The Audubon Sanctuaries: The Irma Story

September 10, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

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Sept 10 - 1Red Admiral Today I visited the Fred Archibald Sanctuary for the first time in a while, and although I did not go intending to photograph butterflies, I was pleased to find a Red Admiral feeding on some goldenrod.  It reminded me of one of my favorite encounters from July of 2013, back when I was in my year of daily photo walking.  It certainly bears repeating today, because it is a story of hope and faith.

Sept 10 - 2Sept 10 - 2 On that particular day, I was visiting the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, and inside the bascilica I met Sister Pat, from Michigan.  She was a docent that day, and we got to talking. 

I mentioned photographing butterflies, and she launched into the most amazing story about her friend Irma, who had recently died at age 60 from cancer.  Irma was sure she was going to heaven, and before she died, she told Sister Pat that she would come back after her death and visit her as a butterfly. 

Sept 10 - 3Sept 10 - 3 After Irma's death, Sister Pat came out of mass one day to find that there was a butterfly on her car.  She took pictures of it, and it flew to the handicapped parking sign, then returned to land on her chest.  Sister Pat talked to the butterfly, addressing her as Irma.  When she opened the door to her car, the butterfly flew inside. 

Sept 10 - 4Sept 10 - 4 Sister Pat drove to Irma's house to show Irma's husband the butterfly.  Butterfly Irma stayed inside the car, posing on the windows so that Sister Pat could take pictures.  Later, Sister Pat let the butterfly go free.  Sister Pat looked in a butterfly identification book and found that the butterfly was a Red Admiral.  When telling her chiropractor about this incident, he wrote down the name and then scrambled the letters.  He found "Irma Ladder" within the scramble.  Sister Pat believes that this butterfly was Irma's ladder to heaven.

Now I have to tell you, I am not a Catholic, nor am I a regular churchgoer, but it is stories like this that confirm my belief that there is a higher power, and that one only needs to look as far as nature for evidence.  

To raise funds for hurricane relief, please consider purchasing a butterfly print from my Wings of Hope collection.

<Thanks for reading my blog entry, which is part of a personal photography project to bring attention to and to benefit the Audubon Sanctuaries in Central Maryland:  Fred Archibald Sanctuary in New Market, MD, and Audrey Carroll in Mt. Airy.  The sanctuary is owned and managed by the Audubon Society of Central Maryland.  Volunteers are always needed to help with sanctuary management.  Copyright 2017 Cam Miller.  All photographs are for sale upon request.>



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