Is Joey Schwartz 2nd miracle for Blessed Seelos Canonization?
Father Byron Miller C.Ss.R EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Seelos Shrine & Vice-Postulator of the cause for canonization of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos,announced on Wednesday 17th September 2014,in a radio interview to 
WWL in New Orleans a new second miracle has been found.In it he mentions the miracle of Joey.We have an article which gives the full information of Joey and the cancer her recovered from.
Photos: Copyright Paul Schwartz


Joey’s fight: Family attributes to clean scan to faith

September 25, 2009 - 8:30am.
By Keighla Schmidt, Staff Writer

It might sound like a plot line from a movie, but after his family visited a Catholic shrine in New Orleans, Joey Schwartz’s latest CT scan showed he’s cancer free just two months after being told terminal cancer had returned.

Joey was first diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer, midline carcinoma, in March 2008 when he was 13. After 10 months of highly-toxic chemotherapy followed by six weeks of radiation, he was told he was in remission. But, during a follow-up PET scan in July, the 14-year-old from Savage was told he had to continue his fight the aggressive cancer.   

“When Joey was re-diagnosed, the reoccurrence on the chest wall and in his lungs was devastating news,” Paul said. “The doctor told us, ‘I can’t offer hope at this point.’”Doctors identified two large masses on his chest wall and dozens of small tumors in his lungs.

Joey Schwartz: Joey Schwartz wears a relic, a piece
of the Blessed Father Seelos’ body, around his neck

Deciding to fight anyway, Joey started chemotherapy again and with the support of his parents, Paul and Melinda, along with his twin brother Derek, the family turned to their Catholic faith.

They had been following a story about a 71-year-old woman who had been diagnosed with terminal esophageal cancer that had spread throughout her body, but the malignant tumors disappeared after prayers to Blessed Father Seelos, who died in 1867 in New Orleans. Seelos has been beatified by the Vatican and is believed to have successful intercessions for ill people. The woman, Mary Ellen Heibel, has been cancer free since 2005.

Paul ordered a first-class relic, a small piece Seelos’s body, for Joey to wear in a pendant as a point of focus for prayers, as Heibel has done.

“Obviously not everyone who prays to Seelos is healed,” Paul said.

But, he added, prayers couldn’t do any harm.

After one round of the toxic drugs and getting an affirmative nod from their doctor, the Schwartz family made a pilgrimage to New Orleans to visit a shrine to Seelos.

“It may have been New Orleans, but it wasn’t voodoo,” Melinda said with a laugh.

The family attended a Sunday mass and a woman in charge of the administration of the Seelos shrine, Joyce Bourgeois, took special care of the family.

“Just talking to her on the phone is a spiritual experience,” Melinda said.

Joey said throughout the mass Bourgeois had her hands on his shoulders to bless him.

Along with Bourgeois and other shrine officials, Paul said many parishioners offered up their anecdotal stories about the intercessions Seelos had done for them and expressed hope for Joey.

“You take some of it with a grain of salt,” Paul said. “But, really, you’re going there looking for some hope … it was a very uplifting, spiritual day.”

With Joey still wearing the relic, the Schwartz family headed home.

“When we got home and started telling people about our trip, we got the typical ‘pat on the head,’” Paul said. “A very small amount of people actually understood what we did and why.”

After one more round of chemo and one CT scan on Sept. 3, the family thought their prayers were answered.

“We were hoping the scans would show the tumors had either stayed the same size or shrunken a little,” Paul said of their feelings going into the appointment.

“It’s scary before going in,” Joey said. “I really didn’t know what to think, I was hoping for something good.”

When Dr. Jawhar Rawwas, Joey’s oncology doctor at Children’s Hospital, read the scans initially, he told the family the tumors had shrunk.

“We thought that was our miracle,” Melinda said. “We were thrilled with that.” 

After bringing Joey back to the Academy of Holy Angels where he and Derek are freshman, Paul and Melinda got a call from the doctor.

“He said the radiologist had looked at Joey’s scans and that’s when I thought he was going to say the initial scan missed something and prepared for the worst,” Paul said. “He said he couldn’t detect any traces of cancer … and on top of that, the two initial large masses were now thought to be scar tissue.”

Immediately, they turned to their faith.
“Instinctively we were making the sign of the cross,” Paul recalled.

Next they called Bourgeois to tell her the good news and she told them that meant “God had a plan for Joey.”

“I already knew that,” Joey said.

Back at the high school, Derek received the good news first.

“I almost dropped my football helmet,” he said.

As for Joey – “he kept stepping back away from us and saying ‘you’re kidding, you’re kidding.’” Melinda recalled.

While they all place a lot of faith in the miracle, Joey will continue with the rounds of chemo, as planned.

“Right now they don’t know that God didn’t heal me through the work of the chemo,” Joey said.

“We’re not getting the sense that it’s something we should stop,” Paul added.

Joey’s hopeful the original plan of nine months of chemo will be abbreviated soon.

For as large of a role as each family member’s faith has played in Joey’s journey, their familial steadfast devotion is fairly new.

Paul, who said he had been largely atheist and agnostic since he was 15, came back to his childhood faith when Joey was first diagnosed with midline carcinoma in 2008.

“I’ve definitely put all my faith in God now and it’s paid off,” he said. “It’s been quite a turn about for me.”

Melinda, who grew up in a Baptist church and converted to Catholicism when she was a teenager, said she wasn’t totally sold on the religion, but now feels strongly connected.

“I’ve been a Christian since I was 15 and my faith has never been as powerful as it is now,” she said.


Even after Joey’s short-lived remission and it looked like his cancer was back, they stayed faithful.

“We stayed strong spiritually throughout everything,” Joey said.

Now there are daily prayers as a family, something they’d never done before.

Joey’s faith is one he wears not on his sleeve, but around his neck. Along with the Seelos relic there are other chains with medals and pendants of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Peregrine –the patron saint of cancer and a cross that he wears every day.

When kids at school ask him about them, Joey tells them to consider his position: “If you had cancer, you’d do it to.”


Keighla Schmidt can be reached at


Joey Schwartz,15, from Savage,Minnesota was confirmed Saturday 12th February at 1000hrs in the Catherdral in St Paul,which is the National Shrine of the Apostle Paul.Joey was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in March 2008.He is now totally free of the cancer and he and his family belive firmly that it was through the prayers and intercessions they made  to Blessed Seelos that this came about.Last Saturday he and his twin brother Derek were amongst those young people in the Diocese who were to become "Soldiers of Christ" through the Sacrament of Confirmation.Joey chose the Name Seelos for his Confirmation name..His Father Paul told us "Joey has a very special affinity with Blessed Father Seelos.  He has established himself as Joey's guide and protector, and helped to provide him with the continued gift of life through his powerful  intercession.  It was a natural choice for Joey to take the confirmation name Seelos in his honor."We ask your prayers for Joey and all those who were confirmed into the Catholic Faith with him.