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Voice of the Gardener
Newsletter of St. Joseph's Holy Family, Inc. Vol. II No. IV September-October
For freedom, Christ has set us free (Gal. 5:1).
by Dr. Mark Ginter
Head Coordinating Servant
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By now, everyone knows how crucial the upcoming elections are for the free exercise of religion in our world, our country, our state, our county, and our city. Secularism has been strongly infiltrating our society for the past three generations, but it reached a particularly dramatic crescendo at the Democratic National Convention in early Sept. As the whole world saw and heard, when a motion was made from the floor to re-insert "God" into the Party Platform, those opposed to God clearly outvoted those who favored God. However, the chair of the Convention proclaimed unbelievably, "The Ayes have it." Then, the booing and blaspheming was practically deafening.

The Bishops of the United States, in the words of their Conference President Timothy Cardinal Dolan, have identified the Health and Human Services Mandate from President Obama's Administration as an attack upon the religious liberty of Catholics and all faith-based institutions who serve the health care, educational, and social service needs of our society regardless of the recipient's faith.  He said, "We did not go looking for this fight, but we are not going to run from it."

If we do not fight the good fight of faith for religious freedom at the ballot box in November and with our rosaries during this Respect Life Month, the freedom that Christ won for us will continue to be more difficult to identify. It is already marred by the culture of death and its evil twin, the civilization of deception. Both are the offspring of the death of God which has been proclaimed by the supremacy of Technological Man.

Seeing this trend, Pope Blessed John XXIII called for a "new Pentecost" with the Second Vatican Council, Servant of God Pope Paul VI called for a "new effort at evangelization," Pope Blessed John Paul II called for "a new moral life in a new evangelization," and Pope Benedict XVI continues the echo of Christ, "Repent and believe the good news" (Mk. 1:15), with the Synod on the New Evangelization.

When St. Paul tells the Galatians that Christ has freed us for the sake of freedom, he warns them in the strongest words not to take their freedom for granted. His words are as relevant to our present circumstances as they were for their original audience, "Make no mistake about it, no one makes a fool of God! A man will reap only what he sows. If he sows in the field of the flesh, he will reap a harvest of corruption; but if his seed-ground is the spirit, he will reap everlasting life. Let us not grow weary of doing good; if we do not relax our efforts, in due time we shall reap our harvest" (Gal. 6:7-9).

“Divine Teacher, I have heard you. Strengthen me to be a courageous herald of this word.” God's PEACE!

Deacon Candidate Retreat
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Permanent Deacon Candidates from the Dioceses of Belleville (IL) and Springfield-Cape Girardeau (MO) were renewed by the natural and inspired beauty of God's Country during their retreat on  Aug. 11-12.

Here they join prayer and praise on Saturday evening at Sacred Heart Chapel. This retreat was in preparation for their installation into the Ministry of Acolyte.

We are booking retreats now for 2013. Many weekends are already determined for spring. Contact us as soon as possible for your school, parish, men's, women's, youth, Cursillo, or CHRP group. Daylong retreats are perfect for school groups. Our retreats and facilities are family-friendly.

Mission Statement

logo 4The Mission of St. Joseph’s Holy Family, Inc., is the renewal of Catholic family life through the inspired and natural beauty of God’s Country for those already pursuing a vocation as a domestic church, for youth discerning their vocation to service in communion, and for all of Christ’s disciples who have a common vocation to holiness and to the mission of evangelizing the world.

Pillars:    To Learn  -  To Pray  -  To Work  -  To Play

St. Joseph's Holy Family, Inc.

is a 501(c)(3) Indiana non-profit
operating as an apostolate within the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Voice of the Gardener Newsletter, Vol. 2, No. 4, Sept. 1, 2012

©2012 Gardener’s Servant Productions.
All Rights Reserved.

Testimony: Snatched from the drain of hell to the well of new life

Devon Bancroft
October 2012

I am not and have not been a good person for 39 years.  It is important that I start off by making that perfectly clear.  I am an undeserving person for what I have been given and the opportunities presented in front of me.  I will not make excuses for anything.

I was born in 1973 to a dysfunctional family.  Dysfunctional in that it was an abusive environment, lack of financial means, and a family lost in purpose.  My parents divorced when I was 6 years old. So, splitting up and giving up was normal to me.  It is what I learned.  Loneliness, hunger, and despair was an everyday normal. 

