September 29th, 2013
08:40 AM ET

From grief to grace: Wife of Amish schoolhouse shooter breaks her silence

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog co-editor

[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (CNN) - Among the flowers and plants in Marie Monville’s sunny yard sits a rosebush, a gift from her first husband, Charlie.

A few years ago, Monville painstakingly unearthed the roots and transplanted the bush from her old house 10 miles away - a house that Charlie had thrown into tumult and grief.

The bush’s prickles recall the pain she and her family have endured, Monville said, and its peach-colored blossoms offer a yearly reminder that God creates new life from old.

After years of silence, Monville is now telling a story of her own.

It’s the story of how a milkman’s daughter became a murderer’s wife, and how she found a divine calling after a devastating tragedy.

“If this wasn’t my life,” Monville said during a recent interview in her kitchen, family pictures smiling from the fridge, “I never would have expected it to look this beautiful.”

On October 2, 2006, Charlie Roberts - then Monville’s husband - burst into a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, with a handgun, a 12-gauge shotgun, a rifle, cans of black powder, a stun gun, two knives, a toolbox and restraint devices.

Roberts ordered a teacher, a teacher’s aide and the boys to leave, then bound 10 young schoolgirls and lined them up against the blackboard.

He boarded the windows, apparently preparing for a long siege, but as police surrounded the schoolhouse, Roberts shot all 10 girls before killing himself. Five girls died; the others were severely wounded.

The gentle, quiet man who had shared Monville's bed, children and life was now a mass murderer, guilty of unfathomable evil.

In mere hours, Monville lost her husband, and her children lost their father. Her close-knit community was terrorized and her family's name disgraced. Her innocence was despoiled, and her evangelical faith tested.

“I felt deserted, left behind to bear the weight of the world’s judgment and questions alone,” Monville writes in “One Light Still Shines,” her new book about the shooting and its aftermath, “and I felt that weight pressing me down.”

Stepping out of the shadows

After the shooting, Monville tried to keep her family, especially her three young children, out of the public eye.

But with the release of “One Light,” which goes on sale Monday, Monville is stepping out of the shadows, sharing her story in deeply personal detail.

Zondervan, one of the country’s largest Christian publishing houses, won't say how many copies it plans to print. But it has launched a “robust” marketing and publicity campaign, with a billboard in New York’s Times Square and interviews with TV networks, including CNN’s Piers Morgan.

“It will sell millions of copies," said Donald Kraybill, co-author of "The Amish" and a professor at Elizabethtown College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. "Millions."

Not only is Monville’s story powerful and largely untold, it also hits a burgeoning market for book publishers, Kraybill said: the cross-section of evangelical spirituality and interest in all things Amish.

Christian fiction best-seller lists brim with Amish romance novels, largely because of their large evangelical readership, which scholars trace to the 2006 shooting and its stunning postlude of Amish forgiveness.

Monville said she kept silent for so long because that story - the grace and compassion the Amish offered her family - was already making headlines around the world.

“There wasn’t much more for me to say,” she said.

Even if there had been more to say, the intensely private Monville was reluctant to speak publicly. Shy and quiet, she sometimes joked that the label under her high-school yearbook picture should have read, “Most Likely to be Forgotten.”

But as the shooting’s psychological wounds began to heal, Monville said she heard God calling her to a new mission: to share her message of hope and to tell others that, even after Charlie's crushing actions, her family not only survived, they thrived.

“I now saw a grand purpose in telling my story,” Monville writes, “I wasn’t afraid anymore.”

Walking on water

The morning of October 2, 2006, was sunny and warm, Monville recalls, the trees in her rural neighborhood radiant with red and golden leaves.

Monville, then Marie Roberts, was living her deepest childhood dreams.

At 28, she had a vibrant church community and spiritual life, a dutiful husband who doted on their three young children and a home next-door to her grandparents in idyllic Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where she was born and raised.

Charlie Roberts, her husband of nearly a decade, drove a truck that delivered milk to nearby dairies, just as Marie’s family had done for generations. He sometimes brooded over the death of their first daughter, who was born three months premature and died after just 20 minutes, but he usually pulled out from these bouts of depression.

On the morning of the shooting, Marie led a prayer group at a local church, where they asked God to keep schoolchildren safe.

As usual, she and Charlie later walked their two oldest children, then 7 and 5, to the bus stop, kissing them goodbye before Charlie left for work.

