Meet Our Founder
Cathy Howe lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, Jim, of 48 years 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 Mother’s Pilgrims which brings pilgrims to Medjugorje with the great blessing of having Mirjana Soldo, Medjugorje visionary, as co-host with Cathy.
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 both mastocytosis and malignant non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 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 call to found Mother’s Hope Foundation and Mother’s Pilgrims is a Divinely-inspired work, and she regularly receives spiritual direction to assist her in discernment.
Since 1994, Cathy has made 33 pilgrimages, 24 to Medjugorje, also to Betania, Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe, Rome with a very sick body. 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 cured. 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. Cathy continues to bring pilgrims to Medjugorje leading her 24th pilgrimage in April 2015 and has also had the great blessing to travel to the Holy Land in 2010 and with a group of pilgrims led by Bishop David Zubik to Poland in July of 2011.
Life unfolds in directions unknown. And in the summer of 2013 I found myself with a second diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I was completely surprised and yet had felt tired for a while. Although the diagnosis seemed to come out of nowhere, I felt the arms of Heaven all around me as the most wonderful events simultaneously were happening in my family. Our newest grandchild, Cameron, was born on June 25, 2013, the 32nd anniversary of Our Lady coming to Medjugorje, and as I held him in my arms the day of his birth I could see the face of God in all His Glory. At a time when my heart should have been so very heavy, as I held our new little angel in my arms, I knew no disease can keep us from God’s Love and Care. A few weeks later, after much testing I received the diagnosis on the same day which had been planned for a while that my daughters Chelsea, Lyndsay, myself and my 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 me and I reveled in all of it. I am being taught by the Master and as hard as it was to get through six very strong chemotherapy treatments, I feel so greatly blessed. As of my third treatment, I was cancer-free again. Praise be Jesus and Mary! I have many lessons still to be learned and roads yet to travel. My spiritual director had said that God never sends illness. He allows it for a greater good if we embrace it. I had either drove into a wall or a wall appeared. Either way a religious friend said to me I needed to sit back for a while and take in the view. A time out of the race of life which, I believe, is meant to be walked through step by step not ran through as I had begun to do. So much good was all around me and it was almost as if in a very real way to my spiritual director and me I came to a sudden halt. It was as if the message of hope I had been given was to be stopped. Only God knows truly but that great hope continued to be all around me, and I was reminded of that again on August 15, the day of my first chemotherapy treatment which just happened to be the Feast Day of Our Lady’s Assumption. We all have choices to make in life, and I choose to live each day. I look so forward to journey back to Medjugorje knowing the best is yet to come!
On June 25, 2015, the parish of Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, under the pastoral care of the Herzegovinian Franciscan Province of the Assumption of Mary, and people from all over the world will celebrate the 34th Anniversary of Our Lady coming there. Cathy feels it is a great privilege to bring people to Medjugorje. She believes with all her heart the River of Grace she experienced, the great peace, joy and hope which touches countless people who travel there is not of this world!
On August 15, 1993 His Eminence Cardinal Dr. Franjo Kuharic, Archbishop of Zagreb, stated, “We bishops, after a three year long commission study, accept Medjugorje as a holy place, as a shrine.
“This means that we have nothing against it if someone venerates the Mother of God in a manner and in agreement with the teaching of the Church. Therefore, we are leaving that to further study. The Church does not hurry.”
The Vatican announced on March 17, 2010 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had established an international commission to investigate the claims of six young people in Medjugorje who said, and continue to say until this day, Mary appeared to them daily beginning in 1981. In January 2014, The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, confirmed on the international commission investigating events in Medjugorje held its last meeting on January 17. The commission, created by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was presided over by Cardinal Camillo Ruini. The Commission presented its findings, which essentially determined that there was no demonstrable fraud or deception occurring during the period of investigation.
Pope John Paul II met with Medjugorje visionary, Mirjana Soldo, in Castle Gondolfo upon his request. The Pope said to Mirjana, “Take care of Medjugorje. Medjugorje is hope for the whole world.” Cathy believes this with all her heart.