Learning How to Die

Learning How to Die


April 12, 2012 A.D.

As culture grows, man does what he does in a natural way. He does not do it with great and lofty thought or showy spectacles, striving for effects. His work, his duty, his feast days are real. Feast days are real celebrations because it is time for celebration. His accomplishments aren’t celebrated, rather the result of his accomplishments are, and by all. When it is not centered on what man has done, it is then centered on what God has done for man. Today, parades, fall festivals, city festivals, etc. are devoid of life, carried out with pomp or motivated without sentiment as to its purpose – a performance where the heart is missing, as in an empty husk without corn, a hull without seed, a shell without a nut, to give the appearance of joyous celebration as a husk does to corn, a hull to seed, or a shell to a nut. These things are done and participated in without understanding why they are done, and they give appearance of growth of life, when in actuality something is gravely wrong and very sick. Mardi Gras in New Orleans and other places around the world, marking the beginning of Lent, is a prime example. Man celebrates something that is no longer of God, but now of man, and it has become obscene, nay, beyond obscene.

Taken from “As Go God’s People, So Goes the World”
By A Friend of Medjugorje

What follows is about life. When one lives their life for God, even in death, there is no empty shell, but fullness of life in the confidence of knowing that life is born anew in Heaven. The experience of the Caritas Community in letting go of Andrea is our way of life. It was moved by the Spirit, through Our Lady, as guided by A Friend of Medjugorje. We felt the fullness of God’s love in union with not only Our Lady, but with Andrea herself. We share this “behind-the-scenes” of our life in community because Our Lady said to our founder to be a witness:

October 6, 1986

“Pray and by your life witness…”


“We’ve learned how to live by coming to Caritas, and now we’re learning how to die by coming to Caritas. It’s all incredibly beautiful. Thank you all for everything…”


Dear Beloved Family,


It is difficult to know how to express the events that have transpired over these past days in the community as we said farewell to Andrea—wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend, and her sweet little unborn baby. We can only say this…we are blessed. Our hearts are filled with thanksgiving to God and to Our Lady for the life Our Lady has led us to live here—a life that leads to holiness and sanctity, that brings blessed assurance that at the end of the life of a loved one, they have entered into the gates of Heaven, healed, whole and happy. The way of Our Lady’s messages is a sure way to eternal life with God. Andrea’s life is a testimony to this certainty, and it is the reason that despite the fact that all our hearts will hurt for a long time because of her passing, there is a deep joy that we feel in knowing that Andrea and her baby are with Jesus and Our Lady. We were hoping for Andrea to be able to give birth to her baby here on earth, but God’s plan was to birth the two of them into eternal life together. Our Lady of Medjugorje said:

March 25, 1990

“… As I bore Jesus in my womb, so also, dear children, do I wish to bear you unto holiness…Therefore, little children, understand also the greatness of the gift which God is giving you through me, so that I may protect you with my mantle and lead you to the joy of life…”

The joy of life…both in this life and the next. Over the past week and a half, the Holy Spirit has shed light upon certain signposts in the life of Andrea that we see now as prophetic in how her life came to a close here on earth. Anthony and Andrea began their courtship with a 54-day Rosary novena, as do all the young couples in our community who feel that God may be calling them to marriage. On New Year’s Eve, 2004, the day before their novena was to begin, they picked a random message from Words from Heaven together:

June 25, 1990

“I thank you for giving your life to allow other life.”

Our Lady had given this message to visionary Ivanka, after she had given birth to one of her children, yet, Our Lady’s messages speak to each of us individually concerning our own unique circumstances. If we could choose only one message from Our Lady to be Andrea’s “life” message, it would be the one above. Anthony and Andrea became engaged on the 25th Anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions in Medjugorje. Anthony proposed to Andrea in the Bedroom of Apparitions here at Caritas. That day Our Lady gave the following message to Marija in Medjugorje:

June 25, 2006

“Dear children! With great joy in my heart I thank you for all the prayers that, in these days, you offered for my intentions. Know, little children, that you will not regret it, neither you nor your children. God will reward you with great graces and you will earn eternal life. I am near you and thank all those who, through these years, have accepted my messages, have poured them into their life and decided for holiness and peace. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Upon her deathbed, there were no regrets that Andrea felt concerning the choices she made in her life—the choice of embracing Our Lady’s invitation to devote her entire life to the living and spreading of Our Lady’s messages through the mission and community of Caritas, the choice of marriage to Anthony and a life of service as a wife and mother, and the choice to save the life of her baby at the risk of losing her own—though in the end, both lives were called to be with God in Heaven. The above messages, among many other signs, helped us to see that Andrea lived out her destiny—the will of God in her life. Truly, she experienced a grace-filled, happy death. The messages of Our Lady, exemplified through the witness and the writings of A Friend of Medjugorje, Caritas’ founder, found good soil in Andrea’s soul. Even when she was no longer able to read on her own, she wanted Anthony to read to her the recent writings of A Friend of Medjugorje. Andrea’s last words to one of the community members who was helping to verify sources from our founder’s latest book so to bring the book to completion was, “Finish that book!” She was waiting for it to be completed so she could have it read to her. Now we look to her to help us bring the book to completion.

