Sara Swanson

Pilgrimage and faith leads to fundraising concert for St. Louis Center

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Deb's photo album of her trip to Medijigoure in Croatia. The name of the mountain is Apparition Mountain. Medijigoure means Love.

Deb’s photo album of her trip to Medjugorje in Croatia. The name of the mountain is Apparition Mountain.

On Saturday May 14th, Michael Russell O’Brien, a spiritual performer with a special devotion to Our Lady of Medjugorje and specializing in Catholic music, will be in concert at 7:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Dexter, located at 6805 Mast Rd. near North Territorial Rd. in Webster Twp. This concert will benefit the St. Louis Center in Chelsea, which cares for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and was initiated by and organized with the help of a Manchester resident with her own special devotion to Our Lady of Medjugorje.

Deb, a retired hospital nurse, has been following Michael’s career since 2011. She first became familiar with him and Medjugorje at a conference held annually at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, where he was a speaker & entertainer. Deb and her best friend Jeannette grew up in South Bend. Still close, they’ve talked weekly for over 45 years. Deb and Jeanette attended the conference together and in 2014 traveled to Medjugorje in Croatia, together, along with Jeanette’s husband.

Deb and Michael became acquainted and friendly. She decided try to bring him to our area to help the St. Louis Center’s fundraising efforts and to increase her abundance in her faith. “He is a one man Catholic show and his music wholeheartedly is nothing like I have ever heard. He is as good as Dean Martin,” she stated. Organizing this fundraising concert for the St. Louis Center was on her bucket list. “Fundraising is wonderful thing,” she said.

Michael, a former rock singer, will perform classic Catholic music favorites at the concert and relate inspirational stories about his conversion back to the faith two and a half decades ago. As a “non-practicing Catholic,” an unexpected pilgrimage 25 years ago to Medjugorje changed O’Brien’s direction. During that first visit, Michael was given a written message by the the apparition site’s visionary, who claimed the message was for him from the Blessed Mother to use his talent and abilities to bring people back to the faith. Michael has a #1 Catholic YouTube music video called Hail Mary/Gentle Woman.

A Mass to celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost will be offered at the church beginning at 5 pm and the doors for the concert will open at 7 pm.

Tickets for the concert are $10, and all proceeds will be donated to St. Louis Center. General admission tickets for the concert may be purchased from Deb at 4:30 pm after mass on Saturday or 10:30 am after mass on Sunday at St. Mary’s in Manchester or by emailing her at They can also be purchased at Joseph’s Parish Office in Dexter at 3430 Dover St., the St. Louis Center in Chelsea, the Catholic Shoppe in Jackson, and Our Lady of Grace Bookstore in Ann Arbor.

Deb (on right) with her friend and Mary (on left.)

Deb (on right) with her friend Mary (on left) at the Manchester Market.

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