Hardwired For a Miracle

by | Nov 23, 2021


The mystery, substance and grinding work of helping to move along the canonization of a saint in the Catholic Church can be exemplified by Sr. Josephine, a cloistered Carmelite nun whose monastery is tucked away in a small Illinois town. Six months ago, the midwestern-born Carmelite had never known of Venerable Aloysius Schwartz; today more than one thousand Carmelite nuns throughout the world are now begging for his intercession.

Each Carmelite nun is imploring Fr. Al to heal a 36-year-old American man – all because Sr. Josephine believes the holy missionary priest from Washington D.C. will help to create a miracle.

Sr. Josephine is fighting for two things at once: Venerable Aloysius Schwartz’s canonization and the miraculous healing of her beloved cousin, whose faith has waned since his discovery of the disease that afflicts him. The life and power of Fr. Al, Sr. Josephine believes, is unlike anything she’s known. She strongly believes Fr. Al should be declared a saint. And she knows how it will happen.

Her cousin will be healed because of his intercessory work.


Fr. Al, while suffering with ALS, with children of his charity programs

Last summer, after reading Priest and Beggar: The Heroic Life of Venerable Aloysius Schwartz, a pilot light blinked on in Sr. Josephine’s soul. She needed Fr. Al to fight as an intercessor for the life of her cousin, who recently had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – the same disease Fr. Al suffered through and eventually succumbed to in 1992.

“Fr. Al’s intercession can work to heal my cousin. And I want others to join me in praying for Fr. Al to help now,” Sr. Josephine said. “I want people to pray for my cousin’s soul. I want his body and soul saved together.”

Sr. Josephine believes – strongly believes – that her cousin will be healed. The disappearance of her cousin’s disease, she believes, will be the miracle that leads to Fr. Al’s canonization. The young Carmelite, whose energy and power frequently overwhelm this writer, knows an abundance of prayers storming heaven will only expedite her mission for the miraculous.

Fighting to “make a saint” involves stepping onto a mysterious and winding path. The pursuit is punctuated by the work of the Spirit and the faith that God will cooperate with prayers – but it also requires an enormous effort and practical steps.

In the span of a few months she was able to locate a benefactor – also a believer in Fr. Al’s ministry and work – to purchase more than 100 copies of Priest and Beggar that she then mailed out to Carmelite monasteries throughout the world. Nuns in Austrailia, South Korea, and throughout Europe and North America are now learning about the great American missionary priest. Each package contains the biography, a Fr. Al prayer card, and a letter that beseeches the Carmletites to pray the “Prayer for the Intercession of Venerable Aloysius Schwartz” on the back of the prayer card.

Today, because of Sr. Josephine’s efforts, enormous teams of cloistered Carmelite nuns are daily praying for the young man’s healing. Sr. Josephine has even managed to get her written letter translated into the Korean language.

If daily prayers by more than one thousand sister Carmelites aren’t enough, Sr. Josephine has sent out copies of Priest and Beggar to bishops and priests throughout the midwest and beyond. In each letter can be found the same prayer card and request for prayers for her cousin.

“I know the power of God,” Sr. Josephine said. “And I know good will come from this.”

Click here to learn more about Fr. Al’s life and work in the recent biography: Priest and Beggar.

Learn more about the children

The children at our schools come from the poorest of the poor. Each child has their own stories of what their life was before coming to our schools and how their lives are being transformed by the Sisters of Mary programs.  Read the moving stories of our children in their own words. 

Meet Our Graduates

There are 160,000+  graduates from the Sisters of Mary Schools. Many of our graduates went on to live prosperous lives, helping their families and local communities. Read the inspiring stories of our graduates in their own words. 

Life At Our Villages

Learn more about how we help children break free from a life of poverty.