There were many family, friends and supporters who came from across the United States to be with us during these days of laying Andrea and her baby to rest. After her burial, many of them began to share their own experience over these past months while praying for Andrea. In the telling of their stories, something remarkable came to light. Several of them said that when they heard of Andrea’s death, instead of praying for her, they began to pray to her, asking her intercession for Andrea’s husband, children, family and the community—and then for their own needs. All of them attested to the fact that they had never experienced this before with anyone else they knew who had died. And what was more remarkable is that some of their prayers were immediately answered—things that they had prayed for, for years.

“Never before in my life have I ever felt the urge to petition a soul that I knew that had died. I had never prayed so hard for anyone ever in my life than I prayed for Andrea and all of you in the last month. But when Andrea died, the first thing I asked myself , “Was I praying for her at the moment she passed away?” And I realized I had been praying for her at that moment. I then immediately said, “Please pray for me, Andrea. Please intercede and obtain the gift of prayer for me.”

Praying has always been so hard for me, and I don’t understand why. I want to do everything Our Lady and Jesus are asking me to do, and they’re asking me to pray before everything else. I especially found it difficult to pray the Rosary. When I would come to Caritas, I would pray the Rosary with everyone else out in the Field, but without feeling anything. I thought there was something wrong with me. I have longed to have the desire to pray the Rosary for years. But, within hours of saying this prayer to Andrea after she passed away, I was filled with a passion so strong to pray the Rosary. I’ve scarcely let go of my Rosary since. When I’m not praying my Rosary, I’m thinking about it. And I’ve asked myself a number of times in the last few days, is it just a superficial, emotional thing, but I just keep getting this overwhelming sense of peace. It’s just a feeling that Our Lady has finally grabbed me, and I’ve let Her grab me. And so I know with all my heart that Andrea obtained that grace for me, something that I’ve been longing for and desiring so strongly for years that has now come. And I’m so thankful for that. I’m so thankful for all of you who supported her in the life of obedience and grace that she lived, that enabled her to pass the way that she did, to be a witness to me as a mother…

Montgomery, Alabama

What follows is a short pictorial of the days of Andrea and her baby’s death, wake and burial. We share it with you because within Our Lady’s messages is a way of life that is beautiful and brings the greatest comfort to the heart in times of sorrow. Our Lady called our founder, and through him, this community to witness to “a way of life.” May what follows be an encouragement to you to follow the way of Our Lady.

“Dear Caritas,

A Friend of Medjugorje’s Radio Wave show, “Goodbye Andrea,” is one of those shows that I will always remember. What a beautiful death. We hear so little anymore about grace-filled, peaceful deaths. So many die in such sterile conditions with strangers around. My grandma used to tell me stories about back in the day (she was born in 1908) when the beloved were kept at home, died at home and you sat up with the dead and had the wake. They were beautiful stories, really of love and mercy. And now you are bringing that back which has been forgotten. God bless you!

Jennifer, Indianapolis




Andrea holding the Crucifix in her hands

When it became apparent that Andrea was dying, our founder went to his home to take the Crucifix that hung in his wife’s and his bedroom and have it placed in Andrea’s hands. This is the Crucifix that originally had been in the apparition room in Medjugorje that the visionaries prayed before in hundreds of apparitions. Fr. Slavko had given this Crucifix to our founder, and it has hung in his bedroom for more than 25 years, being blessed by Our Lady on 128 occasions when She appeared to Marija within the Bedroom. It is at the heart and foundation of our community. Here she holds onto the Crucifix with one hand, while her other hand is being held by one of her brothers who strives to give her strength for the journey, while his own heart is broken.


Gathered around Andrea

A well-known Christian leader in the U.S., told of a tragedy that happened to him as a child, that negatively impacted his life even into his adult years. His mother had fallen gravely ill, but this little boy was not told. One day they ushered him into her bedroom and as he looked upon his mother who laid dead in her bed, was told that his mother was gone. Just as quickly, he was brought out of the room and no explanation was given. He was left on his own with his questions and fears, shocked and wounded from this for much of his life. This is not the way of Our Lady. Anthony and Andrea’s children, Rebekah, age 4, Andrew, age 3, and Jacob, 11 months, when they woke up the morning of April 1, were held and cuddled as they were told that their mama was dying and that everyone had come over to their house to say goodbye. This was not a shock to them. They were being prepared for this moment for some time. Anthony brought them into the bedroom, and had them sit with him, and with their grandparents who were on either side of the bed beside Andrea, while other community members were gathered around the bed as well. All the community children, along with Rebekah, Andrew and Jacob, gave their final kisses and I love you’s while surrounded by the love of their families and the community.