At 11 a.m., as Marie was pouring herself a cup of coffee, Charlie called.

“I had never heard Charlie’s voice sound like that before,” Monville writes, “not in almost 10 years of marriage. Something was horribly wrong.”

Charlie told Marie he was not coming home. He left a note explaining everything, he said. Marie pleaded with him to come home, but he hung up.

According to Pennsylvania State Police, Charlie also told Marie he had molested young family members two decades before and had daydreamed of doing so again. Monville said she left that out of her new book because police found the claims to be false.

“Charlie said a lot of things on the phone or the letter that didn’t make a lot of sense,” Monville said in an interview. “His mind was filled with all of the things he was planning to do, so he wasn’t in a place of being OK.”

The three-page letter Charlie left for Marie said she was the perfect wife, but the death of their firstborn child made him enraged at God.

“I am sorry to put you and the kids in this position but I feel that this is the best and only way,” Charlie wrote. “I love all of you and this is why am I doing this.”

Marie called 911. Sirens wailed in the distance. Hanging up the phone, she stood in the living room, staring at her ceiling fan, and prayed.

Monville calls this her “walk on water” moment, recalling when Jesus challenged the disciples to show their faith by following his footsteps across the Sea of Galilee.

“I was faced with two choices, and only two,” she said.

“I could choose to believe that everything written about God in the pages of the Word were true, and that he was going to rescue me and my family. Or I could choose to believe that we were going down like the fastest sinking ship.”

The falling flower 

Raised a churchgoer in deeply religious Lancaster County, where churches far outnumber bars, Monville said she always enjoyed a close relationship with God, hearing his voice call to her, feeling his embrace during prayer and worship.

Even after the death of her firstborn, whom they named Elise, and a later failed pregnancy, Monville said she kept hoping that God held better days in store.

But Charlie’s faith faltered, and he shrugged off her pleas to talk to a pastor, counselor or friend about his deepening depression.

“He was angry at God, which I didn’t realize in those days,” Monville said. “I just thought he wasn’t connected to the Lord in the ways I was. The harder I pushed, the more he withdrew.”

Counselors later said that Charlie Roberts likely suffered for years with untreated clinical depression over the death of Elise, which led to a psychotic break with reality, Monville said.

“I did not know the man who went into the schoolhouse and did the things he did there,” she said. “I did not know that Charlie.”

Counselors told Monville that depression can be difficult to diagnose, especially when a sufferer is trying hard to hide it. “There were a lot of things I asked myself,” Monville said. “How did I not see this? What are the signs I missed?”

Those questions didn’t yield easy answers, just more difficult questions, she said: How could God allow this to happen? What should she tell her children? Would people hold her responsible for Charlie’s actions? Could she rebuild her life in Lancaster?

The community - including the Amish - showered her family with gifts, meals and love after the shooting, Monville recalls. They waved hello on the way to the bus stop, dropped by to see if she needed groceries, encouraged her to stay in Lancaster.

Still, Monville had always been a people-pleasing middle child, shyly hoping she could somehow escape the world’s gaze. Now she was the center of attention, with news vans parked in her neighborhood and reporters prowling around her yard.

With her newfound notoriety came questions from strangers that made her skin crawl. Did Charlie have life insurance? How do you sleep at night knowing what your husband did? 

In fact, Monville didn’t sleep at night. She tossed and turned, grieving over her husband and the deaths he caused, and worrying about her children’s future.

But with Scripture and prayer, in reaching out to God and hearing his reply in shouts and whispers, feeling his fatherly care in signs and wonders that people of lesser faith might take for coincidences, Monville said she found healing.

On the day of the shooting, after Charlie’s frightening call, she saw a vision of God’s hand catching a falling flower petal just before it hit the ground, Monville said.

And that’s just what God did for her, she said, every time her spirits fell.

She saw God's hand when the Amish attended Charlie's funeral, when neighbors sent baskets of food, and strangers filled her mailbox with supportive notes.

Most importantly, Monville said, she felt God's strength when she had to tell her children that their father had made some very bad choices, and some people had died, and he had died, too.

“Over and over again," Monville writes, "(God) broke though my pain, revealed his presence, and restored my hope.”

New love

Along with restored hope came another miracle, Monville said: She no longer cared what other people thought.

Marie needed that fearlessness when, just four months after the shooting, she told her family she was engaged to a family friend, Dan Monville.

