Friday, February 29, 2008

Urgent Prayer Need

Many of you who have been to Rome City between 2001 and 2004 may recall Father Robert Hoevel (Retired 93 years old) who came to live at Sylvan Springs after major heart surgery in 2001. Many people who met him there thought he would never leave the beautiful grounds. They assumed he would pass away there...and soon.

Well, as you might expect, Our Lady of America had other plans and Fr. Hoevel made a very strong comeback while living here and saying Mass every day. He was instrumental in starting the Friday Night Rosary group and he took care of the pastoral needs of anyone who happened to stop by unannounced. He has been a major influence on all of us who know and love him.

On Tuesday of this week, Father Hoevel fell and broke his hip at Saint Anne's Home. Fortunately, he had medical care immediately available. After the surgery to repair his hip he began to have breathing difficulty and so doctors have now put him on a ventilator. Anyone who knows Father Bob knows this is a very difficult thing for him. He needs our prayers at this time.

Please include Father Robert Hoevel in your prayer intentions.
Better yet, if you can take a moment to send him a card or quick note, it would really make his day to know Our Lady of America's children are thinking of him.

Father Hoevel came to know about Our Lady of America in rather dramatic fashion back in 2001. He has been praying for all of Her children to accept the call to purity ever since.

Please send your cards to:

Father Robert Hoevel
Saint Anne Home
1900 Randallia Drive
Fort Wayne, IN 46805

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Earthquakes and Tornadoes On The Rise

Over the past 108 years, there has normally been one 8.0 magnitude earthquake recorded around the globe each year. Last year there were four of these killer quakes recorded.

Since 1990, there has been an average of 134 6.0-6.9 earthquakes each year. As of Feb 28, there have been 33 so far in 2008. That is almost 50% increase over the annual average.

Last year there were 569 MORE 5.0-5.9 earthquakes than the annual norm...this is a 45% increase over the average number of reports since 1990.

The United States normally has 24 tornadoes reported between January 1 and February 28. So far this year, there have been over 243 reports of tornadoes...OVER TEN TIMES THE NORMAL RATE!


For all the people around the country calling for change, an opportunity exists for them to do something heroic in ending the culture of death that has been fostered since Roe v. Wade. Unfortunately, NONE of the candidates are talking about REAL LIFESAVING ISSUES.

As a country, the United States is about to pass the 60 Million mark in abortions...that is 10 times the worst estimate of the number of Jews killed by Nazi Death Squads during WWII.

If you want leadership, look to Our Lady of America and Her messages...everything else coming out of these candidates' mouths is "just words".

Hold on everybody...the normal tornado season STARTS this weekend.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Chaste Living

Concern over pornography was expressed in a publication approved by the November 2007 meeting of the U.S. episcopal conference: “Catechetical Formation in Chaste Living: Guidelines for Curriculum Design and Publication."

Chastity, the document explained, “is not a matter of repression of sexual feelings and temptations but the successful integration of the gift of sexuality within the whole person.”

One of the pitfalls identified by the text is the misuse of the Internet that enables easy access to virtual pornography. Sexually explicit content in blogs, instant messages, and posting photos on social networking Web sites are also other avenues that violate chastity.

“Pornography defames the intimacy of the marital act and injures the dignity of viewers and participants,” the guidelines observed. “Christians are to shun all participation in pornography as producers, actors, consumers or vendors."

More catechetical instruction and education is needed in order to help us appreciate the value of chastity, the document commented. It might also help to remember what Benedict XVI mentioned in his Feb. 7 remarks on images and beauty.

God can liberate us from “the inflation of images,” the Pope said. In fact, he continued, through Christ’s incarnation God has shown us his image. Convincing the world of the beauty of the truth revealed in Christ may well be the key to overcoming the allurement of impoverished images that only degrade our humanity.

Hey Mom and Dad....have you checked the browser history on your kids' computers? How about your own?

Friday, February 22, 2008

From the Mailbag: Hand of Hope

A picture began circulating in November. It should be 'The Picture of the Year,'or perhaps, 'Picture of the Decade.' It won't be. In fact, unless you obtained a copy of the US paper which published it, you probably would never have seen it.

The picture is that of a 21-week-old unborn baby named Samuel Alexander Armas, who is being operated on by surgeon named Joseph Bruner.

The baby was diagnosed with spina bifida and would not survive if removed from his mother's womb. Little Samuel's mother, Julie Armas, is an obstetrics nurse in Atlanta. She knew of Dr. Bruner's remarkable surgical procedure. Practicing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, he performs these special operations while the baby is still in the womb.

During the procedure, the doctor removes the uterus via C-section and makes a small incision to operate on the baby. As Dr.Bruner completed the surgery on Samuel, the little guy reached his tiny, but fully developed hand through the incision and firmly grasped the surgeon's finger. Dr.Bruner was reported as saying that when his finger was grasped, it was the most emotional moment of his life, and that for an instant during the procedure he was just frozen, totally immobile.

