ABLE, Inc. believes that every person has a story to tell which are masterful ways to speak to the universe.
This is a story we wish to share with our readers. Our story involves one of ABLE, Inc. volunteers, Leo Mischel (see in image below with his friend Rachel Sorenson) and one of ABLE, Inc.’s past board members, Ellen Njos (seen below in the image to the left).
Leo Mischel has been playing music faithfully on Friday mornings at ABLE, Inc. for many years. Leo looks forward to seeing his friends Misty Kent, Rachel Sorenson, Nancy Ferderer and Matt Steinbach.
Leo and Ellen met each other, not through their ties with ABLE, Inc., but through their Miracle Story. Leo tells us that we have to hurry and tell this story because he has turned 90 and doesn’t know how long he has left on this earth. No longer afraid of death, Leo says, “If I had doubts before, I sure don’t have them anymore after witnessing this miracle.”
Leo has a deep love for his church. Leo has been demonstrating that love through weaving palms into beautiful works of art including a crown of thorns (Leo’s palm work is seen below). He also makes, sells and gives away Rosaries. Leo’s wife resided at St. Benedict’s Nursing Home where Leo visited her every day. There he met Ellen’s brother, Robert Fischer, who also made
Rosaries. When Robert was unable to continue that task, Leo took the supplies and the “in progress” Rosaries and completed them. In the boxes of supplies, he saw the name Njos and couldn’t, for the life of him, figure out how to pronounce that name. One day Ellen and Leo met at the nursing home when Ellen went to see Robert. Leo finally learned how to pronounce her name.
On March 23, 2013, Ellen’s beautiful and gifted daughter Johanna was driving from Dickinson to Bowman to see her family. On an icy curve, Johanna’s car was hit by a semi-truck. Johanna, at the young age of 30, was killed. As an artist, humanitarian and teacher in the Dickinson Schools, she inspired students and pretty much anyone she met. (picture of her program and picture that she drew of Jesus found below). Johanna’s family was heart sick over their loss and God’s gain. Johanna always carried her Rosary in her purse. This Rosary which was made of very unique beads was a gift and was very special to her. In the accident, this Rosary was broken into 22 pieces and 3 of the unique beads were missing. Her family wanted to restore it. They thought of Leo.
Ellen cautioned Leo that there were missing beads. Leo counted all the beads and concurred that they were short 3 beads. He told Ellen that he could supplement some of their beads where they wouldn’t be too noticeable. She agreed. He told her that he wasn’t sure if he could fix the crucifix either.
Leo started the process of repair. As he neared the end, he kept finding more beads. Leo said he had to sit down in awe. At the end, all the beads were there. “I know I counted them. I counted them 2 or 3 times before I started. They were missing. Ellen and another family member had counted before taking the Rosary to Leo and they were not there!. How did they just show up?” He called Ellen and asked her if she was sitting down. He said, “Ellen, do you believe in miracles?” She said she did. He said, “Well I sure do too now! All the beads are here!”
The Cross was pretty damaged. Leo said, “God, you’ve taken us this far, please use my hands to fix this crucifix too.” Leo said that the crucifix is fixed and that you can hardly tell that it is damaged. Ellen and Leo want all to know about this story. We want people to know that there are miracles in life. That there is hope and comfort waiting for all of us and to keep believing!