‘Only by the Grace of God’

By Marc Massery

Judy and John Baumann of Odell, Nebraska, met through mutual friends and were married in 1960. John had been the cause of many blessings for Judy, but of all the gifts Judy treasures from her husband, she believes her Catholic faith was the greatest gift of all.

“I was a convert [to Catholicism],” she said. “My husband was raised Catholic, and I was raised Lutheran.” Judy decided to convert to Catholicism before they wed. “My father initially exhibited a negative attitude toward my conversion, but once we became engaged, he was on board.”

About 10 years ago, Judy discovered the Divine Mercy devotion. “Our altar society expressed a desire to have a Divine Mercy Image in the church, so I did research on it,” she said. Judy was responsible for purchasing the Image and hanging it in her parish, St. Mary’s Catholic Church. “That’s when my focus on Divine Mercy became more intense,” she said. “So many times, I feel like our prayers are lip service, but when I look at that picture … it’s emblazoned in my memory now with the words ‘Jesus, I trust in You.’ That always brings me back to what it’s all about.”

A few years ago, John’s health began to decline, and Judy became his caregiver. “It started out as pneumonia,” she said. “Then his organs started to fail.” As John neared the end of his life, their daughter-in-law, Linda, suggested they pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet at John’s bedside to receive the graces promised by the Lord. In St. Faustina’s Diary, Jesus says, “Write that when they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the merciful Savior” (1541).

On Dec. 15, 2019, all of John’s life support was removed. “My family and I prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet at his bedside,” Judy said. “Upon completing it at 3:03 p.m., my husband of 58 years died on his 80th birthday, peacefully.” Judy said that the timing of her husband’s death during the Hour of Great Mercy and on his birthday was “extremely amazing” and a great consolation to her. “What can I say? Only by the grace of God.”  

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