Holiness Up Close

My Son’s Faith-Filled Journey with Mental Illness

Holiness Up Close

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My son Mark was only forty-six when he died suddenly two years ago. It happened in November, when the Church celebrates All Saints Day and prays for all souls—the “faithful departed” who die in friendship with God.

Mark will never be officially declared a saint, but as I pray for our son and reflect on his life, I see a hard-won holiness that continues to inspire our family and friends.

Mark suffered from a serious mental condition, and his faith was at the heart of all his decisions and activities. Living every day with him, we saw both his pain and his deep devotion to Jesus. And so to us, he is our beloved “saint” Mark—one of the many “small s” saints whose lives are known to just a few.

The Battle Begins. Mark’s struggles began in the tenth grade. He started high school as an A student, warm and outgoing. He was a good athlete who wasn’t the star but didn’t sit on the bench—he practiced hard to earn his spot in football and baseball…

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