She and Dan, a divorcé, had bonded after the shooting as they supervised play dates with their young children. She felt a connection with Dan as their families bonded, she said, which ripened into love.

Maybe Dan was the right man, her family said, but it was definitely the wrong time.

Marie had doubts, too. It was so soon after the shooting. But she felt God whispering to her, telling her that Dan was the man she should marry.

Marie said she wrestled with that revelation, fasting and praying for days. Again, one of those signs and wonders - the kind that others might take for happenstance - broke into her life.

Early one morning in December 2006, Marie awoke to hear her Christmas tree tumble with a crackling crash.

Each year, she and Charlie had exchanged Christmas ornaments, their own family tradition. Only two broke when the tree fell, Monville said, the first and last Charlie had given her.

“At the precise moment I noticed this,” she writes, “I heard the words 'It is finished' echo through my heart and mind.”

Dan and Marie were married in May 2007, seven months after the schoolhouse shooting. They now live in the house with Charlie's rosebush, their five children are healthy and happy.

Joyful messenger

Sipping a cup of coffee in her tidy kitchen last week, Monville said she relishes her return to routine, dropping the kids off at school, grocery shopping. "Normal mom" stuff.

She keeps the letter Charlie left and reads it from time to time, even though some parts leave her feeling shaky. Monville also keeps cartons full of letters sent from strangers around the world. She tries not to dread the arrival of October 2, but still finds her eyes fixed to the clock each year, remembering when Charlie left her work, when he called, the day's devastation.

Monville said she has spent years trying to remove the “the shooter’s wife” label - but in a way, she embraces it now, as long as she gets to tell the rest of the story.

It’s the story of how the milkman’s timid daughter, the murderer’s grieving wife, became of all things a joyful messenger, telling everyone who’d listen about the grace of God’s love.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Books • Christianity • Death • Faith

soundoff (1,271 Responses)
  1. Harry Cline

    She left his child molestation out of the book. Yeah, she thought she really knew this guy. She married a fantasy, the white picket fence. And at 18.

    Now she confuses forgetting with simply letting go and moving away from the negativity in ones life. Forgive no, but forgetting about it so that it doesn't ruin your life anymore is better. In other words somethings are not worth the energy of ones emotions trying to understand it all.

    She married a closet pervert, who after having children himself hated himself.

    September 29, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Welch

      Much of what you say is likely true. I think the death of their first child had a big impact too. I had a friend in a similar situation. He never got over it. She did.

      September 29, 2013 at 11:17 am |
  2. Xavier

    If there is no higher power then what happens when you die?

    September 29, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Welch

      You die. Get over it. Why does something have to happen? Why does someone owe you? Sounds pretty selfish. Isn't a life enough?

      September 29, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • truthprevails1

      Nothing, you either become worm food or ashes. Why does there need to be something after? Are you not happy with the life you live now?

      September 29, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Xavier

      I'd just be a lot more content if there was an afterlife.

      September 29, 2013 at 11:16 am |
      • Welch

        Understandable. Death is scary. It sucks. That's the main reason people are readily willing to have the faith, and disregard reason and facts, and common sense, and believe the nonesense in the bible. Live your life here. Be good to people here, If you think you are going to float around with your family in "heaven" you really pretty nuts.

        September 29, 2013 at 11:23 am |
        • Xavier

          I'm crazy for believing in an afterlife?

          September 29, 2013 at 11:28 am |
        • Gail

          For your specific version of that afterlife, with all the nonsense that goes along with it, essentially yes. "deluded" is probably a better term, though.

          September 29, 2013 at 11:31 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          No, you're not crazy for believing in an afterlife. If many people in your society believe, then the belief is not "crazy." When everyone thought the world was flat instead of round, it was not crazy to believe the world was flat.

          You are believing in an idea with zero evidence, though, and that should cause you pause.

          September 29, 2013 at 11:31 am |
        • Gail

          Not just a case of zero evidence. What evidence exists contradicts much of the Christian storyline, and that storyline even contradicts itself.

          September 29, 2013 at 11:34 am |
      • Zachary


        September 29, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      The elements and energy return to the universe.

      September 29, 2013 at 11:19 am |
      • Xavier

        Does that mean that I continue to exist after I pass?

        September 29, 2013 at 11:22 am |
        • Gail

          No. And look up fallacy of wishful thinking. You could use a good read of it.

