On Register Radio this week, Elena Rodríguez spoke with Register correspondent Patti Armstrong about her interview with the Catholic priest who did exorcisms to free a Gary, Ind., family afflicted with demons.
Armstrong and her husband, Mark, are the parents of 10 children, including two adopted AIDS orphans from Kenya. She has a degree in social work and a master’s in public administration and has worked in both fields. She has been writing for more than 30 years and has authored several books on raising families in the faith.
Many people heard about the recent exorcism in Indiana, when news broke at the end of January that a boy had walked up a wall backwards. Several adults witnessed this, including a nurse and a Child Protective Services worker. LaToya Ammons and her three children had been getting sick and dealing with unexplainable sights and noises in their home until they decided to call a Catholic priest.
Father Michael Maginot had never seen anything quite like it in 30 years of priesthood. As the judicial vicar many years earlier, there were a few times when people said their houses were haunted. He said that usually he would have a Mass said, and the problem would be resolved. Otherwise, he would have to refer the person elsewhere, because his bishop never put him in charge of investigations or exorcisms (he is not an exorcist).
In this Indiana case, the mother and her children were evaluated by a psychiatrist; their evaluations showed them to be of sound mind.
In terms of the strange occurrences, the kids would scream, talk in demonic voices, pass out, act as if in a trance and appear to be thrown about; it got so bad that their physician had them taken to the hospital by ambulance with a police escort.
The children had been taken away from LaToya the day that she called Father Maginot. LaToya is Baptist. She had heard about praying the Rosary and asked for a rosary. The first time it was given to her, it was found broken to pieces in the parking lot after she left. The priest’s assistant put it back together and gave it back to LaToya.
When Father Maginot evaluated the family, he felt that once LaToya was exorcised, the frightening problems with the children would be cleared up, too.
Following exorcism rites, including a major exorcism that Bishop Dale Melczek of the Diocese of Gary gave him permission to perform, LaToya seems to be free. No other problems were ever reported by her or her children.
For more about this topic, you can read Armstrong’s article “Parish Priest Aids Family in Fight Against Demons.”
Spiritual Formation Program in Kansas
In the second half of this week "http:, Dan Burke spoke with Sister Debbie Li of the Apostles of the Interior Life (AVI) about an exciting spiritual-formation program developed under Archbishop Naumann in Kansas City, Kan.
Sister Debbie is a native of Singapore. Before entering the community of the Apostles of the Interior Life in 2003, she graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in mechanical engineering.
The beginnings of the Apostles of the Interior Life can be found on the AVI website. Sister Debbie shared a short version. Canonically, the community is a private association of the faithful, founded under the Diocese of Rome in 1990 under the pontificate of John Paul II.
As part of her formation in Italy, she studied at the Pontifical University of St. John in Lateran in Rome, earning B.A. degrees in philosophy and sacred theology. She returned to the United States to minister at the St. Lawrence Catholic Center of the University of Kansas in Lawrence and then at the Provincial House of the AVI in Overland Park, Kan., offering spiritual direction, doing parish missions in various states and helping with the launch of the AVI Catholic Spiritual Mentorship Program a few years ago in the Archdiocese of Kansas City. More than 100 participants have attended.
The goal of the program, in the words of Archbishop Joseph Naumann, who invited the sisters to begin the program, is “to form an army of spiritual mentors, men and women who can walk with their fellow brothers and sisters in the faith,” teaching them how to grow in their relationship with God, their prayer life, their pursuit of virtue and their ability to discern God’s will.
“The real spiritual director or spiritual mentor is the Holy Spirit,” said Sister Debbie.
The program is a two-year course made up of two parts. The core is four one-week training sessions held in four different months at the retreat center in Kansas City. Each week-long course addresses a different topic, focusing on the foundational elements of the spiritual life, such as prayer and a relationship with God, the sacramental life, virtue and the moral life and elements of discernment and how to make choices according to how the Holy Spirit is inspiring a person’s life.
The accompanying distance-learning program includes 24 hours of audio coursework. A large part of that is based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
“What we’re proposing,” said Sister Debbie, “is a lifestyle. It’s not just content that you give as a spiritual mentor, but you are passing on your encounter with Jesus Christ; and in order to do that, you have to first encounter him in a profound and an intimate way.”
Enrollment has begun for the 2015 class. You can learn more at SchoolofFaith.com.