Seeing the Miracles that Lie beyond Pain
Author Interview with Marion Lee,
Of Moose and Miracles
by Lisa M. Hendey
all know people who have survived seemingly insurmountable tragedy. We
wonder at their strength, their ability to continue living through
circumstances that would stop most of the rest of us dead in our tracks.
For these types of individuals, one common denominator is frequently faith,
which can often be an inspirational stepping stone for others.
Of Moose and Miracles
(CMJ Publishers, May 2002, paperback, 175 pages)
is the story of a family whose faith helped them through what is surely
one of life’s greatest heartbreaks: the death of a child, Kraig Frick.
Written by Marion Lee, the story that unfolds before us is told in the voice
of Karyl Frick, Kraig’s mother. In Karyl’s words, we meet her son, the
youngest of seven children and learn of his fatal diagnosis. Author Lee
describes her book as follows:
Moose and Miracles
is a personal glimpse into the deep faith of a family nurtured in love,
There are seven children and the youngest, Kraig, is stricken with an
inoperable brain stem tumor. During Kraig’s illness, Divine Providence
leads the family into the path of a seminarian, a late vocation. It doesn’t
take long to realize that a mysterious and wondrous plan is afoot. Through
the transcendent power of God, a partnership is forged in time and in
eternity that fortified the faith of the newly ordained priest, Fr. Jacques
LaPointe, enabling him to move mountains in his ministry. During his first
assignment in Japan, Fr. Jacques single-handedly faced the “Goliath” of
child pornography, carrying the battle to the Emperor himself!”
Lee’s book has the feel of a compelling religious novel, but
its impact lies in the fact that this is a real story that happened to a
real family. With compassionate empathy, she gives voice to a mother’s
love, pain and ultimate triumph over what surely is any parent’s worst
nightmare. The Frick family is a shining model for any family facing
personal difficulties. Their ability to find the miracles present in
Kraig’s life and passing offer tremendous hope and encouragement.
Of Moose and Miracles
is a quick read, but an incredible learning experience. I
am pleased to share the following interview with author Marion Lee and to
Of Moose and Miracles.
Q: Marion Lee, author of
Of Moose and Miracles, please introduce yourself to our readers and
share a bit of your own faith background.
A: I use my maiden name, Marion Lee, as my pen name. I
have been married to Edward Levandowski for 43 years. We have three
daughters and four beautiful grandchildren. Writing is a gift that came
very late in life for me. I just celebrated my 70th birthday!
As a young woman, I loved to write poetry for close friends and family on
special occasions. It never occurred to me that my writing was a gift.
However, at the age of 43, God blessed me with a miracle. Her name is Katie
and she defied all medical odds by surviving a pregnancy that was doomed at
the outset. One of the doctors at the University of Pennsylvania suggested
I write a story about Katie’s birth. It was a catharsis for me and, in my
ignorance, I stuck it in an envelope, sent it to Good Housekeeping and they
bought it immediately! That was in 1980 and “A Miracle Called Katie” was
published in l982. Thus began my humble writing career.
In 1988, I had my first book, “On the Palm of His Hand”
published by St. Bede’s. Once again, it was someone else’s idea that I
write a book about the death of a beloved childhood friend describing how
God touched our lives during her illness.
It was after the birth of Katie and before the death of
Phyllis that I began my spiritual journey. The miracle of Katie’s birth
demanded a response and I suddenly found myself saying, “I want to know who
Jesus is!” Mind you, I was a lifelong Catholic, but I had no heart
knowledge of God nor did I have any idea of the depth of His love for each
and every one of us.
Between the two books I had published, I wrote a lot of short
stories and they too were published in a variety of Catholic magazines. I
am grateful to God for this unexpected blessing in my life but, more
importantly, for His teaching me that all life and every good thing in life
comes from Him.
Q: How did you connect with Karyl Frick and the Frick family
and what compelled you to take on this project?
A: I worked in a Catholic bookstore in Dallas and a
colleague of mine kept insisting that I had to write a story about Karyl
Frick and her son. I had never met Karyl and I was very reluctant to
contact a perfect stranger but my friend’s persistence wore me out.
Finally, I called Karyl but we couldn‘t arrange a meeting at that time.
Then, one day, Karyl walked into the store and my friend excitedly took her
by the arm and led her to my desk. Whatever fears I may have had evaporated
immediately. There was an instant rapport and as she spoke about Kraig, I
knew it was a story that had to be shared.
Q: In my reading of the book, I was touched so deeply by the
telling of the story in Karyl’s voice--how did you come to the conclusion to
tell the story of Kraig’s life in his mother’s voice as opposed to in
narrative form? Was Karyl’s retelling of Kraig’s story to you a difficult
or emotional experience?
A: I decided at the outset to tell the story from Karyl’s
point of view. My feeling was it would be more interesting for the reader.
The dialogue was easy because Karyl and I are on the same wave length.
The difficult part was putting the story together in sequence and, for
that, I credit the Holy Spirit. It was a heart-wrenching, emotional
experience for both of us but it was also the beginning of a deep and
Q: Could you please share “Kraig’s Prayer” with our readers
and say a few words about it?
A: Kraig’s prayer, “Lord, please help the people who need it
most,” began as a second grade class assignment before he became ill. To
this day, the family recites the prayer, along with Grace before meals.
