It always amazed me when the time came for a prayer group meeting and one car after another pulled up the drive. All we had done was set the date and tell a few people. I would clean up the house and set up folding chairs. Then at about a quarter to seven, first one car, then another and another, came down the road, slowed as it approached, and turned into the drive to our house. People came with a coffeecake or a snack to share, a rosary in their pocket or purse, and a warm greeting. The feeling that this gave us was wonderful. To see these familiar faces month after month filled all of us with excitement and joy and peace. Most of us did not know much about each other’s lives, only that we loved our Blessed Mother and that she had brought us together as a family.
When the prayer group was new, we prayed the five joyful mysteries of the rosary and we prayed for all of our special intentions. Then Carolyn sat very still and prayed silently. I would watch her face and quietly invite our Blessed Mother to come. I looked for a small smile to come to my daughter’s face. When it did, I knew that Mary was with us. The Blessed Mother spoke to us through Carolyn. Though it was Carolyn’s voice that we heard, the wording, inflection, expression, and eloquence of the messages were not in Carolyn’s usual way of speaking. Our Blessed Mother used Carolyn’s voice to speak to us in her own way.
As we continued to meet at our home each month, the number of people who came increased. Those who had been there one month came back again with their child, mother, husband, or friend. Our prayers increased as well. The Blessed Mother asked us to pray both the joyful and glorious mysteries, and sometime after, we began to pray all fifteen decades of the rosary each time we met. We continued to pray for one another’s needs, to sing Immaculate Mary, and to talk about our faith. When the Blessed Mother asked that we have Mass together whenever possible, Father Ken began to say Mass in our home at the start of each prayer group meeting.
The group grew as a Christian family, too. We celebrated together as members of the prayer group married or announced the expected birth of a baby. We sorrowed over the loss of others through death. We prayed for those with troubles or illness and we shared stories of our pilgrimages or answered prayers. Those who came to the prayer group again and again grew to love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.
In the summer of 1999, the prayer group moved to St. Mary Church in Pinckney, Michigan at the advice of Carolyn’s spiritual director. We integrated our prayer group into regular parish life and it seemed that St. Mary Church was strengthened. Members of the prayer group gathered in smaller groups to pray and talk about the Blessed Mother’s messages. They began Eucharistic Adoration on Fridays. Those who belonged to other parishes became involved in their own churches and began attending Mass there frequently.
As individuals too, most of us found ways to love God by serving others. We gave more generously to organizations that provided for those in need. We volunteered time to teach classes, care for the dying, and minister to those in prison. We prayed more for our families, our priests, and our leaders, and we took opportunities to tell others of what the Lord had done in our lives. Most of all, we tried to live the messages in our homes. Our marriages grew stronger and our families became closer.
When Carolyn had her baby, I would hold him while she gave our Blessed Mother’s message. I would usually stand with him at the back of the church. Month after month I marveled at the sight of more than a hundred people carefully listening to our mother’s words. My thoughts often drifted to all of those who had come at other times, but were not in the church on that night. I pondered how full the church would be if everyone whose life had changed because of this prayer group came on the same night. It struck me that no matter how hard I tried, I could not have gathered such a group, many of whom drove two hours to be there, who came month after month with such devotion, who brought along their families and friends. I stood there in amazement, realizing that I was standing in a miracle.
Our good God, through the Blessed Mother, had brought all of us together. He had extended His hand from heaven and gathered us into a prayer group. He had sent His saints and His mother to teach us. He had given us His own words! It amazed me to think that the God of all ages, the God of Abraham and Moses, the God who said “This is my beloved son,” had spoken to us. Our little prayer group . . . created and shaped by God, was a living miracle. I wanted to tell everyone what I saw.
Eventually Carolyn, I, and some others in our prayer group began to talk about publishing a second book containing the messages we had received since publishing Heavenly Grace. I talked about my experience of seeing the prayer group begin with one and unfold into many changed lives. I told Carolyn of my thought to title this book, Standing in a Miracle. As the plans began to come together, I prayed the rosary along with the others in our prayer group in August of 2001. I asked the Blessed Mother to let us know that it was her desire to have this book published. It was in that night’s message that Mary said, “My dear ones, you have received so much! You have seen such goodness from the hands of God. He has blessed you each day in your life that truly, every day, you are standing in a miracle!”
Like Heavenly Grace, we compiled this book to share our miracle with you. It has been reviewed by priests in the Diocese of Lansing and found to be free of theological error and in harmony with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There has been no formal opinion sought or given as to the supernatural origin of these messages. Those who attend the Heavenly Grace prayer group see the miracles in our own lives and we believe! We know in our hearts that God has touched us in a most special way. We invite you to stand in our miracle as you read this book.
May 31, 2002