Last year I received a letter from Colleen Schauer. I had one thought after reading it - Impossible! Colleen wrote that she had survived cancer seven different times over the past 50 years.

So I called Colleen to see if maybe I had misunderstood her letter. And what Colleen told me was one of the most amazing stories of faith and hope I had ever heard.

In 1966, Colleen was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 24. It was devastating news for her and her husband, Joseph. They had two young children, ages 3 and 1 1/2. After surgery, Colleen and Joe flew to the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows to pray to Our Lady that Colleen would live long enough to raise her children.

Their prayers were answered, but it was just the start of Colleen's battle with cancer. She would later be diagnosed six more times with the disease, in several different parts of her body. Every time, she and Joseph would pray to Our Lady of the Snows, their prayers would be answered.

Colleen's last diagnosis of cancer was of the colon in 2007. Today, at the age of 75 she is cancer free. She and Joseph are the proud grandparents of four grandsons.

"We have had some difficult journeys along the way however, our faith, family and friends truly helped us survive. We are ever grateful to Our Lady of the Snows," said Colleen. "I hope my story can inspire someone to not give up, to keep a positive attitude."

Wow! What an incredible story. Impossible? Colleen's story reminds me of the words of Jesus, "For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)


Have your prayer needs lifted up at the Shrine. Please send your prayer petitions so they can be placed before the Angel of Healing and Hope at the Shrine. For the next year, your petition will also be placed at the altar during monthly Masses offered for people dealing with cancer.

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