Jacob grabbing the crucifix Little Jacob reached up to touch the feet of Jesus on the Crucifix hanging above his mother who was in her last agony before her resurrection, while his father and grandmother held him still. This hand-made Crucifix was held by Anthony and Andrea when they made their wedding vows to each other five years ago. During the wedding, the priest spoke to them about returning to this Crucifix whenever they were in need in their marriage for healing or grace. Anthony carried this Crucifix close to his heart throughout the days of the wake and funeral.

Anthony and Andrea's Wedding


Anthony holding Rebekah's hands Anthony takes Rebekah’s hand and presses it between his and Andrea’s, a final benediction from mother to daughter.



Kids at rosary

The beauty of community life is perhaps seen most clearly when a loved one dies. Rebekah and Andrew, on the day their mother died, did what they always do each day—they went to the Rosary and played around Our Lady’s statue with their other little community friends all born and raised together. There was no interruption in their lives. No packing bags going back and forth in cars between relatives while their dad figures out how to care for them while he returns to work. No emergency placing them into day care. Of course, they have experienced a great loss, and they will miss their mother, but their mother lives both in Heaven and in the continuity of their lives, continuing on, giving them, when they most need it, the security that everything else in life is the same and they are going to be okay. Our life is seamless between Heaven and earth and if angels pass back and forth to these grounds, cannot their mother’s heart? A friend who came from Nashville, who was touched by the whole experience of these days, told us:
“…We do pray that our family, which we have our 8th grandchild on the way, can be what you are here…”

Rebekah and Andrew at Rosary



Building the casket with love

Andrea died the morning of Palm Sunday, April 1. It being Holy Week, the funeral was scheduled for Wednesday, April 4. That gave only 24 hours for the men of the community to build a coffin for Andrea. A final act of working with wood for our loved ones who pass away has become a meaningful part of the life of the community. There is a desire in every community member to give our own offering in the preparation and burial of our loved ones. For many of the men and boys of the community, working with wood as Jesus did, made their offering for the final resting place for Andrea more meaningful. In order to accomplish this, they had to work throughout the whole night until morning.



The finished casket

The wood came from the pine trees that surround our valley here, and trimmed in cedar. Two cross inlays were also fashioned out of the cedar wood and attached to either side giving the sign that marks one a Christian. Andrea’s life gave a powerful witness to the Christian faith. After her death, one priest commented that because Andrea would not accept medical treatment for herself, because of the harm it would cause her baby in the womb, said that she would receive a martyr’s crown in Heaven for giving up her life to save another. Our Lady said:

November 25, 1997

“… Today I invite you to comprehend your Christian vocation. Little children, I led and am leading you through this time of grace, that you may become conscious of your Christian vocation. Holy martyrs died witnessing: I am a Christian…”


Blacksmithing the casket handles

The handles for the pall bearers were fashioned in our blacksmithing shop by Andrea’s brother, Ben and Joshua, one of the sons of our founder. In 2009, we buried another community member, and designed and built his coffin as well. From that experience, we knew better how to build this one. This has always been Our Lady’s way here—to learn by experience is so much a part of our life that it is normalized into our community. If we live our lives striving to do everything with grace and dignity, why should burying a loved one be any different? Why should we not approach the passage from this life to the next wanting to do everything to perfection out of love for God and for the one who now lives eternally?



Metalworking for Andrea's casket

After the handles were shaped and forged, they had to be grinded to smooth out the medal and ready them to be painted. With most of the work done by daybreak, the men and boys went home for a two hour rest, but a few of them had to return to make finishing touches before the funeral home could receive this work of love by early Monday afternoon.



Andrea's casket in the Chapel at Caritas

Andrea was brought back to Caritas the evening of April 2, and placed in a prayer chapel in the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages, in which the image of Our Lady of Medjugorje was displayed in the stained glass window behind her. For the next 24 hours, she laid within this chapel, while family, community members and close friends visited often, beginning our final goodbyes to her. It is a philosophy our founder established in the community to not shield children from the experience of death. It teaches them not to be afraid of death, and even at their young ages, they can begin to understand that only the body dies, not the spirit. Where Andrea beautifully lay in the chapel, the children were coming and going, standing up on tiptoes to see, wanting to be held to have a better view. We shed our tears openly and they watched us with deep wonder, but without fear. But they also saw our joy in speaking of Andrea, her life, her courage, her peace.



Rebekah and Andrea in the Chapel

In our prayer chapel is a narrow spiral staircase that leads up to the bell tower in Our Lady’s Tabernacle. While pictures were being taken from there, little 4-year-old Rebekah Grace, Anthony and Andrea’s oldest child, said, “Take a picture of me with my mom.” She turned and looked right up at the camera and gave her prettiest smile, while reaching for her mother, who looked like she was peacefully sleeping. Rebekah then skipped off to play. Another community child, five-year-old Faith Marie, later said to Rebekah, “You are the only one of us who has a mom who is with Our Lady.” Rebekah answered back proudly, “I know!”



Andrea and her baby Angel

The picture of Andrea alongside her angel baby greeted everyone as they entered where Andrea was placed in the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages, where the wake would be. Her life as wife, mother and daughter were collaged together by her brother Joe and other Community members in various pictures around the room.


