One Saturday they found themselves left without a penny, without a morsel of bread or food of any description. The wife was very infirm, the husband was sick and obliged to keep his bed. The day was passed in suffering, and when the night came they had eaten nothing. They wept and they prayed. The Sunday which followed was still more terrible. In the evening positive want drove the poor old woman forth with the intention of asking help; but when she tried to speak shame prevented her, and she returned to her room more exhausted and discouraged than before. For forty-eight hours they had eaten nothing. Their faces were pale and wan, their strength was almost gone.
"We must die, my poor wife," said the old man; "God has forsaken us."
The poor old woman did not answer. But a little time after she raised her head, and cried, as though struck with a sudden inspiration:
"Let us invoke the Blessed Virgin! She is the comforter of the afflicted and the refuge of those who suffer. She will deliver us. Wait," she added, " I have one little candle left. We will light it before her image; Mary will come to our aid."
The unfortunate people, reanimated by this last hope, rose with difficulty, and in the midst of the darkness of the night they found the candle, lighted it, and, placing it before a little statue of the Blessed Virgin, which had found no purchasers because it had no material value, they knelt down, and, leaning against each other, called to their aid her who is never, we are told, invoked in vain.
They wept bitterly. . . .
A workwoman who lived opposite, in the same street, had a sick child. She got up in the middle of the night to give it something to drink, and looking out of the window perceived the light in the little window of her two poor neighbors. She knew them a little, as they always spoke to each other when they met "Can those poor people be ill then?" she wondered. And urged by some instinct she put on her things, took a lantern, and went in to see them. She pushed open the door, and a heart-rending sight met her eyes. The two poor old people, gasping for breath and reduced to the last extremity, were rather prostrate than kneeling before the image of the Mother of the Saviour. Then they acknowledged their pressing want. The charitable neighbor hastened home immediately to fetch them broth and bread, and other little provisions. She comforted and ministered to them. The following day she went to tell the "Cure" and the president of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Both came at once to these unfortunate people, and kindly reproaching them for not having sent to them before, gave them immediate help, to be followed soon by more substantial assistance.
A few days after, as a crowning blessing, a little heritage came to them from a distant relation, and thus, forever secured from poverty, they relate to all who care to hear it the truly miraculous assistance which they received from the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Without the little candle, or rather without that confidence in Mary which suggested to them the pious idea of burning it before her image, the kind neighbor would not have come to their aid, and they would have died of want before the arrival of the heritage.
Source: "The Faith That Never Dies of The Priest of God in the Catholic Home,"
A coloring picture for the children can be found below.