In today’s podcast, Father Dave chats with Jenifer Ramirez, a convert to Catholicism, wife, and mother of five, about her journey of faith and how the death of her daughter, Maggie, who passed away last year, affected her faith.
Father Dave asks Jenifer how she ended up in the Catholic Church. “Back in 1999, my fiance started studying Catholicism,” Jenifer explains. “And one of the things he shared with me was Saint Ignatius of Antioch’s witness to the understanding of the Eucharist. I remember exactly where we were. We were driving down the road. It was such a lightbulb moment for me. And it was Saint Ignatius, through my husband, who convinced me to become Catholic.”
Jenifer shares that she became a mother a few years after entering the Church and continues to teach her children about the faith. But a year ago, tragedy struck her family. “Our daughter Maggie was 10 years old, and she actually had a brain tumor that no one knew about until the day before she died. It was incredibly sudden. … I often wonder, ‘How did we miss this?’ There were just no symptoms. There was nothing there. About two weeks before she died, she started periodically vomiting and getting a headache. But we all had a virus that week, so we assumed that what she had was the same thing that the rest of us had.”
“We took her to the ER the first week because she wasn’t getting back on her feet the way everyone else was … I remember the doctor saying clear as day, ‘It’s okay, Mom. Sometimes when a virus hits the home we just need a little extra help.’ And as I walked out, the nurse leaned over to me and said, ‘If she’s not better in a few days, take her over to the children’s hospital and they’ll run some tests on her that we don’t have here.’ … That next Saturday she came to me and said, ‘Mom I have a really bad headache. Why does this keep happening?’ I said, ‘Get in the car, I’m taking you to the children’s hospital.’”
Jenifer explains that on the 14-minute drive to the hospital Maggie started fading, and she had a massive seizure within 10 minutes of arriving at the hospital. “My husband always tells me that the only appropriate response in the face of suffering is to worship God. And so, the doctor came rushing out and said that it was really bad, and she had a mass in her brain that was bleeding. They had to get her on a helicopter immediately. I’m deathly afraid of heights, and I kept thinking I don’t know how I’m gonna do this. … So I just kept praying. I knew I had to take the trip with her. That was another conversion experience in my life. I thought I have to worship God. And during that helicopter ride, I put one hand on Maggie and one hand in the air, and I just started worshiping him. And I don’t remember begging him for her life. I just remember worshiping him and praising him.”
Maggie’s legacy continues to live on and Jenifer’s faith continues to inspire others. She says that God has taught her so many things through this experience and that she specifically finds comfort in the Eucharist. “I realize that my mommy-daughter dates are now in Adoration.” Original Air 7-24-19