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Saint Ignatius High School

A Walking Miracle

From Honduras to Cleveland, one family's extraordinary journey to The Welsh Academy. As told by Kathryne Kraven Bradesca in the 2019-2020 Saint Ignatius Advancement Review.

Not all walking miracles end up playing rugby at The Welsh Academy, but then again, not all walking miracles have the faith of a mother like Alma Rosales on their side.

Twelve years ago Rosales, her husband Gustavo Rosales, 7-year-old son Nahun Figeroa, 5-month-old son Adan left Honduras and came to Cleveland for emergency medical assistance. Adan was born with multiple organ failures and given only two months to live. Cleveland doctors told Rosales their only chance was a heart/lung transplant, but since he was not an American citizen he did not qualify.

Instead, doctors performed an experimental procedure to save Adan's life, and it worked. Recovery was not easy. He spent over six weeks in a coma and several years on tube feeding and oxygen protocols.

Rosales refused to give up. “I was praying always, believing that God is the one who has the last word.”

Adan’s recovery was long, but he eventually began reaching milestones. As he went through school, Adan did not have an easy time. He had learning difficulties and trouble with bullies.

That is when his mother’s faith saved his life once more. She continued to pray for a better life for Adan. In a chance encounter at Gesu Parish, Rosales met Michael Skerl, DDS ’72, and he offered her family free dental care. This kindness resulted in a friendship that led Rosales to care for Dr. Skerl’s elderly parents, Betty and Gene.

It was a discussion with Betty, whose late son Jim ’74 was the legendary Saint Ignatius Theology teacher, that led Rosales to The Welsh Academy. Adan enrolled and just completed his sixth grade year as part of the inaugural class.

Rosales says the change in Adan has been dramatic. He is more mature, has more friends, and is not afraid to show who he is. “He is able to express himself in a way he couldn't before,” she says. “They push the kids in a positive way. And now he always keeps trying and never gives up.”

Mary Ann Vogel, Welsh Academy Principal, describes Rosales as devoted. “She is absolutely devoted to God, her family, the Skerls.” When Vogel met Rosales after the June 2019 parent meeting, Vogel recalls that Rosales was at the Marian Mall praying after the meeting. “She was tearful because she was so thankful and knew that The Welsh Academy was a game changer for her son. You could just see that movement of prayer in her.”

And it is that tenacious prayer life that helped Rosales’s son flourish despite the odds. The boy who was not expected to live two months is now headed to seventh grade at The Welsh Academy, with a strong desire to learn, a great group of friends, and a passion for rugby. That makes him a walking, Wildcat, rugby-playing miracle.