The photograph captures this amazing event with perfect clarity. The editors titled the picture, 'Hand of Hope.' The text explaining the picture begins, 'The tiny hand of 21-week- old fetus Samuel Alexander Armas emerges from the mother's uterus to grasp the finger of Dr. Joseph Bruner as if thanking the doctor for the gift of life.'

Little Samuel's mother said they 'wept for days' when they saw the picture. She said, 'The photo reminds us pregnancy isn't about disability or an illness, it's about a little person.' Samuel was born in perfect health, the operation 100 percent successful.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Acts Chapter 2, Verse 20

Two things that happened on 2/20/08
The United States Navy successfully shot down an errant satellite at 10:26 pm.

The full lunar eclipse produced a spectatcular display in the sky above us. The moon appeared to be red.

If we look at our bibles, we will find at Acts 2, Verse 20:

Peter Addresses the Crowd
14Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning!
16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 'In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19I will show wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.

20The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.

21 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.'

Did You Know...?

There have been 2814 Total Lunar Eclipses Since Joel Made This Prophecy.

Ten Of These Eclipses Have Occurred On The 20th Day of The Second Month Of The Year.

Only One Of These Ten Eclipses Has Appeared Red At Night...Last Night! All Of The Others Took Place During Daytime In Those Areas Where The Eclipse Would Have Been Witnessed.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

John Leary Message Feb 13, 2008

Are these ominous warnings just more of the same "sabre rattling" we have been ignoring for so many years? Or are they something we should be paying greater attention to these days?

Jesus said: “My people, many times I have told you that the only sign, that I will give, is the sign of Jonah. Jonah was reluctant to tell the people of Nineveh about its coming destruction because he was fearful that they would kill the prophet of doom. After his experience in the sea, he finally carried out My call.

Jonah said: (Jonah 3:4) “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed.” At this the people were shaken and they repented, and put on sackcloth and ashes, and I relented from destroying that city.

Now, America, I proclaim to you the same warning. If you do not repent and change your lifestyles of sin, you also will meet with destruction from natural disasters, terrorism, and riots in chaos. Nineveh repented and was spared, and if America repents, I will spare you from this destruction as well.

You saw the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the destruction of Jerusalem. So you know that I will carry this out if you do not repent. I told you that this will be like a year as no other, so it is up to your people to heed My warnings, or you will be facing worse destruction than you have ever seen before. I did not give a long time to change, and you have been warned to wake up for many years. Now My justice must fall on your country, America, for you have not answered My plea in the right way in your actions.

Prepare for your destruction and prepare your souls with repentance in Confession. I will provide protection for My faithful at My refuges, but the rest will suffer much at the hands of the evil ones.”

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

John Leary Feb 4, 2008

Jesus said: “My people, you know of the story of Lourdes with St. Bernadette discovering a newly formed spring of water at the grotto where My Blessed Mother appeared. This was a confirmation of her messages as being true, and many have been healed by drinking and bathing in these miraculous waters.

The vision of the sky is where the luminous cross will appear over the places of My Blessed Mother’s apparitions, as in Lourdes. These places will be refuges of protection for My faithful during the tribulation. All of My refuges will have springs of healing water, as well as healings by looking on the luminous crosses.

Learn from My Blessed Mother’s messages and all the miracles that she was instrumental in performing to give heaven’s confirmation and approval of what was being said. It is difficult for man to believe in such apparitions, but he must be open to heaven’s communication through gifted messengers. Discern and test what is given, but remain open to heaven’s leading you to follow My Word.”

John Leary
Feb 4, 2008

Monday, February 18, 2008

Red Marbles

We have always liked this story.
I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.

'Hello Barry, how are you today?'

'H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas. They sure look good.'
'They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?'

'Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time.'

'Good. Anything I can help you with?'

'No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas.'

'Would you like to take some home?' asked Mr. Miller.

'No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with.'

'Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?'

'All I got's my prize marble here.'

'Is that right? Let me see it' said Miller.

'Here 'tis. She's a dandy.'

'I can see that. Hmmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?' the store owner asked.

'Not zackley but almost.'

'Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble'. Mr. Miller told the boy.

'Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.'

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said, 'There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.'

I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado, but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.

Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could .

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts...all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket.

Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband's bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.

'Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim 'traded' them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size....they came to pay their debt.'

'We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,' she confided, 'but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho .'

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.

The Moral : We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.

It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Feb 12, 2008 Message From The Mail

This message was posted just two days before the recent massacre at Northern Illinois University. The next day, newspapers were flooded with photos of desperate people praying for help.

What would have been the outcome if there had been a moment of private prayer/reflection BEFORE the class began?

Jesus said: “My people, people are social beings and you need to help each other to survive in this world. This message is about being open to share with each other both in your physical and spiritual needs.

