2017-08-09 / News

Hiker’s mother relied on the power of prayer

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By Joan Lawrence-Bauer

Rose Lamicela’s family was visiting the Catskills before she was born and the matriarch of her family cannot remember a time when she didn’t call the region “home.” Now, well into her 80s and insistent that her real age not be told, she talked with this reporter on Sunday evening about the panic and fear that set in when she learned her 60-year-old son, Wayne was lost in the woods with darkness approaching.

A devout Roman Catholic and congregant at her home parish in Brooklyn as well as Sacred Heart Parish in Margaretville, Lamicela did the only thing she could do. She prayed. After her son was found and taken to the hospital, she looked back on everything that had happened, everyone who had helped, and felt profoundly grateful and blessed. “I believed that whatever the Lord wanted would be,” she added. “But I’m so grateful it ended this way.”

Though he had left the house late Tuesday morning for a hike, Lamicela was used to her son’s long walks and did not become concerned until late in the afternoon. As the clock neared 6 p.m., she called her daughter-in-law, Jean to say that Wayne had not returned and Jean told her to call 911 immediately. According to Rose, Wayne also knew by this point that he was lost and he too called 9ll.

“We started the first night with the state police,” said Lamicela. “The next day, the rangers (Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers) came. Every night they had meetings. They told us what they had done and what they were going to do. It was frightening because the area they had to search was so large.”

Gathered her friends

As professionals and volunteers mobilized to search, Lamicela mobilized her friends to pray. “The priest from my home parish in Brooklyn was actually in Italy visiting the St. Anthony (of Padua) Shrine. For Catholics, St. Anthony is known as the patron saint of lost things, lost people, lost causes, and lost hope. His shrine in Padua is the termination point of thousands of pilgrimages each year and when Rose’s priest called her in Arkville, he told her he was saying a Mass there for her son. “He told me people all over the world were now praying with us,” she added. “It helped us survive this emotional roller coaster.”

Saturday, Rose and Jean had to grocery shop to take their minds off the search and to serve family members who had come to stand by. “When we got back, we saw the ranger’s van in the drive and we knew there must be some news. I went up to him and said what I’d been saying. ‘Give me some good news!’ and when I saw his smile, I knew Wayne had been found.”

Though a mother’s worst fear was avoided, Lamicela said the experience was simply horrendous, even after Wayne was found. “The nurse said he had mud from his fingers to his elbows. We can only imagine what he’d been through.” But she said, by Sunday night, he was joking. “He was light, more like himself. He promised me he’d never do that again.”

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