Gathered around Andrea's casket

A few of the family and community who surrounded Andrea during the Rosary. One man who attended the wake and funeral had worked in a funeral home and had attended many wakes in his life. But, he said, he had never experienced anything as beautiful as Andrea’s farewell. He said everything was done perfectly to bring about the most healing to everyone’s heart. During the Rosary at the wake, one by one, members of the community joined Anthony and Andrea’s family and our founder and his wife who had been praying the Rosary around Andrea until we surrounded her on all sides. Our hands reached to touch, hold, and caress our beloved Andrea, while our little ones were gathered in-between and all around us.



Anthony at Andrea's casket

With the Crucifix beside him, and Our Lady before him, Anthony, though in a crowded room, is alone with the one he loves. We thank you all, once again, for the many prayers you have offered for Anthony, his and Andrea’s families, and the community. After Andrea’s burial, one of our friends who came from New York told us why she had come:

“From my life, what Caritas has done for me—and it’s extended into my husband… one unique thing is when Joe and I were deciding on coming here, it was a given that one of us needed to be here. I was the one who was going to come. We went to Confession and Mass and afterward Joe came to me and he said, “Deborah, I have to go with you because if it wasn’t for the community, you wouldn’t be where you are and I wouldn’t be where I am. This community showed us Our Lady.” And we just felt really strongly to come here in support of Anthony and Andrea and the kids…and everything was just beautiful.”

Long Island, New York



Andrea's Funeral Mass at the Church

The funeral Mass for Andrea was simply beautiful, concelebrated by four priests and two deacons. The two Vicar Generals as well as the Vocation director of the diocese were present, with another close priest friend from Louisiana. Two of the priests had married the couples of the community, including Anthony and Andrea. Several of the songs sung at their wedding, were sung at Andrea’s funeral to celebrate the wedding of her soul to Jesus.



Andrea's funeral in the Field of Apparitions at Caritas

After the Mass, we returned to Caritas, and Andrea was carried out to the Field, placed before Our Lady’s statue. It was our normal Rosary time, coinciding with Our Lady’s apparition time in Medjugorje. It was announced to all those gathered that visionary Marija would be before Our Lady during this apparition, asking Our Lady to bless, not only Anthony, his children, their families and the community—but also all those in the Field today.



Anthony and the kids at Andrea's casket

Anthony, with their three children, gather around Andrea for their final Rosary together before her burial. At the gravesite, at the end of the day, the community returned with friends to pray a Rosary, and afterwards different people stood and shared their thoughts about Andrea and how the community let her go, such as the following testimony:

“You know I have to piggy back what’s been said, about what we experienced today, about what we all, who have never experienced what we experienced today for the first time…Years ago I was reading Mystical City of God, by Mary Agreda. And I was confused about how it could be said about Our Lady, that She was weeping all the time because She was in such sorrow, but equally in such joy. And I just could not understand that paradox. I just couldn’t understand how that was possible, until today. I found that when I was weeping, I wasn’t just weeping in sorrow. And I’d never in any other experiences in my life, all the other deaths and funerals I’ve gone to, I’ve never felt and experienced that paradox of sorrow and joy, but overwhelming joy by witnessing everything that you guys have resurrected here in the traditions that you have. And so thank you from those of us that this was a brand new experience. The profoundness of it is really too much to put into words…”

Montgomery, AL



Jacob Jerimiah Pipp smiling at his mother's casketThe morning Andrea entered eternal life, while all her family and the community was gathered around her, Andrea’s youngest child, 11-month-old Jacob was at the foot of the bed. Seconds before Andrea took her final breath, Jacob, who has not started forming words yet outside of childish mumbling, suddenly said the word “baby” crystal clear. Andrea’s father, Mark, looked at Jacob and saw him tilting his head up towards the ceiling as he said it again a second time, “baby.” Following his gaze, Mark saw a faint image rising up. Just after this, at Andrea’s last breath, Jacob said a clear, “Mommy,” while again, looking up into the air. He had been heard to say, “mamamama” but never “mommy.” There were those in the room who heard the word “baby” spoken, but because it was said with such clarity they thought it was one of the other children. When everyone realized a little later it was words out of little Jacob’s mouth, we knew Our Lady gave a sign through what Jacob verbalized so clearly. A Friend of Medjugorje also heard Jacob speak the word “baby” twice and “mommy” at the moment of Andrea’s passing, and thought it was one of the other children. But when he learned later it had been Jacob, he immediately recalled the Bible verse:

“Thou whose glory above the heavens is chanted by the mouths of babes and infants.”
Psalm 8: 2-3



Nailing Andrea's casket shut

After the Rosary was finished, our founder called all the community members to come forward for their last goodbyes before the lid of the coffin was placed over Andrea. Just as the coffin was hand-hewed, each nail that would be used to nail it shut was hand-forged in our St. Joseph’s Shop. Each male member of both families, and then other men of the community took turns hammering in a nail. The sound of the hammer commanded silence among the crowd. It, more than anything, told us the end was near. One friend who flew in from New York, shared his thoughts of how these days had impacted him, even to the hammering of the nails on the coffin:

“It was very moving, the wake services last night, the Mass today, Rosary in the Field. Even just before the burial here. It actually made the hair stand up on my arms. Everything was done so beautifully, even to nailing the nails into the coffin. I didn’t know, A Friend of Medjugorje told me you all made the nails and the hooks on the side of the coffin, even the coffin itself. It was very beautiful. I’ve never been to anything like this the way it was done. I know Our Lady was here…it was very moving.”



