A night of Mercy with the Canavans

By Fr. James -

“I am with you always”

On Friday 1st July we welcomed John and Karen Canavan to our parish to help lead us in a special night of Mercy. It was a homecoming for Karen, who grew up in Ultima where her mother Lois still lives. Her husband John has been the familiar face of Divine Mercy here in Australia for decades, and together they run Divine Mercy Publications in Camberwell. It was a real privilege to hear them both speak and give their testimony. Karen’s story in particular left a deep impression.

As a background to this story, a few years ago Karen had become gravely ill. Her doctor was very worried, and feared she might have cancer or an autoimmune disease. John made haste to ask his Capuchin priest-friend Fr. Dennis Ward to pray for her. A week later, Fr. Ward called John and asked him to meet him at the church. When John arrived, Fr. Ward proceeded to tell him of what happened when he knelt down before the tabernacle to pray for Karen. He told John that he found himself saying, “God, if it’s Your holy will, can I take on Karen’s sufferings?” Within a week he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and Karen’s sufferings disappeared. As Fr. Ward got sicker, he explained to John why he offered himself up as a sacrifice to save Karen. “You’re like family,” the priest said. “Australia needs Divine Mercy. If God takes Karen, you’ll be hopeless. Your six children need their mother, and you need your wife.” Within 10 months, Fr. Ward was dead.

The following is an earlier recording of Karen’s special testimony

A big thank you to the Canavans for all they do in service of God’s Mercy. As a special ongoing connection with our parish, we were delighted to be able to send them home with the tabernacle from St Joseph’s Lake Boga, which will find a new home in the Chapel of Divine Mercy Publications.

You can visit their website divinemercy.com.au to learn more. The US website of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception (marian.org) also has some great resources. The short summary of Karen’s testimony above was taken from one of their articles.