After Kraig died, the prayer became the anthem for the Kraig Frick Memorial
Fund, a fund set up in Haiti for the explicit purpose of helping poor and
destitute children. The first donations came from Kraig himself! Karyl had
given him an empty jar while he was sick and every time Kraig took his
medicine, he was rewarded with some coins. Those coins became the seedbed
for the Memorial Fund. After Kraig’s death, his classmates took up the
challenge by adopting the Fund as a Lenten project. They recited Kraig’s
prayer faithfully and had it printed on all the flyers posted in school
promoting the Memorial Fund.
Q: Karyl’s deep spiritual life shines through in this story,
particularly her devotions to recently canonized St. Padre Pio and Blessed
Marie of the Incarnation. Could you please share about these two
intercessors and the role they played in the Frick’s story?
A: Karyl was introduced to the intercession of Blessed Marie
of the Incarnation through a personal friend, an Ursuline nun. The very
first time Karyl met Jacques LaPointe (while he was a seminarian) they were
amazed to discover that both of them were pleading for a miracle from
Blessed Marie. Believe it or not, Karyl had never heard about Padre Pio
until the day Kraig made his First Communion! A woman from her parish came
up to her in church, handed her a prayer to Padre Pio, and shared the fact
that she was praying to Padre Pio for a miracle cure for Kraig. As soon as
she was able, Karyl went to Sacred Heart Bookstore to gather as much
information as she could about Padre Pio. He soon became a major figure in
her arsenal of prayer warriors for Kraig.
Q: In the book, you mention Project Oasis? Can you please
tell us about this entity? Can readers support their work or learn more
about their needs?
A: Project Oasis was started in Tokyo in 1997 by a group of
parishioners of Fr. Jacques. These parishioners were ex-patriots working
for American Corporations in Japan. Their efforts were so successful, when
they were sent back home, they continued the work here in the United
States. It is a volunteer, non-profit organization that helps
underprivileged and at-risk children, and works against their exploitation.
It also is dedicated to improving education, health and economic conditions
of children. It partners with and supports agencies and libraries that have
vision, strategies and human resources, but lack financial means. Their
involvement with supplying books for children led to their annual Book
Award and Kraig’s story seemed to them a natural selection! Project
Oasis cooperates with other organizations in the U.S. as well as Japan,
Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and in over 12 developing nations around the
world. For further information, you can go to
Q: You mention in your acknowledgements to the book having
the opportunity to interview Father Jacques LaPointe for your work. Would
you please give us a brief update on Father LaPointe’s work in Japan and his
current activities? Is the “Moose Team” still at work?
A: Father Jacques’ work in Japan was remarkable. As I said,
he managed to get the Japanese Diet (the equivalent of our Congress) to pass
a law against child pornography. The Japanese had tried for ten years to
pass such legislation without success. With the spiritual support of Kraig,
Jacques managed to do this in eight months! Father Jacques regards Kraig as
his priestly partner. He never tackles a problem without asking for Kraig’s
help from heaven. When Father Jacques returned to the US, he was stationed
at an inner city parish in New York City. From there, he was sent to Silver
Spring, Maryland. In Maryland, he began an outreach to the poor, mostly
immigrants. At the present time, he lives in New Brunswick, Canada and is
working in tandem with the Canadian government assisting with the enormous
influx of immigrants fleeing Africa. The “Moose Team” is alive and well and
still helping those in most need!
Q: Clearly, a strongly held faith helped sustain the Frick
family during Kraig’s illness and passing! How has the Frick family been
able to move on since Kraig’s passing and how are they doing today?
A: The Frick family was and continues to be a close-knit
group. Four of their children are now married. Karyl and Mike have been
blessed with four grandchildren. Mike recently retired and is busier than
ever. Both Mike and Karyl volunteer their time and talents to the
Missionaries of Charity in Dallas. With a large family, they also spend a
great deal of time traveling and participating in all the family
celebrations, i.e., Baptisms, Birthdays, Holy Communions, etc. Kraig’s
spirit is very much alive and his presence continues to be felt at every
family gathering. A strong faith is the anchor of their lives. Daily
communion, adoration and a deep prayer life certainly brought them through
an unimaginable loss, but I also believe it restored their zest and joy for
living. The Fricks are as normal as “blueberry pie” and so much fun to be
Q: Marion Lee, author of
Of Moose and Miracles, thank you for your time and participation in
this interview. Are there any additional thoughts or comments you’d like to
share with our readers?
A: Karyl and I have received outstanding response to our
little book. People’s minds and hearts have been deeply touched. Perhaps
the most dramatic illustration of this was a phone call I received not long
after the book was published. A friend of mine called me long-distance to
tell me about a troubled young girl who had already arranged to have an
abortion, but after reading Kraig’s story, her heart was changed! Praise
God! We continue to hear inspiring stories from people all over the
country, people who have taken the time to write or call to express the
impact Kraig has made on their lives.
For more information on
Of Moose and Miracles visit
Lisa M. Hendey is a mother of two sons, webmaster of numerous
web sites, including
http://www.christiancoloring.com, and an avid reader of Catholic
literature. Visit her at
http://www.lisahendey.com for more information.
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