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Raphael’s Refuge: A Place of Healing

By Susan Ciancio

God speaks to us. Whether His words come through in a whisper, through events, or even through the beauty of nature, they are meant to capture our attention and draw us closer to Him.

One woman knows this better than many, as she felt God speaking to her through both words and images. In August 1990, Mildred “Midge” Elam was driving from Austin, Texas, to Corpus Christi to pray at an abortion facility. The prayer warriors who were supposed to travel with her that day had all backed out, so she made the trip alone. She could suddenly see in her mind the image of an outline she associated with a monstrance—the vessel that holds the consecrated body of Christ—and she heard Jesus ask her, “Will you build the monument?”

Unsure if God was really speaking to her or if it was her imagination, she began to pray about it, asking Him what He wanted.

Time went on, and not only did she feel the idea growing, but she felt the desire growing. She understood that God was planting an idea in her heart to build a place of healing dedicated to those who had lost a baby to miscarriage, to abortion, or in infancy. This would be a place where babies—from creation up to one year old—would be remembered and where families could gather to pray and feel at peace.

An accomplished artist, Midge drew a sketch of what she felt the monument and grounds should look like, and the image again revealed the shape of a monstrance. She placed the chapel in the middle of her sketch, with sidewalks fanning out in what would eventually house walls made of glass blocks etched with the names of babies who had died.

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