Processing with Andrea to the cemetary

From the Field, the procession continued on to our community cemetery.

“…You know (A Friend of Medjugorje), for you saying ‘yes’ to the Spirit of Mary and Jesus, you’ve created something here that’s just amazing. And it is spreading throughout the United States and the world. And I know that you are humble and you know we all remain humble because we know this doesn’t happen without prayer and sacrifice, like you said. We’ve got to spend time on our knees, pray and fast and keep our souls clean in Confession…and I know just seeing what (A Friend of Medjugorje) has accomplished here that we can too, in our own families by following…She’s given us the Way, all we have to do is follow it. And there’s a sense of urgency to all of this, that this is not a coincidence that everybody’s here tonight. We’re here for a reason. That we’ve been touched by the Community of Caritas and just seeing (the wake and burial), I mean this has been the most amazing experience…I’ve never seen this ever. And this is, like you said, this is how it should be. Where did we go wrong? When did it stop? When did this stop happening in our families? It’s been a long time back. And Mary is calling us to rebuild society the way it needs to be. So thank you A Friend of Medjugorje, thank you to the community…”

Nashville, Tennessee



Carrying Andrea to the Cemetary

The procession passes the grave of John Jacob, the first community member to be buried in our cemetery. John Jacob was the sixth son of our founder and his wife. He died in the womb of Annette when he was only four months old. For the sake of Annette’s physical healing, the doctors wanted her to deliver the baby normally. She carried her child for a day and a half before she was able to deliver him, knowing he had already died. In one of the most startling events of Andrea’s death, we came to realize that she died on the same day that John Jacob had died, on April 1, 16 years ago, and was buried on the day he was buried, on April 4. Also, Andrea’s baby was exactly the same age as John Jacob when he died. As Our Lady so often does, she brings together the threads of our lives in the community, connecting each family together in a beautiful tapestry of God’s loving care and providence, showing the signature of God is upon those who wish to follow Him.


Anthony and Jacob kissing

While pressing his palm on the coffin that holds his wife moments before it begins to be lowered into the ground, Anthony kisses his young son, Jacob, while holding onto the Crucifix that will be his strength in the days, months and years to come.


Rebekah throwing dirt

After the coffin was lowered, each family member of the community threw a small handful of dirt upon it, a final relinquishment of Andrea and her soul into the hands of God. Being a people close to the soil, dirt is a part of our lives. Little Rebekah is more comfortable in bare feet then in her pretty white shoes and thinks nothing of climbing up the mound of dirt and grabbing two fistfuls of dirt, while wearing her pretty purple dress. She does not yet understand the meaning of her gesture, but in time, she will be grateful for these remembrances of her mother’s burial.


Anthony shoveling dirt onto Andrea's grave with the kids and Andrea's father

While most everyone has left the gravesite, the two families are still present with several community members. The final act of the burial must now be completed, and all the community men pick up shovels and begin filling the hole. Small shovels are present so that the little boys can also help. Anthony stands with his son, Andrew, who is so proud to be shoveling next to his dad, and stays with the task for the next 1 ½ hours until their final physical act of love for Andrea is done. Meanwhile, little Jacob is content to play in the dirt pile behind them, while Grandpa and Grandma, Andrea’s parents, keep a watchful eye on them both. A woman who is very close to the heart of our community stood by watching the scene for over an hour. She was deeply moved and she said to a newer member of the community, reflecting on the joy and peace of the scene, “You know, but that’s just who they are. It’s their life. Their life has always been close to the dirt.”


Prayer Group at Andrea's grave

After the burial was finished, everyone was invited to join the community for a meal in Our Lady’s Tabernacle. After the meal and after saying good-bye to most of our family and friends, the community returned to Andrea’s gravesite, along with those friends who had remained, totaling 75 or more. We prayed our first Rosary together at the site for our Wednesday night prayer group. Those present began to share their experience of the last two days surrounding Andrea’s passing. It was very touching for the community to hear their testimonies and how Our Lady had used this sorrowful event in our lives to bring others closer to Her heart and to “a way of salvation,” the way of the community.

