Diocesan News

Magnificat prayer meal to feature story of suffering, recovery

LINCOLN (SNR) - Magnificat of Lincoln is taking reservations for the spring prayer meal with speaker Ashley Stevens May 6.

Stevens’ testimony is entitled. “How to Fight Spiritual Amnesia.” She said it recalls “how God has fought for you,” and highlights staying anchored to Him while suffering.

Ashley came to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2004 and played soccer for UNL. Her senior year at UNL was an emotional whirlwind of conversion as she was in a Protestant Bible study, a Catholic Bible study, and met weekly with missionaries from both denominations. After being moved by the reason and by the truth of the Catholic faith, she was received into the Church and became a member of the FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) staff as a missionary after graduating. She served with FOCUS for three years at Benedictine College and UNL.

Halfway through her first year as a FOCUS missionary at UNL, Ashley was engaged to Brad Stevens. Just three weeks later, she and the other female FOCUS missionaries were in a serious car accident while driving to an end of the semester retreat on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 2008. Chaplain Father Robert Matya was following them and came upon the accident, anointing Ashley with the Sacrament of the Sick.

Ashley was the most seriously injured in the accident and a doctor bluntly told Brad that he didn’t see any way she would survive. Brad started a Caring Bridge website, asking for prayers and providing updates on Ashley’s recovery. Over the next six months, Brad asked for prayers for specific miracles, and also thanksgiving for those granted. Ashley’s recovery involved different intensive care units, painful therapies, and fighting to get back to the life she once knew.

Ashley said all aspects of her independence were stripped from her during her recovery, so she tried to remember how God had provided for, led her, and loved her in the past, to trust that He was continuing to do so. She said she tried to resist the suffering which would result in hardening of her heart, and pulling her away from her relationship with God.

Brad and Ashley were married on the anniversary of the accident to “redeem the day” through Christ and His Mercy. Since then Ashley has gotten her MBA and the couple have three daughters. They are members of St. Michael Parish in Lincoln.

Stevens is now in the final stages of writing a book in which she shares her story about the tangible ways God helped her remember Him while walking through the deepest valley of her life. She said her favorite scripture is Exodus 14:14 “The Lord Himself will fight for you, you have only to be still.”

Women may hear Stevens’ testimony at the May 6 breakfast. It will be held at 9:30 a.m. at Hillcrest, 9401 East “O” St. To register, mail a $20 check ($10 for students) payable to Magnificat to Tina Colgan, 521 N. 56th St., Lincoln, NE, 68504.  Pre-paid registration is required and the deadline is April 29.

With questions, contact coordinator Rhonda Litt at 402-489-3819, or text or call 402-525-6396.                  

Magnificat is a ministry to Catholic women, a private association of the faithful within the Catholic Church under the jurisdiction of the Lincoln Diocese.  It started in 1981 in New Orleans and has become an international ministry.

Magnificat of Lincoln, the Morningstar Chapter, celebrated their 20th anniversary of service to the women of the Lincoln Diocese last year.  

The primary purpose of Magnificat is to help Christian women become more open to the Holy Spirit through a deeper commitment of their lives to Jesus as Lord and to impart the Holy Spirit to one another by their love, service and sharing the good news of salvation.

For more information about Magnificat, visit www.magnificatoflincoln.com.

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