At the age of 12, I began getting involved in a youth group at the local church, Valley Mills Christian Church.  My mother believed that if I was going to attend youth group activities, then we should attend church on Sundays.  Yea….not really for me.  Church was boring.  I only got involved because there were activities to do. So, needless to say, I didn’t want to be there. So, I never once paid attention or even made an effort.  I did attend Sunday school classes. So, I did learn a little, but I can’t tell you what it was  When I was 14, I learned that I should be baptized.  I didn’t know why, but I knew that I was supposed to be. So one Sunday morning, I asked and was baptized by full immersion at the end of that Sunday service.  So now I am a Christian…….I don’t know what it means…..I don’t know what I am supposed to do with it……. But hey, I get to go to heaven now, right?  So that is what I thought anyway.

My high school years were spent playing baseball and going out and doing whatever I wanted when I wanted.  Still living my life without a purpose.  Only living everyday for ME, MYSELF and I.

After graduation, I attended IU in Bloomington.  There I didn’t attend class.  I was there to play baseball, and since I’m an athlete I don’t have to attend class….or so I thought.  This is why I only spent one year at IU. 
While there, I met my first wife. As the school year came to an end, I moved to southern Indiana where she was from.  We married in January of 1995 and our first daughter was born in May of 1995. 

Now married and a father, I still didn’t change my life.  I still lived for me and what I wanted.  I was always gone hunting or going out.  I was going through a different vehicle every 6 months because I would get bored with what I had.  I was even going from job to job, not because I was losing them, but because I just got bored and wanted to do something different.  By this time I was doing good though; I was going to church about 5-6 times a year.  In 2000, our second daughte
r was born.  Now I have two kids and still only thought about myself.  In late 2001, we were separated, and in early 2003, the divorce was final.  There is nothing wrong with getting divorced.  50% of all marriages end up in divorce, and, as a Methodist, it wasn’t frowned upon.  During this time I met my current wife,  Although I did not know it until just recently, she would have the biggest impact and influence on my life.

In 2003, I got into trouble with the law. I had to resign my job and move away, back up to the Indianapolis area.  Stephanie moved with me,  Stephanie is younger than me and a Catholic.  Yea, one of those radical stand up, sit down, kneel people.  Family get-togethers were awkward, to say the very least, especially being around her mother.  Being a devout Catholic, I thought her mother was way over the edge, and I spent my time trying to stay away from her as mjikkmnh 066 3uch as I could because becoming Catholic was something I would never do!!!  Thankfully Stephanie was at a stage in her life where she was Catholic but followed the part of the religion that suited her at the time.

In 2004, I lost my brother in a motorcycle accident.  Although we were never close growing up, since I moved to Indianapolis, I lived with him and my sister-in-law.  This gave us a chance to get to be closer before his passing.  Who called to tell me about it?  Who was there to meet me at the hospital when I arrived?  Who quit her job in order to be there with me and my family during this time?  Yes, it was Stephanie.  Every minute of every day. 

In May of 2007, we married on the beach in Cancun, Mexico.  Being a Catholic, she heard that it was wrong to not be married within the church.  Although she wasn’t sure if she believed it or not, in order for us to have a nice wedding and make me feel comfortable, she didn’t look into it and our wedding was planned.  Only later would I find out that our marriage wasn’t a real marriage in the eyes of certain people.  In 2008, we had our own daughter, and, although I think I tried to start to be a father, I was a miserable failure at it.  Still to hard to focus on others when my life is still all about me.

In 2009, my life began to change, and not for the better.  My oldest daughters and their mother were involved in a horrible car accident.  Their mother was killed and both my daughters spent a week in a pediatric intensive care unit with serious injuries.  For a short time I knew there was a God and that I had seen him work.  For a short time. Although I was trying to focus on them, I totally shut Stephanie and my youngest daughter out of my life, to the point that I thought she only worried about her own daughter.  I never saw ALL that she had done and was doing.  Still too selfish for that.  This lead to a separation in which I took the oldest girls and moved out.

