Lifelines from God: Associate Allen Grieve

Associate Allen Grieve doesn’t remember the day of his car accident, nor the three days surrounding it. At the scene, he wasn’t expected to survive, his ribs broken, his lungs punctured, his leg shattered.

But Allen looks at his life in terms of “God throwing lifelines” and he believes that God threw him a lifeline with the support of the Sisters of St. Joseph. More than nine months and 15 surgeries later (including open heart surgery), Allen is slowly gaining his normal routine. But he brings with it a more intense affection for the sisters and belief in the power of prayer.

Allen became an associate in 2013 through his “first lifeline,” his wife, Cindy. She was working as a nurse at Nazareth Living Center, and when he came to visit, he was struck by the sisters he encountered. “The peace and joy in the eyes of the people I met—I said, ‘I gotta get me some of that.’”
It was Sister Kathleen Karbowski who invited him to association, which became his second lifeline. “I couldn’t pass up the opportunity as I learned more about the history and the mission and the charism,” he says.

Throughout the process, he found himself changing and people at work were telling him, “It’s a new you!”

During his formation, Allen was struck by hearing the CSJs are the Congregation of the Great Love of God. “Is there anything better than that?” he says. “Now I know why they serve others and have never given up on that. I never intend to give up on that.”

After his accident in March, the CSJ community offered their prayers, his third lifeline. He said the connection was palpable. “I would see in my mind the faces of the sisters that I met. Then the pain would go away.”

He received more than 400 cards during his stay in the hospital as well as many visits from sisters and associates.

Allen is ever-thankful to the CSJ community and he wants to give back. He is thrilled to return to participating on the Fontbonne University Board and the Nazareth Living Center Foundation Board. And he has achieved one of his goals—driving sisters to their doctors’ appointments. “I feel it is a privilege to spend that one-on-one time with them,” he says. His next goal is to be a sitter with the dying, something he has personally experienced throughout his ordeal.

“The CSJs saved me, then they saved me again,” Allen says. “The sisters did miraculous things throughout history. I never thought that I’d be one of them.”

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