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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Providence in the Hour of Tragedy
When Brother Kevin Leahy, LC, suffered a heart attack in the streets of Rome, he and his family experienced the providence of God through the Knights of Malta and the Legion of Christ.

Br Kevin Leahy, LC
Br Kevin Leahy, LC

August 8, 2008. Detroit, Michigan. On June 1, 2008, Br Kevin Leahy, LC, suffered a surprise heart attack while jogging on the streets of Rome. During the weeks and months that ensued, both he and the Leahy family experienced firsthand that the Legion was a true family and that they were all in God’s hands.

Br. Kevin is a Legionary seminarian from Michigan.  He attended the Legion’s minor seminary in New Hampshire and is currently beginning his fourth year of philosophy in Rome. Kevin’s vast extended family, the LeBlancs, have been involved with the Legion and Regnum Christi since he was a young boy.  Fr Lorenzo Gomez, LC, the section director for Detroit for close to 30 years, remembers Kevin being one of the first boys he met from the family. He is the fifth of 8 children and an uncle to 6 nieces and nephews (with 3 more on the way).  Since that first meeting, many have discerned their vocation, given years of service as co-workers and been very involved as single and married members within Regnum Christi and its apostolates.

The following account of the experience was written by Kevin’s sister, Maggie Leahy, a Regnum Christi member and nursing student in Detroit. (Fr Jonathan Morris, LC, also wrote a blog on this topic for Fox News. It can be read at this link.)

Maggie’s Testimony

It was June 1, 2008 when my parents received a phone call from Fr Jonathan Morris, LC, in Rome. He told us that my brother, Br Kevin Leahy, had suffered a heart attack while running. Father told us that he was in the hospital, that he was stable, and that a bus of German doctors had found him and taken him to the hospital. We did not know much more.

Immediately upon hearing the news, all of my brothers and sisters got together. Usually when we are together, we laugh continuously, but this time it was much different. This whole experience was so foreign to us, since God had always blessed our family with great health. I think we all forced ourselves not to ask God why, but rather to trust in Him and believe that this was all part of His bigger plan.

My parents, my brother Mike, my sister Beth, and I all flew out to see Kevin. I was the first to arrive and Br Gregory Heslip, my second cousin, picked me up and took
The Leahy family with Br Kevin.
The Leahy family with Br Kevin.
me to the seminary. There I saw Fr Jonathan Morris, who told me what exactly had happened. Kevin had been running to the soccer fields with the other brothers; he was ahead of the group and had just turned down a small, seldom-traveled side street. There, while jogging, his heart simply stopped beating and he collapsed onto the street.

At that very moment, a bus of doctors – German Knights of Malta – were in town for a conference, looking for their hotel. One of them just happened to look down the side street and saw my brother collapse to the ground. The doctors rushed to him and took his pulse, only to discover that he did not have one since his heart had completely stopped. There on the street, they gave him a shot of adrenaline, which temporarily got his heart going. Providentially, they had an ambulance with them, so they took him to the hospital, where he arrived in a state of coma. Already it was obvious that God had his hands in this situation and was going to take care of Kevin.

Fr Jonathan Morris and Fr Juan Jose Garcia took me to the hospital to see Kevin. They were both preparing me, telling me that he would probably still be in his coma and unable to talk. Only two people were allowed to visit at a time, so Fr Jonathan and I went in first.

When I saw Kevin, he was asleep. I gave him a kiss and just stared at what seemed to be a mess of tangled tubes connected to him. I know that my parents or any of my brothers and sisters would have wanted to put themselves in his place, and I was no different. I wanted to be the one in that bed instead of him.

Fr Jonathan pulled back the sheet so that I could hold my brother’s hand.  As I was holding his hands, his eyes opened a little and he lifted his head.

“Maggie,” he said, “it’s so good to see you!”  He asked me what had happened but I did not know what to say or how much to tell him. Fr Jonathan spoke up and told him that his heart had stopped while he was jogging. Then Fr Jonathan stepped aside and Kevin asked me again what had happened. I told him, and a few minutes later he asked
Br Kevin Leahy and his sister Maggie.
Br Kevin Leahy and his sister Maggie.
again. His short-term memory was not very good, but his long-term was perfect.

He received many e-mails and letters while he was in the hospital, all of them so kind and all of them promising Kevin and our family their prayers. Each day we saw him, we saw the prayers being answered; he was recovering well. When Kevin got his pacemaker, he told us that he had a new guardian angel called “Peacemaker”!

While we were in Rome, the Legionaries took such good care of our family. They said daily Mass for us, came with us to the hospital, and were a constant blessing to have with us. My siblings and I stayed for one week, while my parents were able to stay until Kevin was out of the hospital. Although it was very difficult, it was comforting to know that we were leaving him in great hands and that he had an army of over 500 fathers and brothers praying for him.
I wanted to include part of a letter Kevin wrote after being released from the hospital:

“Thanks so much for your prayers; everything was in God’s hands through them. In my prayer notebook I found something I wrote the day of the accident: ‘Lord, I abandon everything to you today, confiding and loving your hidden designs. I place all of my love, faith, and unlimited hope in your goodness because your wisdom arranges all the incidents of our life that leads to you…’ After everything it gave me chills to read this and reflect knowing that I wrote this the very same morning of the accident.  It made me think, God alone sees our souls and knows how to heal them, strengthen them, and comfort them, and help them on their journey. After all, He created them.”
After all was said and done, God did have a bigger and better plan hidden within the suffering. From Kevin’s story and stories that people have shared with me since his accident, it has become obvious that God is working overtime!

My whole family is so grateful, beyond what words can express, for all of the prayers and sacrifices that were offered up for Kevin’s recovery. Thank you!

Maggie Leahy



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