During this time I started a relationship with another person.  It lead to a serious relationship, but I never told Stephanie. When she did find out, Stephanie filed for divorce on April 1, 2011.  I never understood at the time, but something always happened to put the divorce on hold.  I needed the double covered insurance for my stint in rehab.  Oh yea, did I forget to mention that I became a terrible alcoholic during this time?  Well I did, drinking as much as a gallon of rum every week.  Driving when I shouldn’t have been and being around my kids in a manner I shouldn’t have been around them.

During all this time I now know that I was circling the drain to hell, living in purgatory.  I am not sure what happened, but Stephanie and I began to talk and communicate. She agreed to give me a second chance, and we went on a date. During our date, though, we made a plan to go to a healing service in Norwood, Ohio.  She also gave me a list of demands that had to occur in order for us to be together.  One on the list was “become Catholic.”  Everything I have put her through and she still was trying and still trying to lead me to God.  So for the first time ever I considered becoming Catholic.

When we arrived, they were having a confession session, and she told me I needed to go in there.  I told her that I couldn’t since I wasn’t Catholic. And she said that I should anyway. So, I did.  I was embarrassed for the first time in my life at all that I had to apologize for, and for the very first time, I did a self reflection.  During the service, it felt as though it was only Fr. Bramlage and myself in there.  I began to believe in something more than myself but wasn’t exactly sure what I was believing in. 

After that Stephanie and I became close again, and I learned to pray the rosary and began attending St Malachy Parish in Brownsburg, Indiana where I met the next very influential person on my path, Fr. John Hollowell, who was the associate pastor.  Fr. John made me feel as though I had my own personal priest.  He was never unavailable to me.  No matter the time of day, day of the week or his own agenda.  He was always there for me.  I started RCIA and was excited, EXCITED about what I was learning and who I was learning about.

I still had to hit rock bottom, thought, and that was about to happen.  To this point I was on the path, but was on the path for the wrong reason. I was there to save my marriage and get my wife back.  Although a very good reason, it wasn’t the right reason. 

On Christmas Eve, Stephanie and I split up again. And, yet again, it was 100% my fault because of selfishness and stupidity.  Even my children did not want to be around me.  I had no one.  No one but my bottle and I found comfort in him.  But, all be it a very small but, I sought out guidance from someone else, Fr John.  I finally started to realize that there is more to my world than me and knew I needed help from someone.

I thought putting down the bottle would make me feel better, but initially it made me feel worse, culminating in an attempt to end my life.  I have been on the cusp of hell for a long time anyway.  What’s the point anymore?  I drove to the parking lot in front of Stephanie’s apartment, taped a garden hose to my tail pipe and ran it through the back window of my truck and then taped the crack up and waited.  I was asleep when my phone rang.  It was my daughter calling to see where I was.  Just another “coincidence?”  I pulled the hose out of my window, rolled all the windows down and drove home. 

I never saw God, I never heard God speak to me.  What I experienced I can not explain, but it was as though I felt arms around me as if to say, “Come on. You have taken all you can take.”  From that instant, I knew that there was a God and that he was present in my life and now I was on the path because I WANTED TO BE ON THE PATH!!  Now it was about God, Not me, not Stephanie, not my kids, it was all about God and what I needed to do to amend my life to live a life worthy of God.

I sought out Fr John for his guidance.  I attended Mass every weekend, even going by myself.  I focused on my kids. I learned to pray for guidance and peace.  I learned to forgive others and to begin to heal those I have hurt or wronged.  The only exception was the one person I knew who had been put in my path to lead me to where I was, Stephanie.  In my self-reflection, I was able to see everything that she had said and did was trying to get me to the point I had finally gotten to.  Only the most influential person in my life was no where around because I spent my whole relationship with her pushing her away.  No one person has tried harder to help me, to be around me, support me and most of all tried to help me live the life I was supposed to live.  Since we started dating, I have called her my angel.  I do believe that she is an angel sent from God to guide me to where I needed to be, But ME, MYSELF, and I pushed her away and continued to push her away and now she was no longer there.  Losing Stephanie is the most painful thing I endured.  She will never believe that or may never believe in me again, and who could blame her?

But I have amended things in my life, and I am living a life with Christ as my leader.  Am I perfect person?  NO!!!  So very far from it!!  Am I a good person?  NO!!  So very far from it!!  39 years of living a life as far from God as one can be can never be amended, even though God is gracious and forgiving and true love. I will never let myself believe that I can atone for all I have done, regardless of how I live my life from here on out. 

