Season 8

Episode 819: “The Bells Of St. Peter’s”

Episode 819: “The Bells Of St. Peter’s”
Original Air Date:May 4, 2002
Written by::Glenn Berenbeim
Directed by:Robert J. Visciglia, Jr.
Produced by:

Martha Williamson
Jon Andersen
R.J. Visciglia, Jr.

Guest Cast:



Doris Roberts


Mare Winningham

Brian Tom Vereca

Rose is the loving mother of Maggie, an oncologist. She is also her office manager, a meddler in her personal affairs, and a collector of various superstitions and faiths. In an attempt to ease tension in Maggie and her husband Brian’s marriage, Rose has planned a trip to Rome. She is counting on her son-in-law and daughter to insist on accompanying her. She thinks that if they make the trip to Vatican Square on Easter Sunday to hear the bells of St. Peter’s Cathedral, the miracle they need will happen. She has even gone so far as to hire Monica to temp in the office while they are away. Unfortunately things don’t go according to plan. When a patient named Annie dies, Maggie is devastated, closing herself off to Brian, and canceling their plans for Rome. Rose tries to persuade her, but Maggie erupts in anger at her mother’s meddling. She even takes Rose’s fatigue to be nothing more than a sympathy ploy, her blood-work however tells another story. Rose has leukemia.

Maggie becomes utterly focused on saving her mother, but continues to keep Brian at a distance. She tries to get her mother to agree to a cranial shunt, a bubble-like apparatus that will administer her doses of chemotherapy, but must be installed in the top of her head. Rose refuses, saying that she bought a new hat for Easter in Rome, and it won’t do to have something sticking out of her head.

Several weeks pass as Rose takes the more painful form of chemo, and Maggie becomes more isolated and obsessive in her attempt to save her mother without actually connecting with her. Just before Easter, Rose, at her weakest, attempts to leave the hospital and catch her flight. She collapses just outside. When they get her back inside, the diagnosis is poor, Rose isn’t expected to live through the night. As Maggie stands in the room with her dying mother, Tess, who has been posing as a hospital administrator, gives her a revelation. Despite the sense of Tess’s words, Maggie is still reluctant to believe. Meanwhile Rose wakes up, stepping clear of the bed and out of her body. Andrew is there, ready to take her to heaven, but Monica intercedes, telling him that she has a message for Rose. Andrew nods and exits, leaving Monica to talk to Rose. She tells her to trust in God, not to immerse herself in the various superstitions and sayings that she is so fond of. She tells her that she can’t go out in search of miracle, true miracles come to you with the love of God. Rose nods and listens, weeping with joy as the peal of the bells of St. Peter’s echo throughout the hospital room.

The next morning, brings with it a miracle that even Maggie cannot refute, Rose is alive, and her cancer is gone. Maggie is overjoyed, and finally breaks free of her emotional shields. She has no choice but to believe the truth of Tess’s words and to work at being the best in all aspects of her life, not only professional but personal as well.

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