National News

Father Michael McGivney One Step Closer to Sainthood

Credited With Miracle in 2015; Saved Unborn Baby From Terminal Illness

By Alexandra Moyen

ROSEDALE – On July 20, The Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints announced the beatification ceremony for Father Michael McGivney will take place at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Connecticut on Oct. 31. 

This comes after Pope Francis signed a decree, on May 27, recognizing a miracle attributed to him in 2015. Once beatified, the founder of the Knights of Columbus will be given the title, “Blessed.” 

The miracle attributed to the intercession of Father McGivney was of 5-year-old Micheal Schacahle, who was diagnosed with Hydrops while in utero. Hydrops is a condition that occurs when large amounts of fluid build up in a baby’s tissues and organs causing extreme swelling. In Michael’s case, doctors told his mother, Michelle, that there was “no hope” and he would die from its severity. 

“Is it an abortion if the baby’s not going to live? And then I immediately thought, ‘No that would be an abortion. And I love this baby, and I’m going to fight for this baby,’” she said.

Michelle has lost five children over the years and was afraid Michael, who they were calling “Ben” at the time, would be stillborn like her first daughter. In an effort to save their son’s life, Michelle and Daniel Schachle, who sells life insurance for the Knights of Columbus, began praying to McGivney and asked their friends and family to do the same.

“Daniel said, ‘I prayed to Father McGivney and I told him, if he heals Michael then we’re naming him after him,’” Michelle explained.

A few weeks later, the Schachles went on a scheduled trip to Fatima, Portugal. During the trip, Michelle feared the baby had died, and once home, she rushed to her doctor. Then the miracle happened –– Michael’s Hydrops was gone.

“I said, ‘Doctor, I was told there was no hope.’ And then she looked at me and said, ‘Oh, you’re the woman that just came back from Fatima. Honey, with God, there’s always hope’ and that’s when we changed his name,” Michelle recalled.

Michael McGivney Schachle was born at 31 weeks with Down’s Syndrome and a heart defect but is today a thriving, healthy 5-year-old. Despite the challenges, and almost losing her child, Michelle said her journey with Michael was the “most beautiful” and “difficult” one of her life. 

“I see him daily, my miracle lives and breathes and smiles and says ‘Mommy,’ ” she told Currents News. “It’s a different kind of miracle.”

Father McGivney was born on August 12, 1852, to Irish immigrants in Waterbury, Connecticut, and was ordained a priest in 1877 in what is now known as the Archdiocese of Hartford. On March 29, 1882, while he was an assistant pastor at St. Mary’s Church, he founded the Knights of Columbus to aid families who have lost the father and wage earner of their household. On August 14, 1890, he died from pneumonia complications at the age of 38 during an influenza outbreak.

Father McGivney will be the first American parish priest to be beatified and his order has become the largest lay Catholic organization in the world with two million members and a wide range of sponsors for educational, charitable, and religious activities. By 2019, the Knights of Columbus has donated $187 million and 77 million hours to charity. 

“Father McGivney and I share a birthday. I have 13 children. Michael’s the youngest of 13 and Father McGivney was the oldest of 13. God wrote the whole story,” Michelle said.

Father McGivney still needs one more miracle before he can be canonized. 

Michelle says all it takes is prayer because God is still writing the story.