How can you sit back with your wealth and possessions while your neighbor is poor and starving? You are called to help your neighbor in their needs.

In the same way you cannot hide your knowledge of the faith under a bushel basket, but you must be open and share your faith with others in conversions. In a different way I want you to be open with Me as well in the way that you pray.

Some only come to Me as a last resort when you cannot handle something on your own. Instead of coming to Me only out of desperation, you should ask Me to help you in everything every day. You should give Me praise, adoration, seek My forgiveness, and give thanks in addition to your prayers of petition.

As the priest mentioned in his homily, you can even be open to Me by being silent so you can give Me time to speak to your heart. This contemplative prayer allows Me to have a working relationship with you, so I can direct you on your mission to follow My ways instead of your ways. So instead of keeping to yourself, and depending only on your means, you need to be open with Me and your neighbor so you can receive help from Me and those around you.

Sharing yourself with Me and others will give you a joy and a rest that your soul is seeking.”

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Can you hear Our Lady of America cheering?

Rome, Feb. 15, 2008 ( - The prefect of the Congregation for Religious has lamented that many Catholic priests are neglecting their duties under the pressure of conforming to secular culture.

In a February 14 interview with the Italian ANSA news agency, Cardinal Franc Rode said that priests today tend to be less obedient to the Church and more responsive to the world. He cited reluctance to wear clerical dress as a symptom of this trend.

“A drift towards bourgeois values and moral relativism are the two great dangers that weaken religious life," said the Slovenian cardinal. "The biggest problem today is the climate of secularization-- present not only in Western society but also within the Church itself.”

Cardinal Rode said that young people continue to hear God's call to a vocation in the priesthood or religious life. But he suggested that a lax model of priestly or religious life is not likely to encourage vocations. As evidence the cardinal pointed to the young Catholics who are attracted to contemplative life in highly disciplined religious orders. "They are attracted because it is a radical life choice," he said.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Another Personal Testimony


Hope all is well with you, Lynn and your family. Was going to post this on the blog, but wanted to remain anonymous. However, as long as you don't use my name, feel free to use my account.

I felt compelled to tell you about my improvement (health wise). Please share this with Irv too, since I took part in the healing service he led on July 27th.

In the last two weeks, so many people - parishoners, friends, family, even my son's boss have all used the same phrase, "You look like a different person." I got to thinking that if you saw me you too would not recognize me. I tell them all the same thing, "It's because of Rome City (Our Lady of America).

My affect, posture and mobility have gradually and dramatically improved. When I visited the Springs in July, I was hunched over and often looked less than alert. My husband could tell, (better than I could), how alert I was by my eyes, which were often glassy in appearance. Because of this, my kids did not want to be seen with me when in public. And my son said I would say strange things that were off the subject. One friend pointed this out too telling me I had trouble keeping up with the conversation. At Mass, one of the few outings during the week, I would be hunched over with my head down. Now, though I still tire easily, and can't drive due to fatigue, my posture is much better. I sit up straight and am actively engaged in conversation most of the time.

The most dramatic improvement is my mobility! I had to use a walker, and a cane prior to the walker (which I used at my daughter's wedding in 2005). If I had to go any distance even the walker didn't suffice. And my arm strength wasn't good enough to "wheel" myself, so I used a motorized wheelchair. When I visited Rome City, I only brought the walker since you provided a golf cart that my husband drove when we toured the grounds and went to Holy Family Hill. Even with the golf cart, walking up Holy Family Hill was a real challenge. I still can't walk long distances , but the fact that I can walk without an assistive device is such a blessing. Now the motorized wheelchair and walker are gathering dust, and I "forgot" I had the cane until I saw it behind the desk in the corner last week!

Although I still have other health problems but my improved mobility is truly a blessing.

God Bless

Monday, February 11, 2008

Happy 150th Anniversary Our Lady of Lourdes

Our Lady of Lourdes statue stands watch in the Our Lady Mother of Mercy Chapel at the spot where the Our Lady of America apparitions first took place in 1956.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI Comments on OLTIV

What did Our Lady of America mean when she referred to herself as the "Immaculate Virgin?" Pope Benedict XVI explained this title in a homily on Dec. 14, 2005:

What does "Mary, the Immaculate" mean? Does this title have something to tell us? The liturgy illuminates the content of these words for us in two great images.

First of all comes the marvelous narrative of the annunciation of the Messiah’s coming to Mary, the Virgin of Nazareth. The Angel’s greeting is interwoven with threads from the Old Testament, especially from the Prophet Zephaniah. He shows that Mary, the humble provincial woman who comes from a priestly race and bears within her the great priestly patrimony of Israel, is "the holy remnant" of Israel to which the prophets referred in all the periods of trial and darkness. . . .

