Mary grew up in a large Catholic family with 6 brothers and a sister and had her own football helmet in the 3rd grade. She always wanted to be a wife and mother, and pictured her children in the perfect Catholic plaid uniform. Upon meeting her husband on her first and only blind date, she was confident she was on her way.
But God had a different plan. She gave birth to her son Jonathan in 1989 and her daughter Courtney arrived August 1992. On September 27, 1992, while being baptized, Courtney had the first of many grand-mal seizures. Going from the church to the emergency room, Mary’s world changed forever.
There is no such thing as a perfect life. For the next twenty-two years Mary and her family took a spiritual journey that led them to Lourdes, France, numerous hospitals and specialists with their daughter and finally to home-based hospice. Courtney took her last breath this side of heaven on December 27, 2014, the feast of St. John the Beloved, while in her mother’s arms. She is now her parents and big brothers most powerful intercessor.
Along the way, Mary and her family came to understand that God does not make mistakes. Every human life, no matter their ability or disability, has value and worth. Courtney’s unique ability to love without ever speaking a word, taught Mary and her family that everyone has a purpose and a mission. Words are not required. They came to accept that Courtney would never be healed on this earth and allowed God’s plan for their family to unfold, trusting in His plan for each of them.
Mary has served her local parish in many roles, including Liturgy Coordinator, Youth Ministry Core Team Member, and Confirmation Preparation Instructor. She now travels the country speaking to all age groups about God’s Redeeming love. Her talks stress that faith is the courage to want what God wants for us, even if we cannot see where the path leads.
Mary lives in Northern Virginia with her husband of 29 years and her grown son. She continues to embrace her father’s advice, “Never quit, never give up, never lose your faith. It’s the one reason you walk this earth. For God chose this time and place just for you, so make the most of it.”