Paula Marinoni is a real estate agent by day and an evangelist by night.
Over the past 13 years, the lifelong member of St. Joseph Parish in Fayetteville has distributed tens of thousands of prayer cards to the Arkansas Catholic Charismatic Conference and parishes around the diocese at no cost.
Marinoni became inspired to begin the ministry during an experience in the adoration chapel in 2010.
“I was crying because a very close friend of the family was dying and you know, in that moment, you just feel helpless,” she said. “And this one, lovely woman walked over to me in adoration and hugged me and handed me a pamphlet that was a Divine Mercy Chaplet for the sick and dying.”
Although Marinoni was unfamiliar with the Divine Mercy Chaplet at the time, the pamphlet explained what it was and how to pray it, and this had a profound impact on her.
“From then on, I didn't feel helpless,” Marinoni said. “I felt like I was given the way to connect with this. That's all she had to do was walk over and hand it to me. And from then on, I thought that I could do something for other people. So I started ordering little prayer cards on how to say the rosary, and I started putting them out. Whenever I would get some extra money, I would order more cards and sneak them out. But nobody knew where they were coming from.”
From then on, Marinoni felt a calling to do more. She contacted her aunt, Mother Virginia Marie, a Carmelite nun in La Plata, Md., and the two collaborated to create a St. Michael the Archangel prayer card as they had done several times in the past. Marinoni printed the prayer cards and pamphlets about the rosary, and she kept her parish stocked with them in order to help and encourage people through the pamphlets.
When she saw the demand for the prayer cards and pamphlets, Marinoni knew she could do more. She ordered thousands of copies, both in English and Spanish, to hand out for Divine Mercy Sunday.
As more and more people began using them, Marinoni wanted to expand the types of prayer cards she was putting out to include the St. Gertrude prayer.
“The St. Gertrude prayer was a hard one to find the right version of and the right explanation of why you say it,” she said. “Jesus promised St. Gertrude that a thousand souls would be released from purgatory every time it was said, and that's an incredible thing.”
Marinoni reached out to her Carmelite aunt in late 2020 to see if she could use the monastery’s printer to print 15,000 St. Gertrude prayer cards.
“So I ordered them, they came, and I said, ‘Lord, this is great. This will last me a long time,’” Marinoni said. “And I heard the Lord say to me, ‘That's not enough. Place the order again.’ I'm thinking it's funny because I wouldn't have gone out and ordered 30,000. So I contacted my aunt and I said I want to order another 15,000. And what was also funny is they didn't balk at it at all.”
Marinoni is also helping her aunt’s order by providing them with sets of 10 prayer cards to send to everyone who orders from their gift shop website.
Recently, Marinoni collaborated with her aunt once again to print 50,000 St. Michael prayer cards.
“In working with the nuns, I asked for an image of a ‘less threatening St. Michael and a less gross devil,’” she said. “Something that would be comforting, inspiring, inviting and even be an image that a parent could share with a child to learn the prayer and take up the devotion.
“I am offering them to parishes for free with the only stipulations that they are not sold or even an offering asked for and that they not be left on a shelf and forgotten about. If any priests would like to order some for their parish, they can email me, and I will send them at no cost.”
Contact Marinoni at .
Please read our Comments Policy before posting.Article comments powered by Disqus