In the humility of the house in Nazareth lived holy Israel, the pure remnant. God saved and saves his people. From the felled tree trunk Israel’s history shone out anew, becoming a living force that guides and pervades the world. Mary is holy Israel: She says "yes" to the Lord, she puts herself totally at his disposal and thus becomes the living temple of God.

The second image is much more difficult and obscure. This metaphor from the Book of Genesis speaks to us from a great historical distance and can only be explained with difficulty; only in the course of history has it been possible to develop a deeper understanding of what it refers to.

It was foretold that the struggle between humanity and the serpent, that is, between man and the forces of evil and death, would continue throughout history. It was also foretold, however, that the "offspring" of a woman would one day triumph and would crush the head of the serpent to death; it was foretold that the offspring of the woman - and in this offspring the woman and the mother herself - would be victorious and that thus, through man, God would triumph. . . .

What picture does this passage show us? The human being does not trust God. Tempted by the serpent, he harbors the suspicion that in the end, God takes something away from his life, that God is a rival who curtails our freedom and that we will be fully human only when we have cast him aside; in brief, that only in this way can we fully achieve our freedom. . . .

He himself wants to obtain from the tree of knowledge the power to shape the world, to make himself a god, raising himself to God’s level, and to overcome death and darkness with his own efforts. He does not want to rely on love that to him seems untrustworthy; he relies solely on his own knowledge since it confers power upon him. Rather than on love, he sets his sights on power, with which he desires to take his own life autonomously in hand. And in doing so, he trusts in deceit rather than in truth and thereby sinks with his life into emptiness, into death. . . .

We live in the right way if we live in accordance with the truth of our being, and that is, in accordance with God’s will. For God’s will is not a law for the human being imposed from the outside and that constrains him, but the intrinsic measure of his nature, a measure that is engraved within him and makes him the image of God, hence, a free creature.

If we live in opposition to love and against the truth - in opposition to God - then we destroy one another and destroy the world. Then we do not find life but act in the interests of death. All this is recounted with immortal images in the history of the original fall of man and the expulsion of man from the earthly Paradise.

Dear brothers and sisters, if we sincerely reflect about ourselves and our history, we have to say that with this narrative is described not only the history of the beginning but the history of all times, and that we all carry within us a drop of the poison of that way of thinking, illustrated by the images in the Book of Genesis.

We call this drop of poison "original sin." Precisely on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, we have a lurking suspicion that a person who does not sin must really be basically boring and that something is missing from his life: the dramatic dimension of being autonomous; that the freedom to say no, to descend into the shadows of sin and to want to do things on one’s own is part of being truly human; that only then can we make the most of all the vastness and depth of our being men and women, of being truly ourselves; that we should put this freedom to the test, even in opposition to God, in order to become, in reality, fully ourselves. . . .

If we look, however, at the world that surrounds us we can see that this is not so; in other words, that evil is always poisonous, does not uplift human beings but degrades and humiliates them. It does not make them any the greater, purer or wealthier, but harms and belittles them.
This is something we should indeed learn on the day of the Immaculate Conception: The person who abandons himself totally in God’s hands does not become God’s puppet, a boring "yes man"; he does not lose his freedom. Only the person who entrusts himself totally to God finds true freedom, the great, creative immensity of the freedom of good. . . .

The closer a person is to God, the closer he is to people. We see this in Mary. The fact that she is totally with God is the reason why she is so close to human beings. For this reason she can be the Mother of every consolation and every help, a Mother whom anyone can dare to address in any kind of need in weakness and in sin, for she has understanding for everything and is for everyone the open power of creative goodness. . . .

As a merciful Mother, Mary is the anticipated figure and everlasting portrait of the Son. Thus, we see that the image of the Sorrowful Virgin, of the Mother who shares her suffering and her love, is also a true image of the Immaculate Conception. Her heart was enlarged by being and feeling together with God. In her, God’s goodness came very close to us.

Mary thus stands before us as a sign of comfort, encouragement and hope. She turns to us, saying: "Have the courage to dare with God! Try it! Do not be afraid of him! Have the courage to risk with faith! Have the courage to risk with goodness! Have the courage to risk with a pure heart! Commit yourselves to God, then you will see that it is precisely by doing so that your life will become broad and light, not boring but filled with infinite surprises, for God’s infinite goodness is never depleted!"

Let us thank the Lord for the great sign of his goodness which he has given us in Mary, his Mother and the Mother of the Church. Let us pray to him to put Mary on our path like a light that also helps us to become a light and to carry this light into the nights of history. Amen.

