The Shrine of the Holy Innocents: When the Lord Heals, He Goes Even Deeper

For fourteen years, my husband John and I have traveled around the world, bearing witness to the healing presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist as well as Our Blessed Mother’s presence at Medjugorje.

Every morning I awake, my feet hit the ground, and—in my soul—the words have been the same since our 2003 pilgrimage to Medjugorje: “Thank you Jesus, for healing me of an inoperable brain tumor and all the pain I suffered for almost three years.” He has allowed me to see that when He heals, He even goes deeper!

A woman who heard our story at a conference told my husband once, “You must be married to a very holy woman, that the Lord should decide to heal her!”

John looked at me, then back at her with a grin on his face.

“Oh, if you only knew her past!” he teased “Jesus said, ‘I did not come for the righteous, but for the sinner!’”

All I could say in response was, “Yes, it is great what the Lord has done by healing me of my inoperable brain tumor, twenty-four-hour pain, and all other illnesses—but the greatest healing is what took place within my soul.”

No Choice but to Follow

Years ago, we received an invitation to speak in the Boston area, and John was unable to attend Despite this, I was happy to go, because I met a native Bostonian by the name of Maureen O’Connor in Medjugorje; she soon became my best friend.

“Have you ever been to the Shrine?” she asked while I was staying with her in Boston.

“No, but I would love to go!” I replied enthusiastically I knew priests from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception order—such as Father Donald Calloway and Father Matt Lameroux whom we met on speaking engagements and pilgrimages—but I had never been to the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy.

The weather had been cold that month of November As we started on our drive to the Shrine, the roads were slippery due to heavy, slushy snowfall.

“Maybe we are not to go,” I said doubtfully “Look at the roads—they are so bad! Let’s turn back.”

“No don’t worry,” Maureen insisted “It’s like this all the time in the winter in Boston!”

Somehow, I was not reassured I kept my Rosary beads close in hand as the wipers went from slow to fast mode, pushing away the hunks of ice and of snow that had been pounding the windshield. It was only later that Maureen shared the prompting she felt to not stop, but to make sure we made it to the Shrine!

Maureen tried her best to keep our conversation going, talking about St. Faustina and many other things to keep me from becoming a back seat driver who was not handling the road conditions very well! She drove non-stop to the Shrine, and as the snow was finally letting up a bit, we arrived to see cars already lined up and the doors closed. We couldn’t believe it! We drove like crazy to make it there on time. A feeling of sadness reached our hearts, realizing we were late and Mass had already started—we missed the Gospel we were sure! We knew enough about our faith to understand that missing the readings was almost like missing the whole of the Mass.

Maureen looked at me woefully “Well, perhaps we could go into the gift shop and even pick up some Mass cards while we are there.” I nodded and thought that was a great idea.

There were so many people I wanted to have Masses said for, knowing it is a gift that offers the highest form of prayer for our departed or sick loved ones.

Fr. Kaz

As we walked through the hall, a priest greeted Maureen. It was apparent they recognized each other, and I later learned that they met at a medical conference. Maureen introduced me to Father Kazimierez Chwalek, also known as “Father Kaz.” As he shook my hand, he looked at me and said, “I know you, I believe we’ve met.”

“Oh no, Father, this is my first visit to the Shrine,” I replied.

With a puzzled look on his face, he said to me, “You look very familiar to me, I have met you somewhere.”

Maureen smiled knowingly “Father Kaz, perhaps you have seen her speak at conferences or parishes—or maybe you have seen the DVD about the miraculous healing she received through the Holy Eucharist of an inoperable brain tumor during a pilgrimage to Medjugorje.”

He smiled and said, “That’s it I have shared several copies of your DVD! Would you mind sharing your testimony with us so we can have it on our website?” Knowing very quickly that the Lord had once again opened the doors for me to bear witness, I replied immediately:

“Yes, I would be glad to!”

Moving on, Father Kaz asked, “Have you been to Mass yet?”

Maureen spoke up: “Father, we just finished driving in this terrible snowstorm and we were a little late. So no, we missed Mass.”

Father smiled and answered, “Well, you will join me now, and I will say another Mass after we do the taping of your testimony.”

As we walked to the Church, Maureen and I looked at each other, realizing how Jesus knew what we wanted the most of, and that was receiving Him in Holy Communion!

After Mass and the recording of the testimony, Father Kaz took us on a tour of the Shrine Daylight had now turned to evening quickly. Realizing the long drive ahead of us in this cold wintery night, we put our coats on and got ready to thank him and say our goodbyes.

Before we could do so, Father Kaz gave us a strange look and said directly, “Wait, I want to show you something I will need a flashlight, but don’t go yet I have to bring you somewhere.”

I glanced at Maureen, wondering what in the world this lovely, kind priest could be talking about.  A flashlight? Where are we going?

Father Kaz opened the back doors and all I could see was a total darkness outside. The only thing reaching our senses was the crunching of snow as he led us to the back area over the sloping ground Though it as very difficult to see, I could tell we were on a hillside with trees in the distance. It was pitch black out there!

I began to grow nervous. Wanting to deter and change our path, I said, “Father, I don’t even have proper boots on to go down this hill.”

“Don’t worry,” he said with a reassuring voice, “Just grab my arm and I will help you I need to bring you here and show you something.”

My eyes quickly turned to Maureen. “Is he crazy?” I mouthed. “What are we doing outside, in the back, in the dark?” She smiled and shrugged her shoulders. After seeing the two of them begin to work their way down the slippery, snowy hill, I knew I had no choice but to follow.

As I held on to Father Kaz and Maureen, all I kept thinking was, Lord, you obviously brought me to the Shrine so more people would know about the healing in Medjugorje, but what is your priest doing now? Jesus was silent in response, but I felt like it was time for me to say what St. Faustina entreated all of us to pray: “Jesus, I trust in you. ”

“Father, How Did You Know?”

I held on to the arms of my companions, sliding carefully down the hill to our unknown destination. Finally, we reached flat ground, and the beam of the flashlight light touched the pavement of a sidewalk.

Thank you Jesus—we made it! I celebrated internally.

Then something very strange happened. We stepped out onto the sidewalk and—without saying a word to each other—we all looked down again, and exclaimed almost in unison: “It’s dry!”

“Do you have heated sidewalks, Father?” I quipped.

Father Kaz just smiled “No,” he replied, reassuring us that everything was unfolding according to God’s plan, and we were recognizing his movement! As we continued forward, I saw we were approaching another building.

Father took his keys out of his pocket, and said to me, “When you were about to leave, I felt the Lord tell me I needed to bring you down here.” He turned the keys in the doorknob and, with a switch of a light, I saw walls in all different colored tiles, with names on them.

Where are we? I asked myself in wonder.

“This is the Shrine of the Holy Innocents,” Father Kaz offered, answering my unasked question.

“These tiles are in memory of all the babies who have been aborted, or lost through miscarriages.”

Then, without warning, he turned to me and said, “You will see when you get to Heaven how much your own child was inter ceding before God for your healing.”

Standing inside the Shrine, surrounded by mosaic tiles, I saw names written by loved ones to their unborn child I held my hands to my face, tears streaming down and a heart gushing forth, I asked, “Father, how did you know?” He then shared with me his prompting from the Lord: he felt in his heart that I had an abortion in the past, and he was instructed to bring me here.

His words kept ringing in my ears:

“You will see when you get to Heaven, how much your own child was interceding before God for your healing!”

Memories flooded my mind I told Father Kaz everything…

The rest of this article can be found in the new Spring 2018 Signs and Wonders Magazine Volume 28#1/2Become a member today!

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