As stated in my book Letters To My Son, my son was diagnosed with an incurable malignant brain tumor in February of 1986 and although receiving a miracle healing in Mexico he ultimately died of related cancers on December 1st 1987. When we were in Mexico, I had with me a very special rosary that was hand crafted in Ireland. It was a gift from Phyllis Hooper a dear friend who had given it to me when Kelly initially had surgery for his brain tumor. It had been given to her years prior from a kind old Irish woman named Bridget. When Phyllis had been ill the woman had given it too her and told her to pass in on to someone in need some day, and you will know when it’s the right time. For me it was the right time, my son was given a death sentence; I needed something to hold on too, that something literally was this simple wooden rosary.

The rosary is made of wooden beads with hand carved shamrocks on each bead, with a simple silver cross. It was in a little pouch and I always kept it in my pocket wherever I went, praying for an intercession, praying for a miracle. In Mexico we attended a healing service at a small chapel in a small peaceful fishing village. During the healing service this old woman who was apparently channeling the persona of Jesus had asked us all to come up individually and be blessed. I thought to myself that there are not that many opportunities to speak to Jesus in the first person so I felt compelled to reach in my pocket have the rosary blessed. I walked up to the old woman and placed the rosary into her gnarled but gentle ancient hands. Raising the beads above her head in adulation she blessed the beads, kissed the crucifix, patted it on the forehead of her bowed head and returned it to my hands. She then placed her hands firmly but lovingly on my head and told me that I had faith as big as a mountain and I was to become an apostle of God and I would spread the word of what faith in God can do.

Kelly received a miracle at that little chapel In Mexico. His tumor had disappeared. Six months later the cancer returned claiming his young life very quickly. After Kelly died, my faith was tested as I fell into the valley of despair that I wallowed in for an endless span of years, forgot about my apostolic duties, forgotten about the rosary, I forgot most things. Life moved forward and my healing progressed incrementally and I merged back into the mainstream of life once again. All those years the rosary silently collected dust, now long since forgotten in the aftermath of broken dreams and raw survival. In the summer of 1999 as the world prepared to launch into the new millennium a friend of mine was diagnosed with leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant to save his life. He was unable to find a genetic match in the bone marrow data base, but was fortunate to match genetically with the blood from the umbilical cord of healthy born baby in Italy. The transplant was completed but his faith as well as his body was severely tested and he was looking for a miracle. It was then I remembered about the rosary collecting dust in my wife's jewelry box.

I was baptized, confirmed, married and my children baptized in the Catholic Church. As a youngster I was made to follow church doctrine without question and found that as an adult I rarely recited the rosary. I always felt reciting the rosary was some sort of punishment or penance for sins I had committed -until that day in Mexico when I discovered its use in healing meditation. When my friend David was having a very rough time following his transplant and things were touch and go, David started to attend Catholic Church again more regularly. It was then I had the supernal epiphany about the rosary and the possibility that maybe it could help to heal David. I dusted it off and gave it to David almost as if instructed to do so. David has recovered fully, doing remarkable and six years later he is back to his old self.

David was doing so well, less then a year later I asked him for the rosary back to give to another friend who was diagnosed with a difficult to treat form of cancer. David reluctantly released it to me like Bilbo passing the ring of power to Frodo; it was his precious. I then traveled to Eau Claire Wisconsin to give the rosary to Troy Jackson the friend in need. Troy is not Catholic but gratefully accepted the rosary, as conventional medicine could not stop the progression of his disease and he was seeking a miracle. With Rosary in hand Troy went out west for alternative treatments. The day of one of his treatments happened to be the Vernal (spring) equinox, on or around March 20th of that year (2000). Prior to Troy’s departure out west, I and his family networked to reach people from all over to stop what they were doing for a full minute at the exact time of the vernal equinox, when there is exactly 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness on the planet. Troy said he felt an amazing surge of energy at that moment and felt at complete peace and knew he would be healed. He went in remission following the treatments and is healthy today.

When I found out about Troy’ remission I soon traveled to Eau Claire again to retrieve the rosary again for yet another. I worked in maintenance at a Catholics school at the time and I had built a wheel chair ramp for this woman who was a mom of some kids in the school, so she could still attend the weekly school Mass. She was diagnosed with ALS, and I was compelled to approach her and give her the rosary. Which I then did mid winter of 2001.

