Behind the Scenes

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February 27, 2012

A couple of days ago, we sent the following letter to our Extended Caritas Community members. There are four levels in the Caritas Community, known as COCI, II, III or IV. COCI members are those who live at Caritas. Those who cannot live on the grounds because of life circumstances yet desire to share in the prayer life of the community are known as COCII, COCIII, or COCIV extended community members. They also are included in the blessings that come from Our Lady when Medjugorje visionary Marija presents the community to Her in an apparition. By living as much as possible the spirit of the community, they have a share in all the prayers and spiritual benefits of the community’s life.

In April, 2010, one of the young mother’s of the Caritas Medjugorje Community was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. We sent the following letter to our Extended Community members to update them on Andrea’s condition. For the first time we are making public Andrea’s story to all those who follow our way as Our Lady has shown us. This has been a painful walk of faith for Andrea, her husband Anthony, their family and the community, but as Our Lady said:

July 25, 1987

“…Dear children, pray and accept all that God is offering you on a way which is bitter. But at the same time, God will reveal every sweetness to whomever begins to go on that way, and He will gladly answer every call of God…”

We have found this message of Our Lady to be true—there have been such sweetness in this walk with Our Lady. Her closeness has been felt by us all. Though all of us accept whatever God’s will is in regards to Anthony and Andrea’s future, we continue to pray strongly and boldly for His complete will for Andrea and we share her story with you for you to join us in this prayer for their family.

A Friend of Medjugorje

Dear Beloved Family,

Some of you have spoken to one or more of us as you have called in about Andrea, but in speaking with you, we realized that we haven’t sent an update regarding her condition. Please forgive us for this, for you are all truly family to us and we feel the urgency to tell as many as possible to be praying and fasting for this intention. Our hands and our hearts have been very full and busy as we have been helping both Annie, who just had a baby girl, Annaleah Regina Ruport on January 27th and Andrea who is no longer able to take care of her family. For those of you who aren’t sure exactly who Andrea is, she is 27 years old and mother of three children, Rebekah (4), Andrew (3) and Jacob (10 mo.). She is married to Anthony Pipp in the Community who is the oldest son of Jeff and Robin Pipp. (All of Anthony’s brothers and sisters are here in the Community.) Andrea is Mark and Mary Hudachek’s daughter and has two brothers who are all members of the Community. Many may know her for her beautiful red hair.

Before we go forward, we’ll give a brief reminder of where we’re coming from. Andrea was diagnosed with a terminal, Stage 4 cancerous brain tumor (abbreviated-PNET) in the spring of 2010. This type of tumor, the doctors said, comes back stronger and bigger every time it is removed. It was immediately removed surgically after it was discovered that spring and she went into an aggressive attack against it with some very effective natural treatments, diet adjustments, fasting, etc. She had a great year after that as her recovery went well and she and Anthony surprised us with a healthy pregnancy and baby boy, Jacob on April 12th of 2011. This alone was a medical miracle. Just before Jacob was born, Anthony and Andrea began noticing symptoms returning of the tumor and just after Jacob was born, they went in for another MRI which showed that the tumor had returned- larger than before. Again, immediately a surgery was performed, the tumor removed and instantly all of the movement she had lost physically was regained. Anthony and Andrea again went into an aggressive attack using a special type of treatment which is non-immunodestroying and again, Andrea had a very healthy, happy year. Actually, on Thanksgiving Day of 2011, she said she had never felt so good. Another miracle, as she was granted a full year of health.

Andrea Pipp, member of the Community of Caritas

In February, 2010, Andrea was a bridesmaid for the wedding of her brother and one of the single consecrated who had lived in community for more than eight years. Shortly after the wedding, Andrea began experiencing occasional piercing headaches and dizziness. In April, she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. So began this journey of faith, not only for Andrea and her husband Anthony and their families, but for the whole community. When Andrea discovered she was pregnant, it became obvious that her choice of confirmation saint had been providential—St. Gianna Molla, who was made a saint because of her choice to save her baby’s life over her own. For Andrea, Anthony and the community there was no choice to make. We placed her future and her baby’s in Our Lady’s hands.