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Mother's Story...Part IV

Years later, after the completion of Greg’s treatments, we had a large party for him (December 2004). People sent and brought letters about how Greg’s fight and faith impacted their lives. After reading these letters (at least 100 or more of them) it was clear to us why Greg needed to endure the more than three years of suffering, despite the fact that he was healed from his cancer only nine days after his diagnoses. (After nine days of desperate prayer, beginning with the day of his diagnosis, our prayers were answered when we went to Sylvan Springs. It’s as though our prayers unknowingly, were a nine day novena.) These letters explained conversions of souls through Greg’s suffering and faith. People returned to church, to prayer, to Jesus. It was clear to us after all this time what the plan was, beginning the night in 1999 that Jesus and Mary appeared to me. The Blessed Mother simply used us to help build an army for her Son, Jesus. Yes our son had to suffer through more than 80 chemo treatments, 20 in his spine, in order to do her work. Somehow it is OK with us. Many days are still emotionally painful with memories and our humanly fear that we could be brought to this painful place again.

I continue to consecrate our family and our day to Mary and Jesus each morning. Just this past October I noticed the image of the Blessed Mother on our calendar and recognized it as the image I had seen in our bedroom. She is entitled Our Lady of Good Remedy and her feast day is October 8, the anniversary of the marriage of my husband and me.

Sylvan Springs and each of the reassuring messages along the way that The Blessed Mother sent will forever be in our memories….alongside the horrifying memories of our son’s suffering. The suffering that was for a common good. If nothing else, the Blessed Mother gave us an opportunity to teach a five year old child to unite his suffering to that of his Savior on Calvary.

Greg decided in 2005 to write a book for other children who are newly diagnosed with cancer to help them cope with and understand their disease. The book offers hope to these children. He titled his book God Healed The Little Boy. The process of publishing took until 2007. The website for the promotion and sale of his book was completed on September 27, 2007, the anniversary of his healing at Sylvan Springs. The email confirmation I received stated this exactly: “God Healed The Little Boy September 27.” Yet another confirmation that Greg was healed September 27 (2001).

The book was published on October 5, his birthday. Both Greg and his story, of fight and faith, continue. September 27 is also the feast day of St. Vincent de Paul (patron saint of our church) and of St.s Cosmos and Damian (patron saints of druggists and doctors). True representation of both the faith and the fight.

From a Mother’s perspective, embrace every moment presented to you that could strengthen your faith. It could be part of a plan God has to prepare you for something in your future. Embrace the fact that you have been given a divine privilege to raise the body and soul of any children the Lord has blessed you with.

Now, as Greg is 12 years old, I thank God for every chance I get to serve my husband and children while the opportunities are here. As mothers, we don’t know how long God is planning on leaving His children with us, to accomplish the task given to us at the moment of conception: to teach our children to know, love, and serve their Lord and Savior. Mother Mary is always there to guide us and is lovingly there to intercede for us and bring us to the work necessary for building the Kingdom of God. Our family is nothing special or out of the ordinary. We just had a job to do. We don’t know how or why it all started. We just know what we lived and the miracles we experienced. Do I wish we could have done this “job” without our son having to suffer? Yes. Did God “give” our son cancer so He could work through us to convert souls? Maybe. Did He “allow” the cancer for the same purpose? Maybe. Did Satan give our son cancer and the Blessed Mother interceded turning it into glorious resurrection of souls converted? Maybe……
Phone: (260) 482-2659

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Mother's Story...Part III

The next morning we were due back at Riley’s for a ten day check and a scheduled platelet transfusion. As we got in the car Greg asked us why we were going and said “I don’t have cancer anymore.” A blood test that day showed no more cancer cells in his blood and a heightened platelet count to the extent that he did not need the transfusion. They sent us home and turned us over to Lutheran Children’s Hospital in Fort Wayne for a coordinated effort of care for Greg. As we shared with the Fort Wayne oncologist (a beautiful Catholic man) our suspicion that our son was healed, he said he believes in miracles but that typically the cancer cells do come and go a lot during the first 28 days of treatment and therefore strongly recommended we continue treatment. So we did…..just as the protocol said….. for 3 ½ years. This 3 ½ years of our life I simply cannot put into words. The suffering was gruesome, the fears overwhelming, and the emotional taxation draining. So, those 3 ½ years I must skip…it is too painful and too long.

Throughout these first days after returning from Riley’s as we continued the hideous chemo treatments, numerous neighbors and friends told us of “feelings” or dreams they had that indicated to them that “we had been chosen for this.”

On September 30 we returned to Sylvan Springs (for what reason I cannot remember) and the owner told us he had a dream that we were to read John 15:16-17 and that our family had been chosen for some special purpose. Tom wanted to read it immediately, but Larry said he did not have a bible there but it was important that we read it in our own bible.

When we returned home, Tom immediately got out his Bible to look up the Bible verse. His bookmarker was already there and the verse was highlighted. Read it. What another beautiful sign from above that we are loved by our Lord who may be asking something of us…..yet we knew it would not be revealed to us entirely quite yet because then in our Bible was a note that referred us to another passage (I cannot remember it) that stated there is more to come but it will be revealed to us later. Needless to say as we proceeded on through the treatments, we were thankful for the faith that God had begun building in us in 1999, while desperation grew that faith even more. In our hearts we knew our son was healed but in our humanness we very much lived and existed fully entrenched in the pediatric oncology world thinking that if our oncologist was correct, we were doing the right thing proceeding with chemotherapy. There was absolutely no bargaining with this deadly disease. Those cancer cells NEVER showed up again.

