Last month, Mrs. Zimmerman channeled the saint during a meeting of the Toledo Lightworkers Co-op, a group of people who explore alternative spirituality.
"He'll make these pithy little comments. He has a wonderful sense of humor," she said. "One of the things that he insists is that we breathe deeply and we laugh - love, laugh, and breathe are his three words."
Oh, we're laughing, Dottie.
Apparently it took a word of encouragement from her adopted daughter, K.C., and her younger brother (and ex-Jesuit priest), Jim Uhl to start listening to the voices she once thought were only imaginary.
"In this dream I kept seeing a Merlin character," she said. "… So he [Mr. Uhl] said if he's reoccurring that much, there's some energy there that we need to look into, and he gave me a couple exercises where in fact I would start asking Merlin what he meant or why this happened in the dream. … And I would write answers, and it's like the answers would just come automatically. … Well, pretty soon I couldn't write fast enough, they were just going in the computer, and then one day he just says to me, 'You know, I am not Merlin. I am Padre Pio.'•"
Then why the funny hat?
"I revered this man. I put him on a pedestal - a big pedestal," she said. "So one day I said to him, 'How come me? You are one of my favorite saints, why are you talking to me?' He said, 'Well, because you have the gift. You have something that you have to do with it. You have this gift but you weren't accepting it. The angels kept telling you but you wouldn't listen, so we sent in the big guns.'•"(emphases mine)
The reason I highlight some of Dottie's message is to contrast it with authentic visions approved by the Church. Take, for instance, this communication between Our Blessed Lord and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque:
The saint begins by asking, "But, oh Lord, why dost though address Thyself to so miserable a creature, to so poor a sinner, that by her unworthiness she is calculated to hinder the accomplishment of Thy design, when Thou hast so many generous souls to execute Thy desires?"
He answers, "Dost thou not know that I make use of the weakest subjects to confound the strong? That it is generally in the most insignificant and the poor in spirit that I manifest my power, in order that they may attribute nothing to themselves?"
She accuses herself of being a miserable creature (remember now, this is a saintly nun living in a convent) and He confirms her accusation explaining that it is necessary lest anything be attributed to herself.
...but Dottie (a used-to-be-nun), Heaven tells us, "has the gift."
This whole story from Toledo would be amusing if only Mrs. Zimmerman were a used-to-be-catechist.
She is an award winning teacher of religion at a Catholic school.