone poll, conducted from Sept. 4-8 among a random national sample of 1,012 adults), finds that the Catholic Church itself is viewed positively by 60% of the respondents, while 63% view Pope Francis favorably. Among Catholics, the church (88% favorable) outperforms the Pope (74% favorable).  The researchers note that this percentage difference may be due to Catholics who say they’re not sure about Francis rather than from negative impressions.

Comparing a worldwide snap shot of the Pope’s popularity to this country, the CNN/ORC poll findings indicate that non-Catholics (61%) say they have a positive view of Pope, the first Jesuit priest and Latin American church leader, and just over half of these individuals are looking forward to his American visit. Even those with a negative view of the Pope (17%) say they are looking forward to this month’s visit.

A recently published New York Times/CBS News poll also supports the CNN/ORC poll findings, that American Catholics like their Pope.  Eight out of 10 of his United States followers give thumbs up to the direction the church is taking under the Pope’s leadership, including a majority who approve strongly.

The telephone poll, conducted from Sept. 8 and 14 with Catholics on both telephone and land lines, also found that more than six in 10 Catholics worldwide view him favorably compared to just 3 percent who just don’t like him.  Pollsters say that his positive job approval ratings might be tied to his position on same-sex marriage, abortion, woman issues, immigration and distribution of wealth.

Another national poll, commissioned by Fox News, before Pope Francis’ arrival to this country, also found that the religious leader’s visit is viewed positively across the country and with Catholics, too.

Sixty-eight percent of Catholics view Pope Francis favorably.  That increases to a 73 percent favorable among Catholics who attend Mass almost every week, say the findings.  Among all voters, 55 percent have a positive opinion of the pope.

The telephone poll of 1,013 registered voters found the Pope is more popular among Catholic women (74 percent) than Catholic men (62 percent). The poll findings indicate that his comments on political issues, such as climate change and income equity, did impact on how Republicans and Democrats perceived him.

According to the Fox News’ poll, 38 percent of those who identified themselves as “very” conservative had a positive view of Pope Francis while only 35 percent of those respondents affiliated with the Tea Party movement viewed him favorably. However, among Democrats respondents, nearly two-thirds had a positive opinion of the pope (65 percent), while just over 50% of these voters  feel that way about the Catholic Church (52 percent favorable).

About half of all voters polled (51 percent) and three-quarters of Catholic (75 percent) have a favorable view of the Catholic Church in general.  Those attending Mass frequently (83 percent), view the religious institution favorably.

50-Plus Americans Favor Woman Catholic Priests

Finally, AARP, the nation’s largest aging advocacy group recognized for gather opinions of 50-plus Americans on health, finances and later life issues, puts Pope Francis on its polling list because his trip to the United State is considered to be “one of the most topical issues of the day.”

In this national telephone AARP poll, older Americans were asked their thoughts about the head of the Rhode Catholic Church’s leadership.  When asked “Do you think Pope Francis is leading the Catholic Church in the right direction?” seventy six percent of the respondents agreed. Thirty five percent of these respondents indicated to the pollster that they were Catholic or had at one point been a practicing Catholic.

Additionally, the AARP poll sought the respondent views about women becoming ordained as priests in the Catholic Church, a controversial and heated issue to many practitioners.  Of those surveyed, 66 percent of the older 50-plus respondents favored the change.  For this poll question, 37% indicated they were Catholic or had at one point considered themselves.  Of these respondents, 70% said the Pope should consider women priests.

Finally, the AARP telephone poll tossed in a question about the afterlife, asking the older respondents whether they believe in heaven and hell. Of those survey, 72 percent said they did.

With Pope Francis concluding his trip and heading back to Rome, last week poll findings indicate that the Pontiff is well liked by the American public and his flock, and that he’s leading his Church in the right direction. With the voters angry about continued political gridlock inside the Washington, D.C. beltway, presidential and congressional candidates can only pray to get Pope Francis’ off the chart polling numbers.