Cathy Howe

Meet Our Founder

Cathy Howe lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, Jim, and has three children and six grandchildren.  Being a wife, mother and nana was her dream, but through God’s Grace and Our Blessed Mother’s endless love, she is ever growing into another role – a role bringing hope to children as Founder and Executive Director of Mother’s Hope Foundation.  The Foundation has raised over two million dollars aiding sick and disadvantaged children at home and abroad.  She also founded the travel group, Mother’s Pilgrims, which for over 20 years brought people to Medjugorje with the great blessing of having Mirjana Soldo, Medjugorje visionary, as co-host with Cathy. Cathy also created a Medjugorje prayer group after her first pilgrimmage to Medjugorje, and in June 1995 at St. Simon and Jude Church in Pittsburgh, which still meets the second and fourth Wednesday at 12:40 PM. Cathy went on to obey which she believes was an inner urge felt deeply from the Blessed Mother to write a now published book called “A Heavenly Promise-In Search of My Mother’s Garden I Found My Own.” 

To Purchase the Book, Click Here.

In 1994 after the passing of her mom, Cathy and her family received a great spiritual gift through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  This grace led Cathy to Medjugorje to thank Our Lady, even though Cathy was fragile of health battling a very rare blood disease called Mastocytosis, which would lead to a cancer diagnosis of  non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1997.  Cathy returned home feeling great peace and joy which she believes is there for all who visit Medjugorje.  Since that first trip to Medjugorje, Cathy believes that her calls to create a Medjugorje prayer group, found Mother’s Hope Foundation, Mother’s Pilgrims travel group, and write her book are Divinely-inspired works, and she regularly receives spiritual direction to assist her in discernment.

Since 1994, Cathy has made over 33 pilgrimages to Medjugorje, also to Betania, Lourdes, Fatima, Lisieux, Pilar, Guadalupe, Poland, Rome, and the Holy Land with a sick body feeling deeply called by the Blessed Mother. On October 5, 2007, in Medjugorje, feast day of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, Apostle of Divine Mercy, Cathy believes through the intercession of Pope John Paul II she was restored to health.  In October 2008, Cathy’s oncologist at the Hillman Cancer Center stated that she is in complete remission and her clinical, constitutional symptoms associated with the mastocytosis have completely resolved without any therapeutic intervention.  Cathy continues to receive healing of body, mind and soul as she continues her pilgrim journey on earth trying to share the gifts of peace, love and hope that were so fully given to her by a Mother whose love has no boundaries.  

Life unfolds in directions unknown.  And in the summer of 2013 she found herself with a second diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  She was completely surprised and yet had felt tired for a while.  Although the diagnosis seemed to come out of nowhere, she felt the arms of Heaven all around her as the most wonderful events simultaneously were happening in her family.  Her newest grandchild, Cameron, was born on June 25, 2013, the 32nd anniversary of Our Lady coming to Medjugorje, and as she held him in her arms the day of his birth I could see the face of God in all His Glory.  At a time when her heart should have been so very heavy, as she held our new little angel in her arms, she knew no disease can keep us from God’s Love and Care.  A few weeks later, after much testing she received the diagnosis on the same day which had been planned for a while that her daughters Chelsea, Lyndsay, herself and her granddaughter, Mia, were to meet and choose the type of setting for Chelsea’s engagement ring.  The greatest blessings of love and life were all around her and she reveled in all of it.  She is being taught by the Master and after six very strong chemotherapy treatments and a grim diagnosis of stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, she was still standing full of life even knowing she would be undergoing two more years of Rituxan, and antibody medication used to treat autoimmune diseases and types of cancer, which comes with a whole host of side-effects that would leave her more tired than ever before and learning what fighting for her life was truly all about. But, she had not only her loving family beside her, but also heaven, fighting for her. She felt so blessed, as of her first chemotherapy treatment on the Feast Day of the Blessed Mother’s Assumption, she was cancer-free once again. Praise be Jesus and Mary! But this diagnosis and treatment would take her out of the fast-lane of life she had been leading, perhaps too fast!  She has many lessons still to be learned and roads yet to travel.  Her spiritual director had said that God never sends illness.  He allows it for a greater good if we embrace it.  She had either drove into a wall or a wall appeared.  Either way a religious friend said to Cathy, I needed to sit back for a while and take in the view.  A time out of the race of life which, she believes, is meant to be walked through step by step not ran through as she had begun to do.  So much good was all around her and it was almost as if in a very real way to her spiritual director and Cathy came to a sudden halt.  It was as if the message of hope she had been given was to be stopped.  Only God knows truly but that great hope continues to be all around her. And even on a hard day, this “hope” became a cherished road map that continued to lead her, and assure her that the best is yet to come.