“…From the moment we met Andrea, she clearly just had a grace about her that just put me at calm and still. The one thing about her when we were getting the calls over the weekend that…she had passed, for the first time in my life upon hearing a loved one had passed…for the first time, instead of praying for her…I actually immediately felt in my heart to start petitioning her, which is the first time that’s ever happened to me. Petitioning her specifically for Anthony and the children, and the whole community here and for my own intentions…and so from the moment I found out she had passed…I started immediately to ask for her intercession. Because I felt in my heart I knew she had gone immediately to Heaven…When we leave Caritas, it’s really very difficult, difficult to go back into the world that God calls us to be in…But you never leave our hearts…”


It was difficult for all in the community to say good-bye, as well, to those who came to support us in our time of grief, who also shared our joy in celebrating the birth of Andrea and her little one into eternal life with Jesus, Our Lady and all of Heaven.

Andrea Doris Pipp, Pray for Us!


Baby Pipp, Pray for Us!

Radio WAVE Special: Goodbye Andrea!

More for your spiritual nourishment, see below:

Our Last Sunrise Together on Earth – August 2, 2013 Radio Wave Show

Goodbye Papa Tony: Proud to Be My Father’s Son – December 2, 2012 Radio Wave Show

All Hallow’s Eve with the Community of Caritas, October 31, 2012, click here

Goodbye Andrea – April 2, 2012 Radio Wave Show

Learning How to Die – The passing of Andrea Pipp, Caritas Community mother, and her child, click here

A Life in Service of Our Lady of Medjugorje – The Passing of Caritas Community Member Greg Porto, click here

Building A World Without God, click here

As what you read is beautiful, so too, are our weddings. Click for behind the scenes Community of Caritas weddings.

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64 thoughts on “Learning How to Die”

  1. 5/29/19 I have just read the beautiful story of the Andrea’s life, burial and entrance to eternal life with her baby angel. Our beautiful, happy, beloved daughter,wife & mother of 4 plus 3 stepchildren Colleen Marie went heaven at age 43 on 5/1/2012.Colleen had beautiful red hair and a great love for Our Lady. Many blessings from God and DIRECTLY FROM COLLEEN have come to us since then. In fact there are MANY SIMILARTIES between what I read about Andrea and Colleen. God instilled the word”SAINT” in my heart when I was told of her passing. My son-in-law received a healing within days of her passing and a multitude of BUTTERFLIES appeared in doors. Colleen was the Indoor Color Guard instructor of young children including her 6yr old daughter and also had 2 teen aged daughters who performed. She would not want the children to miss the Annual East Coast Championship in Wildwood,NJ so we went. Her funeral mass was held when we returned home.May God Bless Andrea, baby angel,and our Colleen

  2. Thank you for this very moving life story of Andrea, I felt myself like being there especially seeing her beautiful face, the family and the whole community I see heaven. May I ask you Lady Andrea to pray for us and the whole world to Our lady and Mother of all. God bless!

  3. Thanks for this heroic life of a great saint you have posted on your site – Andrea Doris Pipp! She reminds the contemporary world of the gift of motherhood; exemplifying the kind of life that Christ and His Mother (and Our mother ) wants from us – A life of great sacrifice! To such is the Kingdom of Heaven meant for! May she with the Blessed in Heaven continue to take good care of us. I will offer mass and communion for her. Andrea Doris Pipp, pray us!

  4. carmel flanagan

    Thank you so much for sharing with us, very moving and lovely. God bless you all Andrea’s family and the whole community. Andrea pray for us!

  5. James, what is meant by the statement, “you will not even feel the passage from this life to the next…” is that by living Our Lady’s messages, you will already begin to live Heaven on earth. Your life will become a seamless life, between heaven and earth. Our Lady in Medjugorje said in 1986: “If you would abandon yourselves to me, you will not even feel the passage from this life to the next life. You will begin to live the life of Heaven on earth.”

  6. James Williamson

    Thanks very much for your wonderful portrayal of Andrea’s life and passing into eternity in Heaven with her unborn child. I have one easy question. What does it mean when it says in the article and email update that ” Our Lady in Medjugorje tells us that when you live Her messages, you will not even feel the passage from this life to the next…”? Thanks very much for your time. God Bless Jim

  7. My dear family.. I am moved beyond words. I had to get up and move about before I could settle again.I thank you. Reading this and all the messages have opened my mind and heart as never before. My pray is that Our Blessed Mother will be with me at each step. I have alway loved her and taken all my worries and trials to her but perhaps not with complete faith..Please pray for me and my family. while I now know that my faith is so much stronger our sons and their families are going in all direction, they are kind and loving but not sure about religion, Perhaps I have failed in this respect because of my own lack of faith while they were young.

  8. Thanks for sharing this graceful departure of Andrea. I was still praying for her and her family. Everyday a Rosary had been offered. I was in India at Divine Retreat center . I could not check my E-mail. Today only I know. Through my tears I always pray Anthony and little children. God knows everything and by human knowledge, we can’t understand. But I know well that Andrea is in Heaven, and with Lord Jesus and Mother Mary, she will look after her loved ones.Praise The Lord!

  9. We are deeply touched with God’s grace as we read through the events of what has been transcribed above. Reminds us of our visit to Caritas many years ago & meeting all the beautiful lovers of Mary. We take you with us in prayer each day & thank you with all our hearts for keeping the Spirit of love alive.

