The addition to the Jobin family farm house in Barry’s Bay, Ont., has finally been completed, which will allow the family to live together under one roof again. The family had been living in two separate homes, one a rental that allowed the family’s youngest, Marie Ange, below, who was born with brain damage, to live in a temperature-controlled environment. Photo courtesy of Donald Mcdonald

Family finally reunited under one roof

  • July 10, 2022

After years of being separated due to the health-care needs of their youngest child, the Jobin family is finally reunited under one roof.

Since their almost four-year-old daughter Marie-Ange was born with brain damage in September 2018, mom Carole had been living with her in a temperature-controlled house 15 minutes away from the family farm house in Barry’s Bay, Ont. The distance meant that husband Marc spent a lot of time travelling back and forth, and Carole, who is Marie Ange’s primary caregiver serving her round the clock needs, spent plenty of time away from the family’s other eight children.

Marie Ange has been unable to regulate her own body temperature which means even the slightest fluctuation could have a detrimental impact on her health. She was in a foot-long breech position at birth and Carole suffered a ruptured uterus, depriving the baby of oxygen which resulted in severe brain injury. The hemorrhaging that followed nearly took Carole’s life.

Seeing the family’s need, Donald Macdonald, grand knight of the St. Patrick’s Basilica Ottawa Council, Knights of Columbus, launched a GoFundMe campaign to help raise enough funds to build an addition to the Jobin family home that would meet the needs of Marie Ange. With help from the Mennonite Disaster Service Canada, which handled much of the construction needs, they were able to complete the addition and reunite the Jobins into one family home.

“It was pretty life changing just to have Carole home again,” said Marc. “It was amazing because during that time period, we also ended up finding some new nurses (to assist with Marie Ange’s care) so everything really worked out for us. We had the new nurses at the house, and Carole was at the house, and we were able to have meals as a family once again.”

The family and those involved with the project will be holding an event at the family home on July 16 to celebrate the successful completion of the project and the community that helped make their reunion possible. Representatives from the Mennonites, the Knights, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Barry’s Bay and others who helped are expected to be on hand.

With the other children ranging in age from five to early 20s, the eldest of the children, who have been assisting their mother with Marie Ange’s care, are now able to focus more on their personal passion projects.

In the past, Marc would have had to drive one of the eldest children over to the temperature-controlled house to assist their mother with Marie Ange while he tended to the other children in the family.

For the other family members to be able to relieve Carole for 40 minutes here and there has also been life changing, he said. The improved environment also means that Marie Ange has had to make fewer trips to the hospital, minimizing disruption to the flow of family life.

The family said the timing of the completion of the construction project felt divine. The house they were renting for Marie Ange’s care was owned by an elderly woman who passed away and her home went to the estate. The family had a week or two notice before they had to move Marie Ange out. Construction on their home was finished that same week. The Mennonites worked hard to finish it on time so that Carole and the child were able to move in as quickly as possible.

Macdonald says walking with the family during this journey has been inspiring. Witnessing  their unrelenting Catholic faith through the challenges of the circumstance, and the way the community came together with help from the Mennonites, shows what’s possible when people of faith are able to unite beyond differences. With hardships a reality for so many, he says having the faith that God has a plan for everyone, has the power to change outcomes.

“It’s not always our will, the path that we’re following but God does strengthen us through the journey,” said Macdonald. “The community really strengthens us as well. That’s sort of the wind in our sails. When I see fellow Knights getting on board, also the men and the women in the Mennonite community who really threw themselves into the project, that’s all inspiring… People do have different beliefs but if we can find our common ground and goals — we’re all children of God at the end of the day — it’s really a good thing.”

When they started the campaign in late 2021 to get Marie Ange home, it seemed like a pipe dream. Looking at where they are today, Marc says it feels nothing short of a miracle.

“From where we were as a family, the state of just fatigue, and Carole having a hard time catching up her sleep, there was so much demand on our family logistically and practically,” said Marc. “Then suddenly, we go from that, to God fixing everything in like six months.”

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