We tend to lose our faith when bad things happen, noted a
parishioner of St. Louis Church in Alexandria. It could’ve happened after the
69-year-old’s purse was stolen from the passenger seat of her car. Instead, God
sent Fairfax County Police Officer Matthew Pleva “to help me get through,” she
On the evening of Feb. 21, the woman, who wants to remain
anonymous in order to give credit to Pleva, was walking from her hair salon
when a man pushed her, grabbed her purse from the car and ran. She screamed for
help, and a woman from the salon heard her and called the police. Pleva arrived
on the scene and calmly reassured her. Though the thief is still on the loose,
the purse was found later in a nearby trash can. Sadly, it was missing several things,
including her rosary.
Fairfax County Police Officer Matthew Pleva reads a card
thanking him for replacing a rosary that was stolen from a victim’s purse. ZOEY MARAIST | CATHOLIC HERALD
The rosary originally belonged to her best friend's mother, who
was a woman of great prayer. She had prayed the rosary so frequently that she
wore Jesus’ body off the small crucifix. After her friend's mother died, she
received the rosary.
As Pleva listened to the woman describe the items missing from
her purse, “You could see it was something special,” he said.
It reminded Pleva of his own grandmothers, who would always bring
their rosaries to Sunday Mass. “I felt obligated that (the victim) have her
rosary for church,” he said. Pleva, a parishioner of Church of the Nativity in
Burke, reached out to Father Wilson I. Korpi, parochial vicar, who gave him a
pink rosary. That Saturday, Pleva showed up on the woman’s doorstep with a
smile on his face.
“I’ve got something for you. You can’t go to Mass tomorrow
without a rosary,” he said.
The woman was touched. “It brought a tear to my eye,” she said. “It
was just a moment of real joy.” The next day she brought the rosary to Mass,
and she will pray with it — especially
during her Tuesday morning adorations.
The woman wrote a card thanking Pleva, and also sent a letter of
praise to his station commander. “Police get a bum deal sometimes and I felt
that he was an outstanding officer,” she said. “He’s doing his job in a caring
Now, the pink rosary serves as a reminder of a stranger’s
kindness and the good that God can accomplish through evil. “The first rosary
was important because it was my best friend's mother who passed,” she said. “This
is special because someone cared enough for me to go find one.”