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Updated: Mar 27, 2023


By Fr. Nigel W.D.Mumford+

At the time I was the Director of the Oratory of the Little Way a retreat center for healing in Gaylordsville Ct. a one and a half hour drive from Ground Zero.

Date line 11th Sept 2001 Kent Ct. USA

On the morning of that fateful day we were preparing for the weekly healing service at the Gaylordsville Methodist church. People started coming in giving us updates on what was happing in New York City.

We spent the morning on our knees praying...

Three weeks after 9/11 I was invited to go to

“The Pile” at ground zero to minister to those in need. It was a one and a half hour drive. I was given a code to pass through the military cordon. I spent a very emotional day at St. Paul’s Chapel with fire fighters, cadaver dogs and other personal. I spent some time with a young lady who was leading the volunteer group. She had not been debriefed. She took me to the back of St. Paul’s to view what was left of the Twin Towers. She opened the window... I shall never forget the smell that invaded us. Concrete dust and rotting flesh. A smell I hope that I will never smell again.

We stood for a long time in silence and then she started to tell her story. It was as if we were in a painting... locked in time. The smell and the story... she had seen many jump from the buildings... she was very descriptive as she downloaded the raw pain that this twenty seven year old was carrying. I so wish I could remember her name. If you are reading this please contact me.

As I was in the chapel, in a hushed and reverent tone it was announced that a left arm of a female with a wedding ring had been found. It was the arm of a flight attendant. It was a most Holy and poignant moment.

The next day I was driving back in Connecticut and turned on the air in my car. I was hit by the same concrete and death smell. I had to pull off the road and get out of my car... a very private moment of grief.

Two years later a woman came to the Oratory for grief ministry. She told me that “They were lucky” they found a part of her daughter. The left forearm. What a God moment that was. She had told me that she wanted to see me for two years and had not had the courage to connect. I told her I was there the day her daughters arm was found. She told me that had a very small coffin for her funeral...

I am now sitting still and staring, lost in thought, as I reflect and remember those horrific terror filled days.

To those babies born around that time and those who had lost their dads, you will be voting this year... in the healing process, time seems to be paused, we can go there in an instant. It feels that it just happened.

Lynn and I were married five days after 9/11 on Saturday 15th Sept.

As my new wife and I were driving to Ground Zero three weeks later,down West Side highway, the twin towers were noticeable gone. It looked like New York had had a double mastectomy...

Around that time I ministered to a very deaf Sargent from the British Artillery who had served in Italy in WW2. He was fine, no Post Traumatic stress at all since his combat experience. Until he saw the headlines of the newspapers. “Three thousand killed” he then went into full blown PTS. All those years later... he had reckoned he had killed about three thousand with the artillery shells that he had launched in WW2...

Time to stop and be still...

“Peace I give to you... My peace I leave with you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” ~Jesus.

Be well, do good works and for the sake of God, love one another.

Fr. Nigel W.D. Mumford+


Healing Grace and Peace be with you, Fr. Nigel+


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