          September 29, 2013 at 11:30 am |
        • My Dog is a jealous Dog

          The atoms of your body will continue to exist, and most of the carbon in your body will eventually be recycled into some form of life. But then, those atoms existed before you did, and those same atoms may end up as part of another human being at some time in the future, so are they really "your" atoms to begin with. We are all part of a very large cycle of life and death, and if you want to view this as "reincarnation", I see no reason to refute a bio-chemical viewpoint.

          September 29, 2013 at 11:33 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          That is a ridiculous question. With no brain to house your sentience, "you" will no longer exist. The atoms and energy that make you up will be recycled by the universe, but since OUR sentience reauires a physical, functioning brain, You will not retain sentience.

          September 29, 2013 at 11:43 am |
        • aldewacs2

          If you have children and grandchildren, you can live trough them. If you have taught them values and skills, your legacy can carry on. If you have done good things of value for others, you will be remembered.
          That is all there is – but isn't that a lot?

          September 30, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Rebel4Christ

      Honestly Xavier's Got a point, first off if your an atheist you believe that all this life is, is you live a little bit and then die and may or may not be remembered but it doesn't matter because your dead. Honestly as C.S. Lewis says, even if it is fake (which there's not good evidence to prove it is) then I would rather accept my fake world than accept your crappy real world, and why does it matter if I do believe in it? We're all just random bits of science anyway, life is meaningless if your an atheist

      September 30, 2013 at 9:39 am |
      • aldewacs2

        ".. life is meaningless if you're an atheist .." (spelling corrections courtesy of me)
        = = = = =
        You seriously misunderstand atheists and their motivations.
        A quick summary for you, so you don't sound so uneducated next time: 'atheist' describes all kinds of people with all kinds of backgrounds, jobs, training, education etc. The only thing they have in common is, as a result of any shred of evidence to the contrary, an inability to believe that any gods exist or ever existed.
        I assure you that to most atheists, life is extremely valuable and meaningful, and free of religious hoopla.

        September 30, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
  3. Jokesterer

    When I look in your eyes
    I still go crazy...

    September 29, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  4. Leigh

    I think it would be extremely difficult to be related to someone who committed such a horrid crime. You are judged and blamed. The worst must be that you can't simply stop loving this person because of the tragedy, which in itself is torture. Must be a lot of self doubt and blame also. All that being said, I see no reason to profit from the murders of so many children. Sure, write to help yourself, but there is no need to publish it.

    September 29, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • allenwoll

      Let us refrain from premature judgment.
      Let us see what is done with the money - A great deal of good could be done.
      THAT being said, religion is a strong, effective and DANGEROUS tool. . There is but the finest line between it and ACUTE mental illness.

      September 29, 2013 at 11:23 am |
      • grace

        Leigh's is not a premature judgment. Doesn't make any difference how the money is used. No one related to the murderer should be able to write and profit from a book on the murders. I wouldn't read the book if you paid me and I would not have read this article had I knwn it was to promote her book.

        September 29, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • grace

      I think it would be extremely hard to write a book adout my former husband's atrocities and how it impacts me.

      September 29, 2013 at 11:43 am |
      • Kriss

        Not everyone is you. Just because you wouldn't do something doesn't make it right or wrong. That's kind of a narrow viewpoint. Obviously, the poor woman is trying to cope the best she can, and that is through writing the book and through her religion. My opinion is that her belief/religion is simply a tool to deal with the atrociousness of the crime. By all accounts she seems like a nice/good person. I'll cut her some slack, she's not to blame for her husband's behavior. HE is to blame. She has enough to live with. As for the book, if people find it offensive that she wrote it, well, they won't buy it.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
  5. Jokesterer

    It's all brand new, I'm crazy for you
    And you know it's true
    I'm crazy, crazy for you

    September 29, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Andy

      Ya. How wonderful and how convenient it is to babble about moving on, ... especially without any
      regard for the deceased and your moral obligation to be sensitive to those living with endless suffering,
      all caused by the massacre your beloved (first) husband committed.

      September 29, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
  6. Annalisel

    I wonder how the families of the girls shot dead in the schoolhouse feel about this book, and what's going to happen to the money the author makes from it. I sure hope she decides to pay it forward to the same community that supported her during that time.

    September 29, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • allenwoll

      Please see my respone to Leigh above.

      September 29, 2013 at 11:24 am |
  7. mesowhat

    Que nasty comments by athiests about a God they supposedly don't believe in on a story about someone's personal life journey in 3....2....1

    September 29, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Austin

      Topher, is that me?

