Church Militant's Martina Moyski recently interviewed Catholic wife and mother of eight Joanne LeFevre of the Saginaw diocese, who is suffering with cirrhosis of the liver. They met at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit where Joanne is seeking medical treatment while praying for a miracle. Martina shares Joanne's message, one wrought by suffering in Christ.
Joanne LeFevre: "God is so big. Whatever is happening out here — it doesn't matter. I have no control over that. He's God."
A Catholic woman teetering on the edge of life and death is singing the Good News of Christ.
Joanne Lefevre says her loved ones in Bay City, Michigan have prayed for her "so lavishly" that she feels healed already and has been given "new eyes" to see.
Joanne: "The beauty that's coming out of that diocese now is amazing."
And the growth has been so beautiful: 30 to 50 confessions before Mass — with the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM).
Joanne: "It hadn't been in our diocese for 50 years."
A teacher in her diocese recently organized a pilgrimage of high school students to the Blessed Solanus Casey Center in Detroit to pray for Joanne's healing.
Joanne: "The Body of Christ is coming together in such a beautiful way. The Holy Spirit is really doing something."
She sees her suffering as chance to evangelize, not something to shirk from.
Joanne: "This is how Christ is brought into the hospitals — is through people that are sick, right?"
Joanne observes that people today often skip the "hard stuff."
Joanne: "Just be with Christ. Be with Him somewhere along the Passion."
Focus on Him. Stay close to Him.
Quoting Scripture, she says, "We suffer with Him that we may also be glorified with Him."
Unite yourself to Christ on the Cross because that's how he's present in the world. He suffered.
Joanne: "Suffering is not easy ... Just asking for the grace to get through this moment."
Give all to Him.
So instead of doing this, do this.
The mother of eight recalled the message of Our Lady to three children in Portugal over 100 years ago.
"Pray and offer penance. ... That's what you can do when you're sick. And that's very powerful."
She insists she is not the center of this story, thanking her parents for the ultimate gift of faith.
"I tell my parents now the best thing you gave me was my Catholic faith. ... The precious gift of faith — that's the only thing that lasts forever. This life does not."
Joanne may not be the center of this story, but her message of spiritual healing in a world groaning with earthly suffering is uplifting many in Michigan — and beyond.
Saint Paul reminded Timothy of the transcendence of the Good News: "I have my own hardships to bear, even to being chained like a criminal — but they cannot chain up God's news."