NEWBERG — It was late summer 2011. As usual, George Edmonston woke early to make coffee. His wife, Lucy, was still abed. Then he heard her talking. Alarmed, he entered the bedroom and asked what was happening.

She told him she had heard from the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“I told her, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’” recalled Edmonston, a faithful Catholic but also a veteran journalist not easily given to mystical ventures.

Lucy told him he probably would not believe her, but she had had a dream in which Mary asked her to buy roses, sell them and give the funds to the Father Taaffe homes in Salem.

After a pause caused by utter shock, the best Edmonston could muster was a skeptical, “Oh yeah?”

Lucy was not Catholic when she had the dream and had no idea who Father Taaffe was.

“It sounds crazy but it’s the absolute truth,” said Edmonston, who spent 30 years working in publications at Oregon State University and has written more than 100 columns for the Newberg Graphic. “I am not smart enough to make this up.”

A devoted husband, he assisted Lucy in her project. He thought they’d earn $15 or $20 and then things would peter out. “Boy, was I wrong,” Edmonston said.

In the course of the last eight years, selling roses has earned $25,000 for the Taaffe homes, which a local donor has matched. The ministry is operated by Catholic Community Services of the Mid-Willamette Valley.

“This is not a story about me or my wife, but about the generosity of this little parish and their belief in what good this does,” said Edmonston. “This ministry doesn’t happen without the people here.”

The pair wed in 1996 and loved to travel to small towns of the United States. Lucy, who had been raised Mormon in Salt Lake City, became Catholic in 2011. She worked in care homes and with special needs children.

Lucy died of breast cancer in 2016. Edmonston, now 73, has carried on the rose project in her memory and because of his own enhanced faith. Each fall he buys more than 250 roses with his own money and seeks donations after Masses at St. Peter. Parishioners have taken a flower for as little as five cents and as much as $2,000.

Lucy saw the ministry as a right-to-life effort. She was zealous for the unborn. She and George appreciate the Father Taaffe homes, which offer housing to young mothers in need, those who might otherwise have had abortions.

Edmonston, a Louisiana native who served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, has written books focusing on local lore and personalities, including “Tales from the Grubby End.”

He always maintained a journalist’s healthy skepticism. But Lucy’s vision and then the success of the rose sales got him thinking. “It was a slap in the face,” he said. “The world is full of miracles, and if you don’t see that you are not paying attention.”

Each fall, on the table with the roses and a donation jar, Edmonston keeps a picture of Msgr. Charles Taaffe, who founded his first home for unwed mothers in 1974. There also is a 2-foot-tall statue of Mary, painted and finished by Lucy.

“God acts in ways that are just mind-boggling,” Edmonston said, recalling that Mary appears to poor and marginal people, not popes or royalty. “I have a hard time putting my hands around it.”

The Catholic Daughters of the Americas, to which Lucy belonged, and the Knights of Columbus have stepped forward to help with the rose sales. Edmonston is a past Grand Knight.

“We hope other parishes might start a similar event,” said Jim Seymour, president of the pastoral council at St. Peter and retired executive director of Catholic Community Services.