Faith and Prayer in Action Saves Life of “Freedom Fighter”

Posted by Elizabeth Demos-Garibaldi (June 15, 2012 at 7:30 am)

Over 200 citizens of mostly Christian faiths and across the age spectrum gathered at the La Crosse Post Office for a the second Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally.

For the first time ever in my three years leading pro-life activities in La Crosse, the media — the TV stations — showed up! Obviously missing was the local paper, the La Crosse Tribune, whose office is 2 blocks away from the Rally site – shame on them – we’ll be putting them on notice.

Fox News 25 interviewed Pro-life Wisconsin’s Steve Karlen before the Rally began.

The rally went off without a hitch, drawing twice as many participants as we anticipated. The biggest miracle and news story though happened after the rally wrapped up and the TV cameras were gone.

One of our “Freedom Fighters”  dropped to the ground and stopped breathing.  In seconds an off-duty EMT and two nurses who were there for the rally were on the ground at her side and administering CPR. After calling 911, I got on the loud speaker and said “This is a good time to pray” and several people dropped to their knees and others pulled out their rosaries and started praying. 

In less than 2 minutes the woman was revived and  able to speak. The La Crosse Fire and Rescue arrived  in minutes, followed by the ambulance.  The prayer warriors stayed and prayed even after the ambulance left.  That’s Faith and Prayer in Action!  Our first casualty of the Stand Up Movement is doing fine – thanks to the prayers and the quick action and skills of her Freedom Fighter Angels.

The full story of the Rally is below:

Efforts to video tape the rally were thwarted by a breakdown of technology, so I will illustrate the dayss events, thorugh my eyes. ( Keep reading for the amazing and miraculous ending.)

We started in prayer with an invocation by Fr. Todd Mlsna,  a diocesan priest who is legally blind and serves as chaplain at the Mayo Franciscan Hospital in La Crosse. (Fr. Mlsna loves babies and has hundreds of pictures of him holding newborns on his cellphone.) From prayer we went to the pledge of allegiance facing a very large American flag regally blowing in the amazingly blue sky and the hot balmy breeze causing it to gallantly stream.

Excitement was high and lots of flags and signs waved as we sang America the Beautiful accompanied by  Linda Kuehl- a local guitarist and cantor for her church. Steve Karlen, Director of Development for Prolife WI, and Elizabeth Garibaldi, Coordinator for 40 Days for Life La Crosse and Standup Rally Captain co-emceed the event.

Bishop Callahan, unable to attend any of the 3 rallies in our diocese, wrote a letter and recorded its contents to be shared at the multiple rallies in La Crosse, Eau Claire and Stevens Poin.

At the La Crosse Rally, Christopher Ruff, the Director of the Office of Ministires and Social Concerns read the letter pronouncing the bishops support of the effort to oppose the attack on religious freedom  represented in both the Affordable Care Act and the HHS Mandate.  Ruff also commended the effort locally and nationwide to build a coalition of support to keep the pressure on the government – all three branches-to publically protest and educate the citizens, and  to address the grievances people of faith have over these unprecendented attacks.

In addition, Ruff introduced some of the plans for the events to be held for the Fortnight for Freedom – June 21 – July 4, 2012.

Steve Karlen gave an impassioned speech including parallels with our present state of the union in America and  the Cristero war in Mexico, highlighting some of the heroic acts and eventual martyrdom of Blessed Miguel Pro- A priest who died for continuing to bring the Sacraments to the people of Mexico after Catholicism was outlawed in Mexico in the 1920’s, and promoting the recently released movie “For Greater Glory.”

Karlen also told a chilling story about his grandfatherwho was present on the Beaches of Normandy on D-day 1941 -the anniversary of which was June 6th. Remembering and thanking the many who have fought and died for the freedoms we have in America and frequently take for granted.  Karlen presented encouragement and an emboldened call to action – including the likelihood that most present at the rally  would be called upon to make great personal sacrifices to oppose the current administrations attack on our rights of conscience and religious freedom.

Next up, Pastor Corey Sateren of the Bethany Evangelical Free Church in La Crosse roused up the crowd with “high and lowlights of the Affordable Care Act and HHS Mandate and some of the many implications it will have for people of faith if we do not oppose and fight back against the implimentation.

Many “Amens”,  “Alleluias” and applause punctuated his speech. Pastor Sateren assured those gathered that the Evangelical Community was coming on board and joining the fight recognizing this is not “a Catholic issue” or a ” contraception” issue, but an American and people of all faith and no faith issue.

Wrapping up with a closing prayer by Pastor Sateren and all 7 verses of Amazing Grace, the one o’clock hour struck and people started to disperse.  My team of volunteers started packing up our props and papers and all of the sudden, from 3 feet behind me someone yells, “We need help! someone is down- call 911 – is anyone a nurse or doctor?!!”

I turned around with cell phone in hand and dialed 911 and within seconds one off duty EMT and two nurses – all friends of mine were on the ground with the woman and applying the ABC’s of CPR.  It was quickly determined that there was no pulse and she was not breathing.  CPR was immediately started while I was holding a sign over them to shield the woman and workers from the blazing sun and heat and talking to the 911 dispatch.  Simultaneously, just to the right of me, Steve Karlen and some other rally participants dropped to their knees on the sidewalk and started praying the Rosary.   As it became evident we had a real emergency – in seconds many others joined them in prayer.

The fallen woman was revived in what seemed like less than a minute and half and the LA Crosse Fire and Rescue team showed up seconds later.  Nearly immediately upon reviving, the woman was able to speak and did not really remember what happened, but knew who she was, where she was and why she was there.

Even the EMT commented that it was nothing short of miraculous how fast the woman revived.  It took the ambulance just a few minutes longer to arrive, access the situation and secure the woman on a gurney and whisk her off.

The praying continued — in fact the prayer warriors stayed on their knees, after being in the sun now for nearly two hours since the set up of the rally, and they finished the Rosary!  Blanketed in prayer, our first almost victim of the Fight for Religious Freedom is home and recovering well – the reasons for her collapse are undetermined and chalked up to heat and possibly dehydration.

She is proud to have been part of the Stand Up Rally and will continue to show up and stand up for our freedom, next time perhaps with a visor and a bottle of water.

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