Marian Helper Spring 2023

Gayle’s story begins in the heartland of Chesterfield, Missouri. Married to John for more than 40 years, they shared a special devotion to Mary. In 2016, their world was turned upside down — John was diagnosed with cancer. It was John’s illness that seemed to be the catalyst for a ministry that Gayle wouldn’t have ever dreamed that she’d be creating. Messages fromMary When John was first diagnosed, Gayle got a book to take notes at the doctor’s office. The very first time she opened it up, she wrote the Memorare prayer — it just came to her. John in turn produced a prayer card from the time his mother had died — and on one side was the Memorare! Another time, Gayle vividly remembers seeking solace. “As I was leaving church, I heard a voice or felt it on my heart. It was the Blessed Mother, and she said to me, ‘I’ve got this. Don’t worry about him.’” Gayle felt that Mary had gotten her attention, and wanted her to try her hand at making earrings out of the Miraculous Medal. Not one to wear a lot of jewelry, Gayle didn’t know how to start. But she forged ahead, secure in her faith that Mary’s guiding hand was upon her. Gayle soon realized this was a great way to evangelize. “She is the Mother of Jesus. I don’t try to preach,” she says. “People just see and it registers. They’re aware that this is Mary.” And people did notice! Once, a young nurse stopped her in the hospital. Gayle soon realized this was a great way to evangelize. Good with everything “Our Blessed Mother goes good with everything” is Gayle’s fashion motto. “It’s fun when I go to church and see the ladies with them on.” After John’s death, Gayle turned back to Mary and said, “Now what?” Again, Mary answered. Gayle was presented with abundant opportunities to help at her parish, Ascension Catholic Church. She has led Bible studies, and is a lector and Eucharistic minister. A little over a year ago, she became part of a small group that recites the Divine Mercy Chaplet every day during the Hour of Great Mercy. For Gayle, Divine Mercy has a special meaning. “God our Father is merciful — He’s going to be loving us more than He’s going to be judging us,” she says. “Jesus came and gave Faustina the story and the Image, and that makes it very personal.” When John died, Gayle asked for donations to the Marian Fathers in lieu of flowers. Her own donations are always directed toward supporting seminarians. “The Marians are amazing men of faith whom I trust to lead more men to Christ,” she says. A tip: “My donations are cash from my IRA distribution, which saves the amount donated from incurring income tax.” If you would like to learn more, please contact Hope at [email protected] or call (413) 298-1387. The striking blue enamel color attracts attention first. Then folks notice the medal. Some know immediately that this is the Miraculous Medal. Some ask what it is, and that’s when Gayle Schoemehl delights in telling them about Our Blessed Mother. MADEWITH LOVE … AND MERCY Outstanding Helpers Hope Ponsart Hansen is a donor relations officer for the Marian Fathers. Contact her at (413) 298-1387; [email protected]; or Association of Marian Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263. Visit Marian.org/Planned-Giving to learn more. Marian Helper • Spring 2023 • Marian.org 31

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