The above quote from John is my favorite and it is the quote that was a catalyst for me as we worked to build Joseph’s House. Our hope and prayer at Joseph’s House is to always be fruitful branches on the Vine that is Our Lord Jesus Christ. Some days it’s easier to see the fruit than others and in the past few months we seem to have a bumper crop made up of a series of miracles we never saw coming our way.
Since our fifth anniversary celebration on March 19th of this year the miracles have included three more newborn babies making us a family with 55 newborn children who will forever call Joseph’s House their first home. The newborn miracles are what one might expect at a home like ours, however recently we have been gifted with a series of unexpected and somewhat phenomenal happenings we will refer to as The Monica Miracles.
Monica, born and raised in Ghana, Africa, came to us on March 26th of this year through a referral from our friends, the Sisters of Life. She went to the Sisters because she was a single mom expecting her second child, she was losing her apartment and she was all alone. Wanting to leave the NYC area, Joseph’s House seemed a good fit for her. We had taken in 3 new moms a few days prior to her arrival, so Monica’s intake was delayed a bit. On the day she was to meet with our Case Manager Rebecca, Monica was found unresponsive on her bedroom floor, her 13-month-old sitting in his crib looking confused and afraid. An ambulance was called and Monica, along with our CM Rebecca left for the Hospital.
The prognosis was not good. Monica had suffered an extreme episode of eclampsia. Doctors were able to safely deliver her little boy by c-section and were simply amazed he was born entirely healthy. Soon after delivering her child Monica went into cardiac arrest five times. Doctors and staff did chest compressions on her for five hours. She lost copious amounts of blood and was placed on a massive tranfusion protocol; the hospital nearly ran out of their supply of her blood type due to the number of transfusions. Monica was transferred to another near by hospital, a Level One Trauma Center. Doctors and nurses both let Rebecca and Bronson know they had never seen trauma like this. They gave little hope for her survival.
In the first week we constantly anticipated bad news. Bronson & Rebecca found themselves in the position of being Monica’s advocates and in charge of making her medical decisions as the few family members she had in the States were unknown . Rebecca and Bronson rarely left her side and conducted Joseph’s House business from ICU at the hospital for 19 days. Monica was showing few signs of responsiveness during these days. The complications were many, no one was sure how she was surviving but they remained hopeful. Over the next 7 weeks as she struggled to gain consciousness, many life-threatening complications occurred from blood clots, to infections and emergency surgeries to stop internal bleeding. Doctors were not sure she would recover and if she did, there was the possibility of longterm damage.
Back at Joseph’s House our other residents were scared, they were tearful and overcome with emotion thinking someone they considered a new friend may not survive and so we prayed with them. We encouraged them to pray on their own. We shared with them and with all our staff and prayer warriors, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, a prayer we learned was a favorite of Monica’s and her family in Ghana. Many who had never heard of this prayer of God’s unfathomable mercy began reciting it and sending it on to others so they might pray for a miracle for this young mother and her children. Soon people all over Syracuse, in NYC and Long Island, down in Texas and in Kenya and Ghana were praying for Monica and the baby steps needed for her recovery began to take hold. The Divine Mercy image was displayed in Monica’s room the very first week she arrived in the hospital. The Divine Mercy Chaplet sung by Trish Short was played for Monica and although we were unsure she could hear at all, she responded to this prayer with tears even while in her coma. Her rosary was wrapped around her fingers and specific prayers were said asking the Blessed Mother to help Monica move her hands. The prayers were answered as her fingers regained movement & dexterity.
The doctors and nurses were amazed at the progress she was beginning to make, they were overcome with the dedication of our Joseph House staff most especially Rebecca and Bronson who were on the short list of visitors allowed to see Monica. They were also overtaken with the faith they observed from our staff members and some of them were moved to include the Divine Mercy Chaplet in their own prayers as well. The moms at the house began to realize God was hearing their prayers and their prayers were helping Monica to improve, to heal. Seeds of faith were being planted and sowed in our home and in far off places because of the tragedy suffered by this beautiful young mother. Through this tragedy and suffering God rained down mercy, and blessings abounded for Monica and for all those she touched. We could all see clearly Our Lord’s miraculous work through the hands of the doctors and nurses and in the transformations in Monica’s recovery. Most importantly the transforming power of prayer was made clearly evident to many of our residents and acquaintances near and far.
After 56 days, Monica returned to Joseph’s House on May 28th and was soon reunited with her children. She is still recovering and with the love and support of our staff, the other moms, volunteers and everyone’s prayers, she continues to improve becoming stronger every day.
As if all of these miracles of healing and the spreading of prayer were not enough, yesterday we learned of more miracles. It turns out Monica has an uncle in Ghana who is a priest. His name is Father Jacob and he traveled here to visit Monica and do some other priestly works. As He prepared to leave Ghana, he remembered a priest he had gone to seminary with in Ghana 33 years ago. He knew his friend was somewhere in the US but had no idea where. Imagine his surprise when he was reunited with his old friend, Msgr. Francis who just happened to be right here in Syracuse, New York at St. Rose of Lima Church. As if this GODincidence was not enough, Father Jacob also realized a Sister he knew 20 years ago was also here in Syracuse and so they all visited at Joseph’s House Friday evening, old friends brought together through a young mother’s tragedy, Our Lord’s intervention and Joseph’s House.
Saturday morning Father Jacob gifted us with Holy Mass at Joseph’s House. It was attended by fifteen of the prayer warriors responsible for much of Monica’s healing. It was an incredible morning where the GODincidences of Monica’s journey became abundantly apparent to all. Father Jacob led me to understand through his words of wisdom; Joseph’s House is a branch bearing fruit on the Vine that is Jesus Christ. He made us understand without Joseph’s House, Monica and her two children may not have survived. He explained that in Ghana they don’t have hospitals to deal with the complications she experienced and if she had been in NYC in her apartment, no one would have found her and her 13-month-old because she was so very alone. He added that Joseph’s House is the vehicle Our Lord used to reunite old friends from Ghana in Syracuse NY, as well as family members unseen for seven years who flew in from Chicago this weekend to visit him, Monica and the children.
There are more Monica Miracles to report in car loads of donations received from the Crouse Hospital nursing staff and new relationships built because so many new people have come to learn about our work. Bronson was told by doctors and nurses from the hospitals they have never witnessed an agency so dedicated and concerned for a client. This comment is testimony to Bronson and Rebecca who spent endless hours at Monica’s bedside to be sure she had “family” she could count on, to be sure she understood they would be God’s presence for her during all her difficulties.
I truly believe there are more Monica Miracles being prepared by Our Father in Heaven for Monica, her children and family and for Joseph’s House. We will be sure to keep you updated on all of them as they appear and until then we will work hard to remain in Christ as He remains in us so we might bear much fruit for Him and His Kingdom. God Bless you my friends.
Love & Prayers,