The last “coincidence” that happened gave me the one more chance to amend my life in the eyes of the one who matters most on earth.  One day at work, I got a text from Stephanie out of the blue asking if I was at work and asking me to come down and talk to her.  I was beyond shocked.  When I saw her, she was shaken and crying.  Although I will not go into detail, something happened that lead her to me for help and since that day we have not been apart.  We moved to southern Indiana where I met the person who would be my sponsor and guidance counselor to live a life through Jesus Christ, Dr. Mark Ginter.

I attended the Good Friday service of St. Joseph’s Holy Family at God’s Country.  That following week I began volunteering there when I am able.  Dr. Mark has become an influence in my life unlike anyone and in living my life through, and for, Jesus Christ, with the exception of Stephanie.  We became members of St Nicholas Parish where Fr. John Brosmer and Dr. Jack Tunier helped me to finish my RCIA program through videos and one on one sessions.

On September 9, 2012, I was welcomed into the Church as a Catholic of my choice for the right reasons and with the people who mean the most in my life to share it with me.  To this day I can not describe the feeling of that day.  I don’t know if I have stopped floating.  I have now become an assistant with the Youth Formation Class and hope to become active in the RCIA program for starters. 

I now know what my purpose is in life and exactly what I am supposed to do day in and day out, and who I am supposed to live through, and will not lose sight of that again.  I will trip and fall.  I will make mistakes and I will have days when I don’t do all that I should.  I accept that.  Only two people have walked this earth that can’t say that and that is our Lord Jesus Christ and Mary Immaculate.  But I know who to live my life for and who to live my life through.  I will never be perfect and I will still sin no matter how hard I try not to, but I know that God has a purpose for me and will always help me in all that I do and show me the path he has laid out for me. 

Your Needs Placed Before God's Mercy

DivineMercyWindow1 copy 2We invite you to send us your prayer requests. A binder rests below the only publicly available Divine Mercy stained glass window in the US in the Gardener’s Hut.  God’s Country is 32 of America’s most blessed acres. God answers prayers here. We want the whole world to know it and to receive the blessings from a visit.

October Fourth Friday Free Family Flix For Fun and Annual (Saturday) All Saints' Day Party!

     In our living room at the Welcome Center, we show Catholic movies as a way to feed our imaginations with truth, goodness, and beauty.
     This month we will show two movies. Made in Italy, they are the best movies on Pope Blessed John Paul II, whose feast we celebrate on Oct. 22.
     On Friday, Oct. 26, we will show Karol: A Man Who Became Pope. It is our monthly Fourth Friday Free Family Flix For Fun. It lasts 185 minutes, and covers the Pope's life before he is elected the 243rd Successor of St. Peter. We begin our winter schedule. So, the movie begins at 6:00 p.m. central. Please bring snacks.
      On Saturday, Oct. 27, we will have our annual All Saints' Day Party. We begin at 5:00 p.m. central with a pitch-in meal. We will pray the Sorrowful Mystery Trail at twilight and process to the Tomb by candlelight. Afterward, we will share any sweet snacks/desserts. Those who wish, may play games and others may watch the movie Karol: the Pope, the Man. It is the sequel to Friday's movie, and it covers John Paul II's papacy. It lasts 185 minutes. As is our custom, please come dressed as a saint and stump our contestants on your identity.

John Paul Institute - Oct. 13, 2012

First Class: A Study of the Creed in the Year of Faith

JPI-NML1We feel the need all around us: Catholic lay people are hungry to know their faith. Their intellects are not filled by weekly Mass and their hearts are not satisfied by just 60 minutes of worship.

The John Paul Institute, in cooperation with St. Joseph Parish in Jasper, will host two day-long seminars on the Creed. The first is Sat. Oct. 13, and the second is Sat. March 9, 2013.

More details about the specifics of the class and the proposed curriculum may be received from us. Please send us an e-mail at to ask for details. When the Lord provides the finances and the personnel, we will have a new website, giving all of the necessary information.

Coming Soon!