Then came Greg’s 6th birthday…..the one we feared he would not make it to. My parents brought his cake to our home for a small birthday gathering for Greg. When they arrived, the back of one of the decorations on the cake said “You Have Been Chosen.” Incidents like these continued. Some examples that come to mind: one evening Greg and Tim were at the kitchen table having a bedtime snack. I was upstairs putting away laundry. Tom was out of town. Greg alone saw balls of fire dancing around our statue of the Blessed Mother in the backyard. Frequently he would tell me the Blessed Mother would call his name “Gregory, Gregory.” When Greg’s nightmares began, we started to suspect what was going on in our life, the purpose of it all. He (at the young age of 6) would have repeated nightmares about a physical fight with Satan. Each time in his nightmare he would state “Satan, I rebuke you.” And St. Michael the Archangel would appear and finish the fight for Greg. No two nightmares were the same but all involved the fight with Satan. We began to see that Greg’s cancer may be part of a spiritual battle. Then one time on the Feast of the Guardian Angels, Greg prayed and asked Jesus to reveal the name of his Guardian Angel to him. He really wanted to know.

We were on our way to Abba House Catholic Bookstore, a favorite hangout that was safe for Greg’s low immune system. Some days we would spend hours there as the boys would collect Holy Cards. On our way, Greg said that he continued to see the letter “M” in his mind and thinks the name of his Guardian Angel began with an “M.” Then just before we arrived at the store he said the name of his Guardian Angel is Michael. I said, “Well let’s pray for a confirmation!” Just then a car cut me off and as I was about to yell about it I noticed the sticker on the back: “St. Michael the Archangel.” Then when we arrived at the store Greg noticed a painting of St. Michael he really liked and wanted to hang by his bed for his bad dreams. As the owner got the picture down for Greg to look at more closely, a man walked in the store. Dennis, the owner, seemed shocked…..the man was the painter of the St. Michael picture. He autographed it for Greg and gave it to him. I guess we got our confirmations.

Then, a lady approached me and gave me a rosary out of her purse. She said, “I don’t know you but I have such a strong feeling that you need this. I got it many years ago in Medjugorje and have kept it in my purse since I was there. The Blessed Mother told me someday I would know when I meet the person who needs it next.” I was so touched, not just by her generosity but by the immense love of our Mother Mary. I remembered the image of Our Lady of Medjugorje in my car from 1999. Also, in the meantime we found out we were expecting our third child. I was so concerned about how I would care for Greg when not feeling well due to pregnancy, how I would get myself to prenatal appointments and get Greg to his oncology appointments at least weekly. On top of it all, how would I get a new baby to all the wellness appointments and get Greg to all of his oncology appointments? How would we manage a new baby in the middle of the night and Greg in the middle of the night awake from nausea or extreme hunger due to his steroid treatments? Not to mention that some baby vaccines are not allowed in the homes of oncology children because they are live vaccines and could actually make our baby contagious with the given disease to Greg. I knew this too must be a part of the Plan when we went to our first obstetric appointment. My physician gave us the due date of September 18, 2002. I am certain any reader of this story can figure out the significance of that date. Something to look forward to on the first anniversary of the worst day of our lives!

But baby Fean was not born on September 18, rather she was born on September 3, the Feast of St.Gregory the Great! Just months after the birth of Mary Therese, we received news from Greg’s oncologist at Riley’s that Mary’s cordblood (collected at birth) was a perfect match for Greg. In other words, if his cancer were to ever return, he would need a bone marrow transplant and Mary would save his life. Just another sign that THERE IS A PLAN.

To be continued....

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Mother's Story...Part II

Now I return to the year 2001, to the month of April (just months before Greg got sick). My husband had just received a promotion that moved us from South Bend to Fort Wayne. We were thrilled. Our boys were five and three years old. We quickly found our church family at St Vincent de Paul Catholic Church. In fact we found the parish before our home and insisted our realtor find us a home close to this parish.

During that summer we received a book in the mail, Challenge and Change, about consecrating families to The Blessed Mother. There was no return address or any indication from whom or where this book came. But I decided to read it none the less. I was deeply touched and inspired by the book. Also, during that summer Tom was invited to a men’s group in Elkhart where Fr. Larry was speaking. Tom was introduced to, among many men, Irv Kloska. Immediately upon shaking hands Irv told Tom he had to go to his car to get something for Tom. Tom thought, “How can you have something for me when you don’t even know me?” Irv returned with a scapular medal for Tom that he said was blessed with Mary’s tears. He told Tom, “Wear this. You will need this some day. It will bring about many miracles.” Tom’s next thought, “My life is great. How could I need any miracles?” But he immediately placed the medal on his chain. Within weeks Greg started exhibiting signs (that continued throughout the entire summer) of what we later learned was cancer.