Today, where are we? In December of 2011, just a month after she was feeling her best, Andrea began noticing symptoms again of the tumor. By symptoms we mean that the left side of her mouth started drooping and she noticed that her left arm wasn’t functioning all the way. By Christmas all of us could see the progression and in our hearts, we knew what it meant. A visit to the doctor confirmed the worst. The tumor appeared to be back. Our founder (A Friend of Medjugorje) immediately called Marija who was in Medjugorje, and Anthony and Andrea flew there to be before Our Lady. Marija welcomed them as family and every day that they were with her, Marija brought Anthony and Andrea to the front of her chapel, told the pilgrims gathered there her story and then presented her by name to Our Lady. Our founder’s relationship with Marija is such that his requests are responded to with the love of a sister by Marija and this love has overflowed to the Community. This is a grace beyond belief and the fruit of Anthony and Andrea’s trip was that they returned home with such a peace and abandonment to God’s Will that it radiated in their faces. Despite the crosses, tears and struggles of each day, that peace remains. It is a humbling witness to us all.

When they returned from Medjugorje, another MRI was performed. The results were as expected: the tumor had returned…with a vengeance. This time it is the largest ever, covering one quarter of her brain. As Anthony met with the Community to discuss the results of the MRI in January, he told us the doctor’s diagnosis. Medically speaking, within 3-4 weeks she would not be walking and within a few months the tumor would spread so quickly as to attack her brain stem, shutting down all her systems and then she would slip away from us. Anthony told us that of course, the doctor wanted to operate again and have Andrea do chemotherapy, but Anthony revealed that Andrea was pregnant with their fourth child. In order to do the operation the doctor suggested to abort the child, but there was no question in their minds that this was not even considerable. So it is that Anthony and Andrea, along with the Community walking with the messages have a oneness in the path Our Lady has made clear. Our Lady’s way is ingrained now in this 2nd generation of the Community. The path Anthony and Andrea have chosen is the only way to go. No surgery. Choose life. Let God act. Tears filled the room. Anthony was strong, asking us all to continue to have faith, even until the 11th hour- not to give up hope. Lazareth was resurrected, he said, so our hope must not falter.

It is no coincidence that Andrea’s confirmation name and patron saint is Gianna. If you were to do a little research on St. Gianna Molla, you would be astonished at the similarities in her and Andrea’s story. Actually, Andrea’s second surgery took place on St. Gianna’s feast day, so Our Lady has given signs for us to pay attention to this “holy coincidence.” Because Andrea is pregnant, she and Anthony have definitely avoided all temptations to have the third surgery in order to protect the life of their child. Their doctor was respectful of Anthony and Andrea’s religious beliefs, but to him, Andrea is his patient, not the unborn child, so he wanted her to think of saving herself. She and Anthony have been a strong witness that they will choose life at all costs and we are all holding on to the hope that this little “seed of hope,” is a sign from God to be strong in our faith. The baby is due in September, a very long time after the doctor’s expect Andrea to be living, but this baby is the hope in all our hearts and surely the one thing that will keep Andrea fighting the fight. They will be keeping a close watch on the baby, but yesterday’s trip to the doctor went very well and the baby was actually moving so much that it made the ultrasound difficult to get measurements!

Anthony and Andrea Pipp, member of the Community of Caritas

Anthony helps Andrea walk to the Field for the daily Rosary of the Community. Andrea has been determined to walk herself to the Field as long as she is able, always with a smile on her face. Her dedication to the Rosary and Our Lady has grown stronger through the cross she carries, and both Anthony and Andrea have said that they feel Our Lady close to them as never before. Our Lady said from Medjugorje:


“…If you would abandon yourselves to me, you will not even feel the passage from this life to the next life. You will begin to live the life of Heaven on earth…”

After years of following Our Lady’s messages in the life of the Caritas Community, Anthony and Andrea have become a beautiful model of total abandonment and surrender to God’s will. They know that death comes to everyone and if God’s will is that He is calling Andrea to be with Him, then they will surrender to His desire in peace and even in joy. At the same time they continue to believe and hope in His goodness for what is His desire. We, as a community, continue to pray for God’s will, while praying in hope, that even at death’s door God’s will prevail for what it is He wants for His children.

