The Miracles of Don Dolindo and the Surrender Novena

Abraham Gonzales of Uvalde, Texas, testifies to miracles, hope and the power of prayer.

Paolo Veronese’s “Christ and the Centurion,” and Don Dolindo Ruotolo (r)
Paolo Veronese’s “Christ and the Centurion,” and Don Dolindo Ruotolo (r) (photo: Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Three years ago, when the world felt like it was ending, I wrote an article about Servant of God Don Dolindo and the prayer Jesus gave him, the Surrender Novena. I never could have anticipated the overwhelming response that would follow. 

I have since received messages from people around the world, telling me of the graces, blessings and miracles they have received through praying the Surrender Novena. These graces have included emotional healing, spiritual conversion, job offers after unemployment, assistance with a peaceful death, physical healing, strength for caregivers, financial relief, help with resolving serious family problems and more.

Reading these testimonies, I have become increasingly convinced that there are exceptionally special graces attached to this prayer. It seems to me that the Surrender Novena is a spiritual time capsule — a gift that Jesus gave to Don Dolindo in his time, knowing that one day it would open a torrent of graces from heaven at a time when the world would need it most. The spirituality of trust and surrender has never been more needed than right now, and the Surrender Novena is moving hearts, changing lives and opening the door to miracles in utterly astonishing ways. 

The Surrender Novena has even helped to save people’s lives. One of those people is a man named Abraham Gonzales. 

A year and a half ago, Abraham sat in a Catholic church near his home in Uvalde, Texas, and begged God for help. He had no idea what to do. His beloved wife, Maricela, had been diagnosed with brain cancer. The aggressive and debilitating glioblastoma had rendered her unable to work at her job as a child psychologist, and Abraham, a gym coach at the local elementary school, was struggling to make ends meet for their family while caring for his wife and their four children. The bills were piling up, and the Gonzales family was at risk of losing their home.

That same afternoon, Abraham found the Surrender Novena on his Hallow app. He began praying it immediately, and continued praying it every day after that. 

The graces he received were immediate. The family was able to keep their house, and the problems that had seemed insurmountable suddenly became manageable. From Abraham’s perspective, these graces could only be explained as a miracle that he attributed to the Surrender Novena.

He continued to pray it daily, sometimes praying all nine days on the same day. He listened to it at work in his earbuds and in the car through the Hallow app. It gave him strength to persevere through the trials he was facing as he cared for his beloved wife in her illness. 

On the morning of May 24, 2022, Abraham dropped off his children at three different schools, as he did every morning. Maricela’s seizures made it impossible for her to help with driving the children to school, so Abraham brought them before going to his job at Robb Elementary. 

After dropping off his youngest child, Abraham started listening to Day 4 of the Surrender Novena on his Hallow app while he drove to work. Every single day before May 24, Abraham had always parked in the same place: the school’s back parking lot. His school had two parking lots — an ungated lot in the front and a gated one in the back. He always went through the gate and parked in the back.

On this morning, though, as he pulled up to the back parking lot, the Surrender Novena he was listening to was still not finished playing. Abraham looked at the gate and decided to keep driving around the corner to the front parking lot, so that he could finish the prayer without interruption. He parked his car in the front lot and went to the PE area to start his day. 

At 11:25 a.m., his lunch duty ended and his 30-minute personal lunch time began. Every day, when his lunch break started, Abraham would race to his car so that he could drive home, check on Maricela and get her something to eat before he rushed back to school. Normally, he would run to the back parking lot, but on this day, as soon as his lunch duty was over, he ran to the front parking lot instead.

As he ran to his car, he heard a crash. Then a call came over his walkie-talkie: A man had jumped the fence — 15 feet from the gate of the back parking lot — and had a gun. 

Abraham looked toward the gate and saw the man raise his gun and begin shooting. Immediately Abraham began yelling at the children and teachers on the playground to warn them to run for cover. 

In the horrific hours that followed, the gunman killed 21 children and teachers. 

Why some people survive and others die is a mystery that only God can answer. Yet in every tragedy, in every horror, in every unthinkable suffering, God is there. He is there, and he is working miracles. And his miracles are proof that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).

Some of those miracles might be hidden from our eyes. We might never see them until heaven. But others, he allows us to see, that our faith might be renewed. 

“You see evil growing instead of weakening?” Jesus says in Day 4 of the Surrender Novena — the same words Abraham was listening to on his way to school that morning. “Do not worry. Close your eyes and say to me with faith: ‘Thy will be done. You take care of it.’ I say to you that I will take care of it … and I will accomplish miracles when they are needed.”

Abraham’s lunch duty had ended at 11:25. The first shots were fired minutes later. If he had parked in the back parking lot, as he did every single day leading up to this one, he would have encountered the gunman there. According to news reports, the gunman was shooting at everyone who was in his way. 

That day, Abraham knew almost instantly that because of the Surrender Novena, through Don Dolindo, Jesus had saved his life. The weight of this realization was so heavy in that moment that he couldn’t move. He just began praying out loud. 

If Abraham hadn’t been praying the Surrender Novena that day — if he had parked in the back lot as he always did — his wife would be battling brain cancer today without him to take care of her. Their four children would have been left without a father. 

Instead, he has been able to take care of Maricela over the past year as her condition has worsened. This past March, she spent weeks in the ICU after a tumor growing in her cerebellum caused a hemorrhagic stroke. Thanks be to God, she is now recovering and regaining her strength.

It has been a time of tremendous suffering for their family. Yet as their trials have increased, so has their faith. Abraham has received miracles from Jesus through Don Dolindo, and now he is praying that Don Dolindo isn’t finished yet. With this hope, Abraham is asking for one more miracle: that Maricela may be healed through the intercession of Don Dolindo. 

Padre Pio called Don Dolindo a “saint” and said the “whole of Paradise” was in his soul. From what I have seen over these last three years, I believe he is a powerful intercessor for our time. Jesus chose to give the world the Surrender Novena through Don Dolindo, and its graces are changing the world. Miracles are happening. And I believe there are more to come.

Please join me in praying that one of those forthcoming miracles is for Maricela, and that, through the intercession of Servant of God Don Dolindo Ruotolo, she may be healed. 

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!