After a summer of pain, sickness and many ER and doctor visits, numerous misdiagnoses, we finally got the news on September 18, 2001 that Greg’s blood was 30% cancer. We called friends and family to ask for prayers as we left for Riley Children’s Hospital the next morning. By the time we got to Riley’s his blood was 43% cancer. When we left Riley’s to return to Fort Wayne on Sunday, September 23 Greg’s leukemia cells were 0, with a warning that they would reappear from time to time until day 28 of treatment. Again, what took place during that time, the fight for life, is a different story. One that I don’t think I could EVER place into words. In fact, the entire 3 ½ years of chemotherapy is indescribable for me.

When we returned home there was a message from Irv Kloska stating that he would like us to call him. In the frenzy of bringing our very sick son home we failed to return the call. Irv called again on September 26. Irv said that on the day we left for Riley’s (September 19) the Blessed Mother told him as he prayed the Rosary after mass that Tom Fean had a son who needed to be consecrated to her. Remember, Irv had only met Tom once that summer and knew nothing about Tom, not even that he has a son. Later Irv said his daughter told him, “The Fean’s have a son who was recently diagnosed with leukemia.” She had heard through the grapevine.

Suddenly the message from the Blessed Mother made sense.

As I spoke with Irv he shared his desire with me to meet us and pray over our son. He suggested we meet in Rome City at Sylvan Springs the next evening (September 27). I had never heard of this place but it was a half-way point. Now that I look back, it seems strange that a married couple, in a time of absolute crisis, with a very sick child would go to a strange place to have strange people pray over him. We did this without any thought or even discussion.

That night (September 26), before our trip to Sylvan Springs, I was awakened by the smell of roses. There stood the Blessed Mother, next to our bed. She was standing with her arms outreached down toward me. Again she did not speak to me but somehow communicated to me that she was lovingly in control and that everything would be OK. This time she was dressed in beautiful regal colors and her garments were covered in brilliant jewels, especially on her crown. SHE WAS QUEEN.

The next day September 27 we met Irv at Sylvan Springs. With him was a priest (Fr Hoevel), the owner of Sylvan Springs (Larry Young), Irv’s friend (John Thomas) and Irv’s oldest son (Bobby Kloska). I must mention that Tom and I had known some of Irv’s children through the years. We recognized Bobby knowing we had met him before. The first thing I did was show them the back of I Am Your Jesus of Mercy with the image of the Blessed Mother as she appeared to me 2 years prior in my car. I knew this was significant; as I mentioned, the experiences in my car in 1999 came back to me while sitting at Greg’s hospital bed in 2001. The image of the Christ Child ……He was five years old and had Greg’s face. Now my five year old son Greg was fighting for his life. Immediately Bobby responded that he knew the author of that book, which happened to be a book about the personal experiences of the author with visions of the Blessed Mother. I then learned that the image is “Our Lady of Medjugorje“.

We proceeded to the chapel and prayed. Irv and Bobby placed their hands on Greg as Irv read a consecration prayer to the Blessed Mother, much like in the book Challenge and Change I had received from an unknown person the summer just prior to Greg’s diagnosis. Irv consecrated Greg to the Blessed Mother under the title "Our Lady of America" and prayed to Sister Mildred Neuzil to intercede for us on behalf of Greg.

Irv then instructed Tom to lift Greg up to touch the cross that had once belonged to Sr. Neuzil. It was she who had documented accounts of her canonically-approved apparitions of Our Lady of America when she resided at Sylvan Springs in 1956. Our Lady wanted America’s children to lead the world by the purity of their lives.

To be continued....

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

As Promised...A Mother's Story


On September 18, 2001 every parent’s most HORRIFYING fear became reality for our family. Our five year old son, Greg, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, cancer of his blood. Our world was turned upside down. Our son was dying. To save him, the first of nearly 90 chemotherapy appointments, thousands of chemo pills and hundreds of blood tests, began the next morning. Without all of this they told us he would not make it to his 6th birthday, only 16 days away.

Suddenly, we were depending on complete strangers to keep our son alive and we didn’t know enough about the battle he was fighting to advocate for him. I felt overwhelming fear and an anger toward God, “How could You do this to my son?” But then it happened. I realized the problem…the word “my”. Greg, my son, is really God’s son. God has entrusted the body and soul of this little boy to me. I knew that if God would allow me to continue with the awesome privilege to be Greg’s mommy that I had a lot I needed to learn, both about Leukemia and about faith. But I also know that since Greg belonged to God, God could very well call His son home. That had to be OK with me, I had no choice. So I came to the conclusion….Greg belongs to God, his cancer does not. No matter the outcome Greg would be free of his cancer, either here on earth with us and in remission, or in heaven with His Creator, free from his little cancer-stricken body. And so the fight for life and faith began. The fight I am going to share with you is the one of faith. The fight for life and the pain that came with it and still exists in our hearts is an entirely different story, despite the fact that it is completely connected in God’s divine plan to the faith story as they took place simultaneously.