  10. Thank you for sharing with us in this deeply moving time that there is a healing beauty found in death. I will pray that Our Lord continue to shine upon Andrea’s family and the blessed Caritas Community.

  11. Sandra and Florian

    To our dear friends at Caritas, Thank you for sharing Andrea’s beautiful Wake and Funeral. Even though we could not come ,we were there in spirit. We love you and are in our prayers every day.

  12. Sandra Ranallo

    I am so very moved and touched by Andrea’s passing into heavenly peace with Our Lady, angels, and saints, yet I envisioned that she is in a very beautiful place due to her family’s love for her, fellowship in the Caritas family, love, and lots of good loving thoughts of her. I am sure that all of her family will miss her dearly, but I am sure that she is looking at all of you with her dearest love at heart for all of you. She is in peace and her spirit is free with Our Lady’s love.

  13. I had just come back from praying the rosary when I saw the message about Andrea’s wake and funeral. If I have been more emotionally moved, I can not recall it. My heart aches for your loss, yet sings for your blessings. I am trying to come to your wonderful holy land in the next few months, and I pray I am worthy enough to be there. God bless you all. Thank you for giving the world a perfect example of what love is all about. Family.

  14. My dear friends of Caritas, thank you very much for this writing of love and peace and also for the pictures, it touched my heart. Andrea is so beautiful wife and mother, my prayers are with you dearest Andrea, pray for us. My sincere sympathy to Andrea’s husband and her children. Thank you Jesus and Mary for this beautiful example. Fatin Yousif

  15. How beautiful is every word and thought expressed in this beautiful writing. How blessed Andrea was in experiencing her first Easter in heaven with her newest child. How blessed all of you were to have travelled this journey with them. Joy mixed with sorrow. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you, with all our love. Paul and Barb

  16. I don’t have words to discribe what of I just read. I feel happy instead of being sad. Let us pray to Our Blessed Mother that by this example we can learn more and accept the challenges our Lord gives us on our daily lives.

  17. Thank this community for sharing a most moving testimony of the meaning of love and life in Christ. The transition of life and living the messages of Our Lady are transformed by this loving community experience. God Bless and His love and peace to all. Thank you, Mother Mary, for your prayers, love and messages.

  18. Rosalie Dancause

    Following the story of Andrea’s last days, death and burial has been so inspiring and so beautiful — I know those words are totally inadequate to the task of describing what you have so generously shared with us. Today I too found myself praying to Andrea — I go once a week, with my daughter when her work schedule permits, to pray at a crisis pregnancy center which is right next to an abortion mill. Sometimes people headed for the abortion mill get the wrong door and come to us, which happened today, so I was praying for the couple being counseled. In the chapel room where we pray there were holy cards of St. Gianna Molla, who was canonized for doing exactly what Andrea did, she died that her child might live (the fact that Andrea’s child died with her was God’s choice, it doesn’t change the fact that Andrea made that sacrifice of her own life) so it seemed appropriate to invoke Andrea’s intercession along with that of the other saints one normally prays to in such a situation.

  19. I kept Andrea in my prayers through the night (prior to her death); and early in the morning a thought suddenly came into my mind that Andrea now was “for each one of us, personally”. Padre Pio once responded to a question asking “would he pray for us all after he passed from this life to the next. He said “no I won’t remember everyone, I will be for EACH ONE personally”. This thought came to me that Andrea was now for each one of us personally. This was before I knew that she has passed away. When I found out the time Andrea passed, it was the same time this happened to me. I thank God for His goodness and I that our Lady for leading us by the hand. I pray that all of us will embrace our Lady’s messages and truly live The Way. Our Lady Queen of Peace, pray of us.

  20. Regina Posadas

    As i read the story, i find it really touching. My soul glorifies the Lord. I am not afraid to die because i knew if am with God, in death HE will never leave me. In leaving unto this earth, there are many trials, but trials make you strong because we are with the Lord and I’m very grateful. Mama Mary thanks to you, also.

  21. It was the most beautiful account of a death and burial I have ever heard of. I only wish that I could have been there and known Andrea personally. We have so much to learn from her life and death. My husband was buried on Wednesday of Holy Week last year. It’s a lovely time of resurrection. I hope he can meet Andrea in Heaven too. My sincere sympathy to Andrea’s husband and her beautiful little family. What a privilege for them to have had such a wonderful Mam in Heaven with Our Holy Mother.

  22. This was the most moving witness since time immemorial….. The first thing that came to my mind when seeing all the pictures and the children being involved from the beginning till the end… I just said God is above and sitting on His Throne in this community. Next to me there is a picture of the Rosa Mystica… I just looked at it and said … Mother you are powerful, please pray for us and continue blessing this man and his children you will have a way!! In fact, the wonder of praying the Rosary and sitting next to our dead has been revived in me.. These days we are even scared to carry the coffin let alone sit the whole night with the body.. May God be praised hallelujah for bringing Our Lady to us so that we may truly understand the glorious resurrection of His Son. ‘mommy, baby!!’ Another mystery too. Surely anthony has the Heavens already looking out for him and his children and family, plus the community.