      September 29, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • troll spotter

      Queue the troll making nasty comments about atheists no matter what the topic is.

      September 29, 2013 at 11:21 am |
  8. Welch

    So God helps her but turns a blind eye to schoolgirls getting lined up and shot in the head? Makes great sense.

    September 29, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • J. Johnson

      "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 Only those living in the light are able to see that good. You live in darkness, so you see darkness.

      September 29, 2013 at 10:52 am |
      • visitor

        "why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

        September 29, 2013 at 10:59 am |
      • Welch

        I've got a few more books you might like–Jack and the Beanstalk, Snow White, and Cinderella.

        September 29, 2013 at 11:09 am |
      • Welch

        Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15 NAB)

        Great book you got there. Very loving.

        September 29, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • anon

      You know, I believe in God, but I've always had a hard time with that one too.

      September 30, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
  9. judi

    A man's depression went undiagnosed because the people who witnessed it called it a lack of faith. Signs from god led this woman and her family through that terrible time. Sometimes we see what we want to see. I agree that this isn't going to play well in every community or in every mind.

    September 29, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Amanda

      Other family members of mass murders do not blame the murders committed as a lack of faith. She sounds a little iffy too, this might have contributed to the guy's psychotic break.

      September 29, 2013 at 11:23 am |
      • Kriss

        It's beyond incredulous that you blame this woman for what her husband did. She sounds "iffy"? What does THAT mean? To the contrary, she sounds like a nice/good person who is deeply religious and uses that as her coping skill. I don't understand that, but to each his own. There is NOTHING to indicate that she had any clue he would do something like what he did. He didn't have record or previous problems, there was nothing to portend what was to come. He, and he ALONE owns his acts.

        September 29, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
  10. Amanda

    Mr. Burke,

    Elizabethtown College is located in Elizabethtown, PA, not Lancaster, PA unless you meant Lancaster County.

    September 29, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  11. ron

    Where was Levi and the dwarf at Amish Mafia when all this went down???

    September 29, 2013 at 10:42 am |
  12. ron

    God?..theres no god

    September 29, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • J. Johnson

      Psalm 14:1 "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'"

      September 29, 2013 at 10:47 am |
      • dewed

        Smitty 3:11 "Self-righteous clowns think ancient phrases have actual meaning."

        September 29, 2013 at 11:02 am |
        • SamB19

          very funny and true 🙂

          September 30, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
      • Gail

        Gail 1:1 There is no god. Only very vain and stupid people believe that a god cares about their every deed and is going to save them from taking responsibility for their own idiotic actions.

        September 29, 2013 at 11:02 am |

        Stop reading the KJV, the bible for D-U-M-M-I-E-S, and read a LITERAL translation...

        Psalm 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no El.”
        ... which is followed closely by ...
        Psalm 14:2 Yahweh looked down from heaven on the children of men

        So, exactly who is god, El or Yahweh? The polytheistic roots of judaism & xtianity shine through.

        Another example...

        Deuteronomy 32:8 When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. 9 For the LORD'S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.

        Deuteronomy 32:8 When El gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the children of men, he set the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel. 9 For Yahweh’s portion is his people. Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.

        And whom do the Jews REALLY consider as god considering the name of their country, Isra-EL, translates to “El rules,” not “Yahweh rules” (that would be Isra-yahu, as in (Benjamin) Netan-YAHU, which translates to "Yahweh provides").

        The ILLITERATE nature of xtians is SHAMEFUL, and one doesn't have to dig very deep to see that 1)xtians do not care to know anything about god/s, 2)do their best to hide the many gods of the bible, and 3)the vast majority think their god is named "god" and have never even heard the name "Yahweh" and certain not the name "El."

        And all I can say is Amen (ancient Egyptian god) to that. LOL

        And a rather perplexing question for you: Asherah is both the wife of El, and later the consort of Yahweh who was son of El in the polytheistic period of Judaism ... does that mean that Yahweh had relations with his own mom? LOL

        You ILLITERATE DVMBFVCK, praying to god whose name you don't even know. ROFLOL

        September 30, 2013 at 8:14 am |
    • NoDoubt

      There is no God. Only Zuul.

      September 29, 2013 at 11:36 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        And Gozer is his Harbinger.