GSP-Catalog-Summer2012_Page_01 5 A catalog of catechetical tools and rosary aids to help you evangelize during the Year of Faith. We will let you know when Gardener's Servant Productions are available. In November, we will be at the Mid-South Catholic Leadership Conference and the Indiana Conference for Catechetical Leadership


IMG_0552- to all of our benefactors.
    Due to your generous gifts, this apostolate serves families, youth, parishes, men’s and women’s groups and the Particular Churches in Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois.
    Thanks especially to Anthony and Johnette Wilson for their generous gift.
OLFatima 4
Summer Schedule (Central Time):
9:30 Registration at the St. Michael Statue
10:00 The Message of Fatima at Our Lady of Grace Grotto
10:15 Examination of Conscience at Ten Commandments
10:30 – 11:15 Confessions at Gardener’s Hut
10:30 – 11:15 Stations of the Cross
11:30 Mass at Sacred Heart Chapel
12:00 Angelus before Pitch-in Meal
1:15 Rosary on Trail or in the Chapel
2:15 Teaching in Amphitheater or Chapel
3:00 Divine Mercy Chaplet at Gardener’s Hut
Afterwards, families are welcome to play and to cook out. To arrange a visit or to request a group retreat, contact the Welcome Center (812.357.2119).


SJHF-Oct-11 021
Oct. 5, 9:30 a.m – First Friday Reparation Work Day. Bring garden tools and work gloves. Bring your own lunch.

Oct. 6, 9:30 a.m. - First Saturday Devotions. Fr. Joe Ziliak celebrates the sacraments. Zach Weber teaches on Our Lady of Good Help.

Oct. 11,  6:30 p.m. –  Second Thursday Holy Hour at St. Boniface Catholic Church, Evansville. Dcn. Tom Kempf will preside.

Oct. 26,  6:00 p.m. – Fourth Friday Free Family Flix For Fun - Movie: Karol: A Man who became Pope, Part I

Oct. 27,  5:00 p.m. – All Saints' Day Party. Come dressed as your favorite saint. Pitch-in Meal. Bring sweet treats. Twilight Rosary. Movie: Karol: the Pope, the Man, Part II.

July 2011 Holy Hour Adoration 2
2nd Thursday Holy Hour
My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love you. I ask pardon of you for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love you.
-prayer taught to the Fatima children by the Angel of Peace in 1916

Please join us for the St. Joseph's Holy Family, Inc. Holy Hour every 2nd Thursday at the St. Boniface Catholic Church Grotto in Evansville.

Parishes & Mass Times in the Tell City Deanery

St. Paul, Tell City
Rev. Dennis Duvelius, V.F., Pastor
5:30 p.m. Sat.
9:30 a.m. Sun.
11:30 a.m. Sun.

St. Mark, Perry County
5:30 p.m. (Summer)/
4:00 p.m. (Winter) Sat. 8:00 a.m. Sun.


St. Augustine, Leopold

Rev. Brian Esarey, Pastor
4:00 p.m. Sat.
10:30 a.m. Sun.

Holy Cross, St. Croix
9:00 am. Sun.

St. Martin of Tours, Siberia
7:30 a.m. Sun.


St. Michael, Cannelton

Fr. Sengole Thomas Gnanaraj, Admin.
8:00 a.m. Sun.

St. Pius V, Troy
10:30 a.m. Sun.


St. Isidore the Farmer, Perry County

Rev. Guy Mansini, OSB, Pastor
6:00 p.m. Sat.
9:30 a.m. Sun.


St. Meinrad, St. Meinrad

Rev. Anthony M. Vinson, OSB, Pastor
8:00 a.m. Sun.

St. Boniface, Fulda
5:00 p.m. Sat.
6:00 a.m. Sun.


St. Joseph, Crawford County

Rev. John L. Fink, Admin.
9:15 a.m. Sun.

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St. Joseph's Holy Family, Inc.
We need you!
Send us your testimony to include in the Voice of the Gardener Newsletter. E-mail your testimony and a photo to:

Can you help us with following material needs?
  • ZTR lawn mower ($5600) and 3 grass trimmers ($750)
  • BUNN Pour-over hot water machine ($239)
  • BUNN Pour-over coffee maker ($259)
  • Flatbed/Pick-up truck for hauling and dumping
  • Pop up canopy tents [e.g., 10x20, 12x12, 10x10] ($1000)
We need more saint posters to hang in the Pole Barn / Classroom / Dining Hall to create a retreat atmosphere.
Contact Us | Phone: 812-357-2119 | | 25992 Cottonwood Road, Bristow, IN 47515

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