By Dave Andrusko
“The Witness” is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa, and Jill Kruse is an editorial assistant. Ms. Kruse just wrote a beautiful profile of a family whose “Triplet ‘miracle’ shows the power of prayer, beauty of life.”
Kruse begins her story with a recent letter sent to the Cathedral of St. Raphael in Dubuque from Michael and Diane Conneely of Aurora, Illinois. It was by no means the first letter–the family had been updating them periodically about three of their grandsons (triplets in fact) whose healthy delivery eight years ago they believe cathedral’s prayers contributed to.
I don’t wish to rob you of the joy of reading the story, so let me just offer a few highlights.
“We were in great despair,” in late 2007, Mr. Conneely told Kruse, “frantic.” Expecting triplets, their daughter Jennifer’s pregnancy had taken a serious turn for the worse.
Doctors discovered one of the triplets – referred to medically as “Baby A” — had partially separated from Jennifer’s uterus. It was feared the couple might lose not just one baby, but all three. Doctors presented the option of “selective reduction,” aborting one or even two of the babies in an effort to increase the likelihood of at least one live birth.
“Abortion wasn’t something they would ever consider,” Conneely said of his daughter and son-in-law. “They told doctors it was out of the question. They decided to let God figure it all out instead.
When Jennifer was hospitalized at 21 ½ weeks, “It was not looking good for the babies,” Conneely remembered. “In fact, it looked terrible.”
At that juncture, Conneely called a church to ask for a Mass to be said for Jennifer and their three unborn children–and then another and another until eventually a Mass was said in all 50 states. (He chose the Cathedral of St. Raphael because Jennifer had attended college in Dubuque.)
But Conneely didn’t stop with the United States, Kruse explains.
He reached out to Catholic churches in five other countries too – Canada, Mexico, Italy, France and Ireland – to have Masses said on behalf of his family.
He also asked for prayers from individuals, sometimes perfect strangers. “I was stopping people in the bank line asking for prayers,” he remembered.
“It gave me so much comfort knowing that people I didn’t know, people from all around the world, were praying to God for my babies,” Jennifer told Kruse. “I was so grateful.”
When Jennifer entered the hospital in December 2007
doctors thought she would deliver any day. But days turned to weeks and the weeks to months, and Schmidt didn’t go into labor until she was 35 weeks along, resulting in a nearly full-term pregnancy.
When the three boys were born on March 5, 2008, all three were healthy, including Baby A – Liam – who ended up being the biggest of the trio at nearly six pounds.
There is so much more to this remarkable story, beginning with another daughter who 14 years ago also successfully carried triplets to a healthy conclusion. Let me conclude with the final three paragraphs of Kruse’s great story:
As the church celebrates Respect Life Month during October, Msgr. Toale reflected, “The picture of the boys is a great testimony to our commitment of respect for life.”
Conneely said he would always be grateful for the prayers the people at the cathedral offered. “It was so kind of them to offer prayers for people they didn’t even know,” he said.
“They contributed toward the miracle we received. I’m not sure why we were given this miracle. I don’t know. But we were,” he said. “We are blessed.”