  23. How bitter! How sweet! I just cried and smiled. Thank yall soooo much for sharing with us, Andrea’s journey. I and many wanted so desperately to be there physically, but couldn’t. Being able to read the beautiful words and see the pictures, brings such comfort . I hold you all close in Spirit. Love, Rhonda 🙂

  24. My hope for all is that we could all find the peace and strength through our Blessed Mother Mary to become child-like as the Pipp family has been a witness to all near and far. My prayer is for continued growth in the Spirit and profound peace in their hearts as the days and years go by. Most importantly, I implore our Blessed Mother to place that same peace and openness to the truth in the hearts of my children so that they know the true meaning of life. I ask this in the name of Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen.

  25. How Saintly Andrea was, so brave and beautiful for her family and her unborn child. It brought me to tears, but tears of happiness to see her Caritas Community all around her, the serenity of her passing, her husband and children all knowing she was going to the Lord and our Blessed Mother, brought peace to my heart, it took everything away from aching heart to see such love.

  26. Marybeth Albert

    I feel very blessed that I was able to attend Andrea’s funeral. Every part of the service was so meaningful as was the rosary and the burial. At the end of the day when people gathered around her grave to pray and share their thoughts it was such a warm and comfortable atmosphere. There was such PEACE. It was an honor to be there.

  27. This was more beautiful than words—-thanks more than I can say for inviting me into this beautiful and intimate time with your community, which for me is becoming my community, too. I have already passed this on to many others. A Field Angel

  28. The tears were rolling down my face as I read your beautiful testimony of Andrea and her burial. Your pictures and stories really are a glimpse into a world unto itself. A place of peace. Please keep witnessing your life for all of us.

  29. Andrea had a beautiful and peaceful funeral service celebrating her wonderful life.It’s wonderful that Andrea and her baby are now in Heaven in the presence of God the Father and Jesus the Son and the Virgin Mary and all the hosts of Angels.Andrea was a beautiful person with a beautiful family and her legacy will live on through her husband and children.May the peace and love of God be all around you.God bless.

  30. Fran M. Baugnet

    I just finished reading about the funeral you had during Holy Week. Little Jacob did see his little baby brother and mother go to Heaven, it was God’s special gift to him and to the rest of you in his mother’s room. How beautiful…God bless all of you. Fran

  31. Heaven. This is the only word that I can formulate to describe what I have just read. This writing of love and peace has radiated itself into my very soul. At first glance, one is tempted to react against the title “Learning How to Die”. Now, that I have finished reading it, I earnestly desire to possess its true meaning that Caritas has exemplified. I am reminded of the words of St. Francis: “For it is in dying that we are born into eternal life.” May God grant you all such a loving, peaceful death. With my Love and Prayers.

  32. Sr. Theresa Marie, O.P.

    My Dear Friends of Caritas, Thank you so much for the witness of such deep faith in the Resurrection. Tears came easily as I read the site and looked at the pictures. How my heart filled as I thought of all of you giving such witness of what death and what life really is. Jesus came to give us life, He died so that we too could die in Him and go home to Him and Our Mother and live with them together forever. Our life is passing, all we should be doing is preparing for that day. You have suffered so much during Andrea’s illness and death, but the love that came through this site was so concrete you could see. Faith is a strength and gives hope and joy, even in these most difficult days, God is consoling you with the gifts you need to carry on now in Him. Andrea is now more powerful then she ever was before, she will take care of her Anthony and her children and will be with them in a deeper way then she could of ever be here. My prayers and much love,

  33. Its touch my heart when reading the writings and the pictures. Andrea is so beautiful wife and mother. I pray for her family. I am happy that she is now with Jesus, Mary and God of hosts in the heaven.

  34. You have given us all a privileged and intimate account of Andrea’s final journey to Paradise. Thank you so much. I echo everything that has already been said. I can say it no better. I too have prayed to Andrea and I am asking her to help me to start a prayer group in my parish. She will leave many treasured memories and legacies and a Medjugorje prayer group will be just another great grace that I am sure God will grant through her intercession. I will always keep her family in my prayers. They are surrounded with love both close to home and from far away.

  35. Thank You so much for telling us about Andrea and her baby. I felt like I was there with her and her Family. My Prayers will be with her Husband and kids and Andrea will always be in my Payers. Kathy

  36. Thank you so much for sharing Andrea’s life, family, and going home with us. I am so touched, moved, with heartfelt emotions of the entire experiences of the community for Andrea. I too, upon hearing of her death, immediately sought her intercession for Anthony, family and community; as well as my family needs. My heart so wanted to be there with all of you, and what you have shared made me “feel as though I was there”.. God Bless you all, Until we meet again… A field angel…

  37. Andrea brought tears of love and peace in my heart.May when my hour comes will be like hers. Now she is with Our Lady sending her love and blessing over us. Thank you Andrea. Jesus Mary Joseph we love You saves souls Mariastella.