For quite awhile now, Cathy could feel the gentle yet persistent tug on her heart to write a book, but she couldn’t truly think about writing about her life, for someone else to read, so she kept putting the thought on the back-burner of her mind, but now her second diagnosis of caner provided her the free time and silence to give way to the fear that was stopping her from writing the book that she was being so inspired to write. She finally surrendered, and said “yes” to the arduous task she felt lying before her. She had always felt uncomfortable alone of not being busy, but the silence had become her best friend that would lead her on the ongoing path of healing that God desired for her. She said, “we are all the walking wounded, trying to find our way back to heaven.” 

Cathy’s husband Jim brought down from her attic, the two big boxes of handwritten journals of her daily thoughts and reflections, which would become the book that heaven was asking her to write. And suddenly, the door opened for this to happen. It was the hardest thing Cathy has done, as she relived the pain and suffering, over and over again, in each chapter, until the completion and publishing of the book. She is not a “writer,” but the Holy Spirit was the force that led her own each day, leading into years and showing her how to deeply empty herself and become a “little pencil in God’s hands,” as Mother Teresa said.

And at the center of each sentence she wrote was the prayer she said daily as Our Lady taught her in Medugorje. She was truly amazed of what she thought would be the final chapter of the book was not, and that the direction and ending of the book were altered by God, but then again it is and was His book, not hers. But what was the most amazing for her was after she read her finished text, she could not comprehend how her compromised body was able to travel the world to Holy Places, while at home her schedule was not her own. She was learning the ways and manner that God’s works are not to be comprehended, but to be lived fully. 

Prayer alongside of her family, like her beloved mom, is the center of her life and as the seasons of nature come and go, she is learning in life, there is a time and season for everything, and to live life to its fullest, she so needed to walk with God. Life unfolded in so many unknown directions, but if she continues her walk with God, she can still move forward when she finds herself in a place she simply doesn’t want to be! Many circumstances can take us to this place, but for Cathy, it was the illness once again, in 2018, a breast cancer diagnosis. And again, Cathy led a pilgrimage to Medugorje and returned home, still surprised but totally upright and got through 21 radiation treatments and was cancer-free for the third time, embracing a life of love, family, and the spiritual journey that unfolded since the passing of her Mom in 1994, but learning that life is not perfect, a lesson that she needed to learn.  The mast-cell disease surfaced awhile back, and the low-energy came back with it. She has learned that very ordinary people, like herself, can do extraordinary things in their lives, when they allow Jesus and Mary to do them along side of them. The writing of her book continued, and after eight years, or so, the first copies of the published book were delivered right before she left for Medugorje. The book’s title is “A Heavenly Promise-In Search of My Mother’s Garden I Found My Own.” She is still in awe that she could have a published book, but in truth, we are all writing the book of our lives’. Cathy is still finding that it is much less messy if we try to write it with God. Much good is unfolding in her life, at a time when the world and her own country is so sadly not the same as when her beloved Mom lived.

Cathy and her husband Jim led a pilgrimage to Medjugorje September 14, 2022 with a group of 35 Pilgrims. She feels that will be the last planned pilgrimage that Cathy and Jim will lead and feels the last 20 years of being a group leader was providential. As the suffering with ill health walked with her each day, she was accompanied with immense grace and a sense of well-being and purpose that she has never felt before. Medugorje will always live in her heart and if she feels the call to return, it will be as a pilgrim.  

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