Engineering grad gets call offering his family a home

John Joseph

John Joseph

May16, 2016

EDMONTON - An email from St. Joseph's College chaplain Basilian Father Glenn McDonald offered life-saving help to John Joseph.

"He asked me if I was alright," said Joseph.

Joseph and his family in their Fort McMurray home were not alright. They wanted to flee the approaching fire, but had nowhere to go.

McDonald knew Joseph because the young man had lived in the college men's residence, was a regular at Mass and had just completed his electrical engineering degree.

Joseph quickly accepted McDonald's offer of sanctuary at the college.

His sister Mary and mother Reena got into their car and hurried north to Syncrude to pick up Joseph's father Mavarayil who worked there as an electrical engineer.

Things were still iffy because reports said the highway was blocked.

Reena opened the Bible on her lap. One passage leapt off the page. "It was the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus," said Joseph. "So she said 'Go.' God's signs were with us."

He told of the amazing generosity of volunteers as they passed through the small towns. "We tried to pay for things but they said 'No.'"

"Everything is new" in their apartment in the college's women's residence, said a grateful Joseph.

The family eats at the college cafeteria and is waiting for news about Mavarayil's job and the family's home.

When asked if the fire had shaken his faith, Joseph answered immediately. "This has improved my faith. It gets better all the time. God is always with us."