Jim Shapland

I am grateful to St. Olave’s for many things, particularly for the ministry it has given to our family. Over the years we have leaned on it many times.
I’ll pass along a little story. I would hesitate to elevate it into the ranks of a miracle, but there may have been higher forces involved. It also says a lot about reinforcing a belief in the power of prayer.

Here goes. Back on a Sunday morning in May, 2015, my late wife, Nancy, became quite ill. It may have had something to do with belated grief from losing our daughter, Meaghan, a year before. Nancy was having great difficulty with her breathing. I got her to Humber River Hospital, and she was immediately taken into their ER. Just to give you a sense of how serious the problem was, a normal person registers an exhalation reading of about 400. Nancy was struggling to reach 120!
During the course of Sunday afternoon, they administered to her large amounts of antibiotics and steroids. These considerably improved her ability to breath, but the medication had a serious side effect. She completely lost the use of her extremities. She couldn’t use her arms and hands to feed herself. She couldn’t support herself on her feet .Totally immobilized and bedridden.
Monday morning, when I visited her in her room, there was no change in her condition. During the course of the day, she kept asking for a visit from David (our former Rector, Reverend David Burrows), and she wanted him to bring ‘his oils’ (the anointing oils). I was able to arrange a visitation with David late Monday afternoon, and at her bedside he performed the short service of anointing from the BCP. On the drive home, David told me that over the course of his 30 years in the priesthood, he had visited many sick people in hospitals. However, he had never encountered anyone sicker than Nancy.
That night, I knew that we were in serious trouble – very dire straights. The only thing I could think to do was to pray for her, which I fervently did a number of times.
Forward, then, to Tuesday morning. When I reached her floor in the hospital, to my great surprise (and delight), Nancy came down the hall walking behind her walker – as bright and feisty as ever. She was discharged on the Wednesday afternoon, and began a long but steady recovery to better health.
Some two years later Nancy and I would find ourselves in an ambulance again en route to the same hospital. Much to my astonishment, our new rector, Rev’d Rob, made it to the hospital BEFORE us, there to provide support.
So that’s my story. Couldn’t make it up. A testimonial for the power of prayer and how St. Olave’s has served and continues to be there for us to this day.