Accident inspires daily family prayer online

by Kelly Mescher Collins | December 13, 2020

Mark Eicheid and his motorcycle

On July 5, Mark Eischeid and a friend decided to take advantage of the nice weather on the holiday weekend by taking their motorcycles out for a ride up to Boone Ledges.

On their way home they came to a gravel corner near Jamaica for their turn. Eischeid realized he was going too fast when he reached the corner, and was thrown from his bike, landing in the ditch next to the gravel road.

He was in a lot of pain. But Eischeid, a member of St. Patrick Parish in Bayard, insisted they call a friend to pick him up and bring him home. His friend picked him up and drove him to the hospital in Guthrie Center.

“I’m told that as soon as I got out of the car, I went down in a heap,” Eischeid said. “They ambulanced me to Methodist Hospital in Des Moines.”

The X-rays revealed he had a broken pelvic bone, broken clavicle, and eight ribs broken in 13 different locations.null

Two days later surgeons plated, glued and grafted the ribs together – the pelvis would heal on it’s own. Nine days after his accident they plated and screwed his clavicle back together.

“Everybody says that is a really painful surgery, but they had me on all of the [pain meds],” Eischeid said. “I was belly laughing the day after they plated those ribs.”

His large family – he and 12 living sisters, all practicing Catholics, based mostly in Guthrie Center and Bayard – rallied around him, surrounding him in prayer.

One of his daughters knew her father was in the middle of one of his 54-day rosary novenas - a long-held family tradition. She asked the family to help him finish his novena while he was hospitalized.  

“My sisters said, ‘Let’s just do a Zoom novena’,” Eischeid said. “They must have felt sorry for me, because they helped me finish my Novena, and we all enjoyed it so much.”

The 54-day novena is something their mother, Leona Eischeid, prayed her entire life. She would pray a 54-day novena, and as soon as she finished, she’d start a new one, said sister Carol Laughery.  

The novena comes from an appearance of Mary to young girl who yearned for healing, according to John Huynh, diocesan director of Faith Journey. Mary directed the girl to pray three novenas for healing and three immediately after for thanksgiving, resulting in 54 days of prayer.

 “When we were little, we would all climb on the bed,” remembered Leona Eischeid. “We have pretty much been saying rosaries our whole life.”

In fact, there were a number of occasions when one of the adult Eischeid children received good news and told their mother about it – who said she’d just finished praying a 54-day rosary novena for that specific situation.

“On her deathbed she said, ‘Pray the novena – it’s a miracle,’” said Laughery, also a member of St. Patrick in Bayard.

These long-held family traditions inspired all of the living Eischeid siblings and a handful of nieces and nephews to continue praying the novena as a family. They meet online every night at 6 p.m.

“I’m thinking it’s going to go on forever,” Eischeid said. “We just enjoy it so much. If I had to lay money down, I bet we’ll be doing it for the rest of our lives.”

Sister Judy Eischeid said she’s happy about that.

“Mark ‘s accident became a blessing in our family,” she said. “Because Mark had a motorcycle  accident and he couldn’t have visitors, his daughters started this Zoom…. We finished his, and now we all have our special requests.

“I just feel like Mom is with us,” Judy added.

               It also offers the siblings a chance to socialize and reconnect every day before praying.

               “It’s just made our faith stronger and just pulled us together,” Laughery said. “We’ve always been close, [but this made us closer.]”