During our 2001 hospital stay, memories of events that had taken place in 1999 came back to me and suddenly began making sense. So if I may, I must back up now about two years, before I continue with 2001. After the birth of our second son (Tim) in April 1998, the Good Lord offered me, through my hard-working husband, the opportunity to be at home full time with our boys so I thought this to be a perfect time to start attending Holy Mass each day. I also found myself with a desire to learn more, much more, about this beautiful faith we call The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. During my quest I read a book I highly recommend, The Apostolate of Holy Motherhood. Through this book and daily mass Christ inspired us to, among many other things, begin a daily family rosary. As we were growing in our faith I also joined a group of friends in book discussions and the support of a life of holy motherhood.

In 1999, one evening on the way home from this group meeting, as I drove I looked in the rearview mirror which reflected an image from the back window of my car. The image I saw was of Jesus as a child. I could tell His mother was holding Him but could not see her. This image appeared a few times. Never did He speak to me yet somehow He made it known to me that He was five years old. But what stood out to me even more was the fact that he had my son’s (Greg) face, who was at the time three years old. Then there appeared an image of the Blessed Mother. This also appeared a few times. Again, she did not speak to me but yet I knew she was comforting me; for what I did not know.

When I got home the experience kept me awake but I could not bring myself to wake my husband and share it with him. I found myself afraid and certainly not willing to share it with anyone for fear of being judged. I was downright stunned. I even wondered if I was “crazy.” Many months later I finally shared my story with my husband and my friend from whose house I was driving that night. The next month at our mom’s group a woman sitting across from me at the table held up a book, I Am Your Jesus Of Mercy, to suggest we read it next. Sitting directly across from me as she looked at the front of the book I saw the back, and on it was the image of the Blessed Mother that I had seen in the car months prior. That was the last experience for some time. But our growth in our faith continued rapidly. Unknown to me at the time, God was strengthening us for what was going to happen to our Greg two years down the road.

To be continued...

Monday, February 4, 2008

Pope Is Praying for Mentally Handicapped

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 1, 2008 ( Benedict's general prayer intention for February will focus on the well-being of the mentally handicapped.The Apostleship of Prayer announced the general intention chosen by the Pope: "That the mentally handicapped may not be marginalized, but respected and lovingly helped to live in a way worthy of their physical and social condition."

Friday, February 1, 2008

Your Letters

This letter came in today from an ex-WAY member who resided here in the 80's. If you listen, you will witness a woman in the midst of a spiritual conversion.


I have been reading through your OLTIV site with much interest. I once lived on the Rome City grounds when I was involved with a group (The Way International) that I left many years ago, and now believe was very wrong-headed about God, Faith, etc.

It concerns me that you mention a recent need to start moderating your comments section and I am sincerely hoping no former members of this group (TWI) are the ones at fault. I have met some of them who are quite bitter and destructive these days!

While I am not currently practicing any particular faith, and have never been a Catholic, I have always felt that the Kneipp Springs grounds were a deeply spiritual place. You could feel it when you walked the path around the hill. You could feel it when you sat in the chapel (even stripped as it was then of nearly all of its ornamentation). I think it is a good thing that you are doing, trying to reserve the place as holy ground.

I am wondering if I might still be able to visit the grounds some time? Take your Friday night tour? May I sit through your service (or is that only for practicing Catholics? -- pardon my ignorance of your faith) I am currently trying to re-assess my own spiritual path, and I can't help but think a visit to this wonderful place would help me in this process.

Thank you for your response.

She was called immediately to let her know, in no uncertain terms, that she, and anyone else of open heart, is always welcome.

By her own testimony, and that of many other ex-Way, she was feeling the true presence of Our Lord and Our Lady when they were sitting in that chapel or walking about the grounds. It's just that under their directors' "spiritual direction", none of this was even allowed to be discussed. It wasn't part of The Way. Even though they did not accept Her Son for who He truly was (The Son of God), She was always there.

The Way members knew nothing of the true spiritual history of the facility. They knew nothing of Our Lady of America and the special blessings brought by Our Lady's presence. They knew nothing about any of it.. But they always FELT something.

That something was always Our Lady's loving presence.

"Bring me my children. Bring me ALL of my children".

We talked a bit about her past experiences as a member of The WAY and her current relationship with organized religion. I encouraged her to continue reading and to become involved in discussions locally to help her in her quest.

If she ever makes it back to Rome City, she'll find what she left there 20 years ago. And more!

Communion On The Tongue

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