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Testimony of Kathy Jones

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"I was raised in a devout Lutheran home in New York and always believed in God, but from my teen years onward I rejected organized religion, believing it was created totally by man and not by God. After marrying Ed and reluctantly agreeing to raise our children Catholic, I told him, ' Don't EVER expect me to become Catholic. You have to be born that way - you'd have to be crazy to choose it voluntarily! ' I rejected the Church's teachings, thinking they were made up by men who had nothing better to do than make people feel guilty and miserable. I occasionally went to church with my family, but found it profoundly boring.

"In 1987 I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and had major surgery which revealed that it had spread to lymph nodes. I went through intensive sessions of chemotherapy and radiation, but the future looked grim and the inevitable recurrence constantly loomed over my head. During one of my hospital stays I cried out to God, saying, ' If You're really out there, please take this despair away and let me accept the fact that I'm going to die before my children are grown. ' I waited, but felt no peace and concluded that there wasn't anybody out there that really cared - prayer was just wishful thinking. To make matters worse, Ed's employers relocated to Dallas Texas during my recuperation, and I was sure I would end up dying there without my extended family support system in New York.

"Through a bizarre set of circumstances that only God could orchestrate, I drove my mother-in-law to a prayer meeting in January 1990, and reluctantly ended up in the room with a rosary placed in my hands. I desperately wanted to run out, but politely stayed while the group prayed, and actually began to pray with them. A profound sense of peace suddenly came over me, fear left me and I was filled with hope - my whole life changed that day through the intercession of Our Lady of Hope... the Queen of Peace! In October of that year Ed and I went to visit her shrine in Medjugorje (and during the pilgrimage it became evident that God wanted St. Francis of Assisi to be a special intercessor and guide for my life). We went to see Fr. Jozo Zovko in Tihaljina. He blessed me and prayed with his hands extended over my body. This was a powerful experience. My friends told me that I had received a healing. Today I am still cancer-free. I still don't know whether this is a miracle or a simple result of medical care. But the most important grace I received then was a spiritual healing. This formerly skeptical, irreverent woman joyfully became Catholic the following Easter of 1991, and daily reception of the Eucharist has been the heart of my day ever since. My husband Ed, now a deacon, reminds me how I used to tease him about going to Mass every Sunday, and how I refused to let a priest come into my hospital room, even when I was heavily drugged with morphine! As part of my ministry now, I bring our Eucharistic Lord to those who are ill in the hospital and pray with them. With God, NOTHING is impossible.

"Now, I experience a deep joy within me and I'd like to do anything for the Blessed Mother. It is such a treat to be in her school of love. Pray the rosary! Listen to our Mother's messages and LIVE THEM! She tells us: ' If you knew how much I love you, you would weep for joy. '"



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