Pam loved the rosary, and used it everyday (you can tell by the wear marks on the rosary's wooden beads) and she said it helped her everyday through a long and difficult transition. I then had the awful task of asking her for the rosary back for my cousin’s17 year old daughter Kelsey who was in an accident January of 2003. Pam reassured me it was meant to move on. She held it longer than she ever thought possible. When she could hardly speak she handed the rosary back to me and whispered “thank you so much, it has truly blessed my life”. Months later she could no longer attend mass and soon died but was at peace.

In the auto accident, Kelsey’s car was totaled, her dog as killed and she was left in unresponsive coma. After receiving the rosary from Pam I brought it to Kelsey; I uncurled her white contracted fingers apart and placed the rosary in her palm. Like petals closing slowly at sunlight’s waning she neurologically grasped the rosary into a tight grasp. I told her it was a powerful instrument of God and would help her come back to this world and that Kelly my son would be there to help her through it. I kissed her on the forehead and left. As her Mom and I walked away her hand shot up momentarily with the rosary beads swinging from her clenched hand which then fell motionless again to her lap. Her Mom said "oh my God she just waved good by to you" of course the attending nurse assured us it was just a reflex. Timely reflex but we knew better.

A year before in January of 2002 a parent at the school who was a Minnesota state patrol officer was diagnosed and being treated for a rare form of cancer that was not responding well to treatment and he needed a stem cell transplant. Not a high chance of his survival but his only hope. He has four kids in my school and I was praying I could give him the rosary some day when Kelsey no longer needed it. Finally a miracle!!! The day before Easter 2003 my cousin called and said Kelsey had awakened from her coma and that she was excited to see me and give the rosary back. I traveled to St. Cloud on Easter morning of 2003 where I met with Kelsey who smiled, hugged me, struggling to thank you she handed me back the rosary. Praise God another miracle, it was a powerful moment I will not ever forget.

The next day I gave the rosary to the officer and young father from my school. His transplant was successful and his recovery surpassed all odds. In early May of 2005 Gary stopped by the school and this very large man embraced me with a huge hug and returned the rosary, saying he no longer needed it and he felt strongly someone else may.

A few days before Gary returned the rosary unexpectedly, we had found out a high school friend or ours, Debbie was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and we soon passed it on to her. She was not given much time or any hope of survival. Debbie was grateful for the extra time she had been given and so very grateful for the rosary she felt help to make that time possible. Debbie died on Jan 2, 2005, some 20 months following diagnosis. She lived way beyond any realistic expectations for that disease.

On February 3rd 2006, twenty years to the day that our son was diagnosed (only days later he would see Jesus during surgery), the rosary returned by UPS to our doorstep. In transit the Lourdes water broke bottle which had been added along the way, and the rosary and its beads soaked it up the wondrous water, to be with the rosary forever, some of the other items may have been misplaced in travel but the rosary moves on without skipping a beat. The rosary was returned by Patty, Debbie’s sister, with it was this note:

Then next day I bumped into a Lisa, a mom from the school where I still work. I met her going into the chapel to pray. She was pregnant and I congratulated her and yet she looked so sad. Lisa and Frank King are parents of my dear little student friend Amanda whom had attended my school a few years back. She and Amanda were praying for her yet to be born son Jeremiah Trinity King” heal his condition of hydrocephalus that had just been diagnosed, as well as kidney problems there was much concern. Doctors were on high alert to be ready to assist with possible complications that could arise at birth. It did not look good. In Jesus name we pray.

A month later Lisa told me that on the last ultrasound it seemed the hydrocephalus had resolved itself. She told me that she had received her miracle and in prayer she was told some one else needed it more now and wanted to give the rosary back. I did not know yet whom it was going to next, but I would take back the rosary when she had time to drop it off.

A few days later I received two emails about a young boy in Hudson Wisconsin diagnosed with a brain tumor and were seeking my advice. One email written by an aunt of the boy was sent to the Radio station where I had recently spoken. Barb Massman of KDWA then forwarded me the message from this boy’s aunt. The other email was forwarded to me from a friend who runs a TCF internet website in Atlanta with a message from another of Grant’s aunts trying to reach me. I emailed Lisa about receiving the emails and getting the rosary.

