Meghan Salter is 8 years old. She can’t eat or even breathe on her own. She cannot speak. But without saying a word, she’s brought thousands of people back to prayer and fasting and souls to Jesus Christ.
“It’s a very powerful and beautiful story of faith,” explains Audrey Sommers, who produced Stories of Faith: Meghan’s Miracle, which aired on EWTN Aug. 15. “Meghan brings people to the faith and she brings people to prayer.”
People in Michigan saw Meghan’s story on the Archdiocese of Detroit’s cable TV station, but recently EWTN viewers had the chance to see it. “It brings tears of joy to people who see it,” Sommers says. “It is an inspirational story which will hopefully draw throngs of people to the faith and renew the faith of Catholics who see it, because when they see it, they’ll say, ‘How do the Salters manage to do this?’ It’s because of their belief in Church teachings and right to life and their faith in God. Even when caring for Meghan 24-7, they have so much joy.”
That caring began two months after Meghan was born to Mike and Ellen Salter. Her sisters Lauren and Shannon and brother Michael are today 17, 12 and 15 respectively.
Meghan appeared perfectly normal at birth, but she suddenly developed major problems, and even stopped breathing. She was flown to the University of Michigan’s Mott’s Children’s Hospital. There came more emergencies and more flights. To this day, doctors can’t explain her condition.
But the story is not about medicine. It’s about souls Meghan has evangelized, about the power of faith, and the good that can come out of suffering.
For the film’s 30-minute length, Mike Salter says it gets the point across how many lives Meghan has touched and brought to the Lord.
At the same time, he describes how he didn’t understand the power of redemptive suffering when Meghan started to get sick, “but Father John Riccardo (pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Plymouth Township) helped us understand the power of redemptive suffering.”
Many share how Meghan changed their lives.
Ellen says fireman-paramedic Steve Worden was on that first call to rescue Meghan. Then he started popping in to see Meghan, and his family came for dinner: “He has a daughter within two weeks old of Meghan. He couldn’t believe how well we were handling it and wanted to know how and why we could.”
He wanted that kind of faith. As Ellen says, “I told him Jesus saved his life because he became a Catholic.”
There’s also Bob Conley, who attended a benefit for Meghan and was so moved he told Ellen he was committing that same night to join RCIA and become Catholic. Previous to the benefit, he had visited the family’s website, MeghansMiracles.com.
For the film, Sommers couldn’t fit in hundreds more who turned out many times for prayers or those who have emailed the Salters from around the world after seeing the website.
Ellen tells of a typical email from a woman whose daughter hadn’t been to church in 20 years, but after reading about Meghan, she began to pray for her, returned to the faith and is a regular Massgoer.
The family is encouraged by those far and near who have prayed for Meghan. At a moment’s notice, hundreds have gathered at the family’s parish of Church of the Divine Child in Dearborn, Mich., to pray the Rosary for her.
Dad Mike hopes the film shows people “to put your faith and trust totally in Christ and do his will. It’s the only way to true happiness.”
He also hopes that people recognize “the value of every human
life from conception to natural death, as they see how beautiful Meghan is and how much joy she brings to us as well as to everyone who encounters her.”
Among mom Ellen’s many hopes for the film is that it will bring Jesus to more families and “really spread the word how much Jesus will always be at our side. He does not ever abandon us.”
A third hope is that people find inspiration in Meghan’s will to live and her joy in being Catholic and receiving the Precious Blood weekly from Deacon Jerry McGowan, Ellen’s cousin.
“She has received the sacraments, and that gives her much grace and strength to endure her suffering,” Ellen says. It also gives her “joy which she brings to others and her family.”
Meghan made her first holy Communion thanks to Detroit Auxiliary Bishop John Quinn. And when she was confirmed at Divine Child Church, despite the ice-cold February night, upwards of 600 people attended.
Ellen describes how when the bishop asked Meghan if she wanted to receive Communion, she smiled broadly for a long time, not her usual quick smile. Meghan doesn’t eat, but when she receives the Eucharist, she smacks her lips.
“She could have died many times, but she would be fighting to live. Suffering is not easy, but through suffering comes joy when you’re suffering for Christ,” Ellen has learned. “He will bring you to joy and perseverance. Through Meghan’s silence, she’s saving souls.”
Even in difficult moments, there is “the pure joy of taking care of Meghan and that God chose us,” Ellen says.
Sommers made the compelling video in a news-magazine format. She’s an award-winning broadcast and print journalist. She was a TV reporter in Detroit before joining The Michigan Catholic newspaper for a number of years. Her awards include a TV show shot in Rome for World Youth Day 2000.
Sommers hopes to make this into “a regular series focusing on the faith of Catholics through their trials and tribulations, how God is working in the lives of those who grow in their faith in time of need, whether it be family, medical or financial-related issues.”
“The goal is to provide heartwarming and inspirational stories that motivate viewers to trust in God and follow his will,” she explains. “We see how people remain or become devoted to the teachings of the Catholic Church, become spiritually strengthened, and have a more prayerful life.”
But Sommers needs funding to continue filming these stories.
First, Meghan’s Miracle will help Meghan evangelize countless more souls.
Register staff writer Joseph Pronechen writes from Trumbull, Connecticut.>