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Photo: Felix Carroll

While pilgrims prayed at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday (above), graces were flowing elsewhere around the world, including at a parish in Louisiana, as the story below describes.

Witness to a Holy Death

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EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is the text of an email we received from a Marian Helper, Annie Karto of Florida:

Dear friends,

I know we all received such wonderful graces at Divine Mercy celebrations across the country. I felt the need to share what happened in one little corner of God's world. I was part of a Divine Mercy program in Lafayette, La. My portion of the day was before lunch, as I presented "Bridges of Mercy," a new visual and song tribute to Blessed Mother Teresa, Blessed John Paul II, and others. It went very well, as did all of the beautiful presentations that morning. There was such an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us all. Easter joy! Alleluia!

After lunch, there was a man who mentioned he was so thankful he had come that day, as he almost stayed at home. He lived alone and walked everywhere, frequently asking for rides for visits to the Blessed Sacrament at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Lafayette. After lunch, during the beginning of Joan and Dave Maroney's presentation (Mother of Mercy Messengers), this dear man named Charles suffered a massive heart attack. He was surrounded by all of us who immediately started praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet as the paramedics arrived. Three of the priests came quickly and administered last rites, and he even received an apostolic blessing as he lay on the floor.

We continued to pray the chaplet as they worked on him. He died as they tried all they could do to revive him. He was surrounded by a "cloud of witnesses." It was such a miracle to witness such a holy death on such a special feast in the Church, the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday. I recalled Jesus' words to St. Faustina, "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" (Diary, 1541). I also recalled Blessed John Paul II dying on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday, 2005.

We all knew that our Merciful Savior had arranged Charles' death in this very way. My own thoughts were that he must have been such a dear soul to our Lord to die with all these graces! What a witness of the power of God's mercy to all of us that were there.

Usually they have this event in a large setting, but their numbers were down, so there were about 120 people, an intimate setting for this most intimate death. I thank and praise my God for being able to witness this miracle of His mercy. I had just shared earlier in the morning about the importance of the sacrament of the moment and invited the people to write down their mission statements for the rest of the days God has allowed them to live in this life.

We all have been made acutely aware with those of our loved ones in grave illnesses, how short our time is here on earth. May we all hasten to fulfill His perfect will for each of us.

May He continue to "flood your souls" with His Easter blessings and mercy this holy season.

— Annie Karto

Annie Karto is a singer and songwriter whose musical CDs feature songs that promote Eucharistic Adoration, the Sacraments, Mary, and religious vocations. She is also a lay evangelist for Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy.

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Judy Leonard - Apr 27, 2012

Dear Annie: This story touched my heart, as my brother suffered a massive heart attack yesterday morning, in his car, before he started off to work. He, too, passed away. I was not there to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet at the time Jesus called him, but I have made up for it today and believe that Jesus' unfathomable mercy reaches beyond the time of our death, into eternity. God bless

Annelle Leblanc - Apr 27, 2012

A very moving experience... thank you for sharing.

Victoria Saccaro - Apr 26, 2012

I have chills reading this story. What a beautiful way to die.

Anne Fultz - Apr 25, 2012

Wow Annie your story made me cry. Jesus is so kind and merciful! Thank you for sharing this most Amazing story!