Over the weekend we received the Rosary from the Kings and we brought it over to Grant, the nine year old boy with Pontine Glinoma, a very deadly tumor. We sat with his mother, father, brothers, aunt and grandma, explained the story and presented the rosary to Grant. It was Sunday March 19th In Jesus name we pray, let the healing begin. On Monday March20 it was the vernal equinox. At precisely 12:26 Pm Central time, the exact moment of the equinox, family, friends and supporters of Grant from all over said a silent prayer for Grants healing. The Hastings the radio station KDWA at that moment also announced a moment of silent pray for Grant. Let the Healing begin.

As of Feb. 8th 2007 it has been almost a year that Grant has had the rosary and although still not out of the woods, he is back in school and feeling well with limitations. He loves having the rosary by his side.

On October 23, 2007 Grant died. His parents still clung to rosary in their devastating grief; it had been a daily part of their lives for almost two years. When they had the strength they brought it over to our home…again it returned on Feb. 3rd. They did not have words adequate enough to express how much the rosary meant to them, the wooden beads again worn down from constant prayer. In the box they had replaced the empty bottle of Lourdes water with one that was almost full. They also left in the box Grants favorite Holy cards. St. Frances, St. Therese, St. Peregrine, his most favorite St. Michael as well as his guardian angel pin. When they have the strength they plan to add to this story. Now the rosary waits for the next faithful servant that desperately needs a healing in their life.

On February 6, 2008, the rosary was blessed by the Arch Bishop of The St Paul Dioceses of Roman Catholic Churches.

I believe this Rosary is very special and one of a kind but as Gary says it represents the healing made possible through Jesus Christ which is there for our asking. I believe also that each person to have held this rosary and healed of a challenging health condition has left their imprint on it in a very real way. Just as an internet website can leave a cookie behind on your computer for a quicker connection to the site, so I believe a spiritual cookie is left upon the hard drive of the rosary. Each cookie is a powerful direct-connect to God, others prayers, and hot line for healing. Just holding the rosary is an honor but like a computer you need a password to connect, that password is prayer. God’s healing energy is always there for us, it’s our faith that opens up the channels of these divine love and allows healing energy from every pray that is said to travel down a direct line of love and the healing begins. A healing is not always a cure but a divine intervention that brings God’s glory to his beloveds and restores faith to the world.

A healing I believe will always happen if circumstance brings this rosary to your hands. I also know that although a healing may occur, it may not always be a cure. Either way the rosary brings with it hope, peace and the manifestation of God’s love for us all. I expect that it will always be returned to me when it is time to pass it on to another in need. I am merely a steward, but if you are a recipient of its miracle, you become a living part of its legacy.

The box itself which contains the rosary was a handcrafted gift from Kit Ridgeway, a neighbor in Bayport MN that had given it to us upon Kelly’s death in1987. An interesting story that is continues on; the rosary that seems to help heal people.

Love and Light
Mitch Carmody
-Author of Letters To My Son, a journey through grief

updated 2/06/08

Author's Bio: 

Mitch lost his father to heart disease in 1969. In 1975 his only brother died of cerebral palsy. In 1985 he lost his twin sister and her two boys in a car accident. In 1987 he lost his only son Kelly to cancer. His mother succumbed to cancer in 2000. Mitch has struggled with the grief journey and how grief is processed and perceived in this country. He published a book in 2002 called “Letters To My Son, a journey through grief. The book has now reached the bereaved in every state and 7 other countries.
He has conducted a variety of workshops with The Compassionate Friends and Bereaved Parents USA as well as a sought after speaker for many keynote presentations. Mitch has published several articles in national bereavement periodicals, is a frequent contributor to TCF Atlanta On-line and currently a staff writer for Living with Loss Magazine.
Mitch has dedicated his life to helping those individuals and families whom are trying to navigate in the uncharted territory of death, dying and the bereavement process. Through his workshop one may find insights into finding a way to move from Loss to Legacy..
Mitch lives in rural Minnesota with my wife of thirty years, he enjoys riding my horses, gardening, writing, helping others, giving blood monthly and creating works of art. He is also a proud first time grandfather to the daughter of their surviving daughter Meagan.