Our Lady has given NO indication for us that we shouldn’t expect a miracle. In fact, all the messages we have picked, scripture readings, novenas, etc., have encouraged us to hope beyond hope. This, however, is difficult as we watch Andrea deteriorate more every day. She walked as long as she could to Rosary in the Field, her left side dragging as she held clutched to her husband. Over the last few days, though, that walk has become too difficult and she is now in a wheel chair. She really has no use of anything on her left side. It is not slowly that we see the differences, it is overnight. Andrea’s and Anthony’s spirits, on the other hand, are unfailing. Andrea is tremendously at peace, always offering a smile to anyone who stops in to say hello and truly abandoned to the Will of God. This does not mean that tears do not fall, or that her pain is not sometimes unbearable, because they do and it is.


We are in the second half of a 54-day Rosary Novena in which our intention states, “our main intention is for Andrea that all will go well as we place Andrea in your hands. You know our hope dear Mother.” So, we ask for you to join us in prayer and sacrifices for her and her family. Pray strongly for God’s Will. Pray that all of us here are all that she and Anthony need for us to be. Pray for the baby and that Our Lady uses this whole situation for the Glory of God. It may be difficult for us to keep you updated on a frequent basis, so we ask that you keep in contact with us. Feel comfortable talking to anyone on the phones about her condition because we are all able to inform you of her progress. Medically speaking, her situation is hopeless. Medically speaking, neither she nor the baby will make it. But we hold on to the hope that Our Lady will not leave Her children. We want the Will of God so badly for this family and want to be pure with our intentions before Our Lady. Anthony has discussed all of his decisions with Our founder who has told him that they are in harmony with our “way” that Our Lady has established here. We do not know why Heaven has allowed all of this, but it is not for us to question, rather for us to accept and try to live perfectly our role in Our Lady’s plan. We love you all and count on your prayers- you remain in ours.



In the Love of Our Lady,
Erin on Behalf of the Entire Community


young family lost mother

On, Thanksgiving Day, November, 2011, Andrea said she hadn’t felt this good in years. There was the hope that maybe she had turned a corner with the cancer. But within a few weeks, familiar symptoms started to surface again. Knowing that Andrea had the desire to go to Medjugorje, our founder immediately made arrangements for Anthony and Andrea to go after the New Year, while Medjugorje visionary Marija was still in the village. They left to go to Medjugorje on January 2, 2012, and as they were saying good-bye to several community members, they were handed Our Lady’s words to Mirjana given that morning at the Blue Cross:

January 2, 2012

"Dear children; As with motherly concern I look in your hearts, in them I see pain and suffering; I see a wounded past and an incessant search; I see my children who desire to be happy but do not know how. Open yourselves to the Father. That is the way to happiness, the way by which I desire to lead you. God the Father never leaves His children alone, especially not in pain and despair. When you comprehend and accept this, you will be happy. Your search will end. You will love and you will not be afraid. Your life will be hope and truth which is my Son…”

With the message, we sent along with them our founder’s writing that he had written for the January 2, 2012 message, entitled, “You Need Not Drown” which beautifully paralleled their own walk with Our Lady. Our Lady gave them the gift of peace while in Medjugorje, whatever their future holds.

If you would like to join the Community in praying the 54-Day Rosary Novena, it is offered as a free download. The special meditations of this novena were written by A Friend of Medjugorje and was first prayed by the community before Our Lady's visit to Caritas in March, 2011. You will understand the depth of prayer that is behind the writing of this novena after you, yourself, pray it. It is a powerful prayer and has become a favorite of the community's for all of our needs. For the free 54-Rosary Novena download, click to visit here

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