        September 30, 2013 at 8:27 am |
  13. marie claire dupre

    To be "deeply religious" in the "christian" world, one MUST suffer from many delusions, denial being the strongest..

    September 29, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • Ray

      to be deeply "atheists" requires much denial, and delusions.

      September 29, 2013 at 11:09 am |
      • My Dog is a jealous Dog

        And yet atheists don't hate god. This deeply religious man could not come to grips with the death of his daughter and god's plan – and this man became enraged at god. He was so angry at his god that he executed 5 Amish young girls. This man may have had pre-existing mental illness, but the impossible task of understanding his god did not help the situation.

        September 29, 2013 at 11:27 am |
        • visitor

          On the day his wife was leading a prayer group to protect schoolchildren. It doesn't seem there can be any doubt there is a delusional connection. Horrible.

          September 29, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        "to be deeply "atheists" requires much denial, and delusions."

        Does it take a lot of denial to say Santa Claus does not exist, Big Foot, Nessy?
        Does it take delusion to NOT believe in something that there is no evidence for its existance, or does it take delusion to "believe" or have "faith" in something with NO evidence for?

        September 29, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • Patti Butler

      I believe she wrote the book for people like you. Perhaps reading it would give you the proof you seek.

      September 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
  14. visitor

    I really don't know what to make out of this, but something really isn't adding up here. I suppose one can see the great value in an incredibly forgiving community. I greatly respect that kind of social support. I also see the problem when someone is suffering to be told "pray harder" or the equivalent, (I have seen it personally, and that is incredibly damaging) and clearly this woman never really mourned too hard. Engaged after 4 months? That says something more than "I moved on". Also, writing a book is not a way to keep the kids out of the spotlight, and Ms. Fearless better understand that her view on this (as well as the decision to leave confessions, real or otherwise, out of the book) is not going to play as nicely outside of Lancaster County.

    “I now saw a grand purpose in telling my story,”

    Well, the cynical part of me says that is called "money" but I think this woman really does think she is "special" because her husband mass murdered a bunch of children and she thrived because of faith. She might call herself unafraid and I guess she is. Others would call her shameless and they would also be correct.

    September 29, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • J. Johnson

      " Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you." Matthew 7:1-2

      September 29, 2013 at 10:29 am |
      • visitor

        Ohh, magic words. blah blah blah judge me I don't really care. I didn't write a book.

        Look, cool the woman moved on and probably much better for the kids assuming this is a more intact family than the last one. It's not like she came across and accident and lifted a car off of injured people. She moved on in apparently record time with faith and no one is responsible for mental illness in their families. It is advisable to take responsibility for it if one is a family member however and maybe this book can help people see the signs of someone who is very very very very mentally ill and clarify what she SHOULD have done. Maybe it's in there. I hope so, because that is much more compelling story than how fast one can move on.

        By the way it's: "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

        That is a message for a lot of people isn't it.

        September 29, 2013 at 10:49 am |
        • Kriss

          She's not responsible for the acts of another person. To say she is, is simply nuts. Personal responsibility. This isn't a case of where this was forseeable by the spouse (i.e. Andrea Yates). He didn't have a record, he was an otherwise unassuming man living everyday life. Even knowing how upset he was over their daughter's death does in no way lead to the logical conclusion that he'd go berserk and kill little girls. As for her remarrying that soon, who cares? She obviously copes through her religious beliefs, which while I don't really get, to each his own.

          September 29, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
        • visitor

          Kirss I wrote " no one is responsible for mental illness in their families."

          What IS advisable, if there are signs, close ones need to intervene. Anyone with a mentally ill relative (and I am someone with a mentally ill relative) knows there are signs but often they aren't seen except in hindsight. Those and what would be done differently would be helpful.

          September 29, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
      • pa jesseson

        matthew said that? matthew who?

        September 29, 2013 at 10:50 am |
      • Reality # 2

        o The citizens of the USA judge every day as noted by the US Supreme Court, State Supreme courts and analogous judicial/jury venues across this great land.

        And there is some question as to whether Jesus even uttered Matt 7:1-2 (= Luke 6: 37). For example, see http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb118.html

        September 29, 2013 at 11:24 am |
        • J. Johnson

          I really hope you're not giving a book report on a book you haven't read. It kind of sounds that way. Personally, I have read the Bible cover to cover, and spend on average 5-7 hours a week studying not only the Bible itself, but extra-biblical texts, and commentaries. It's an amazing book that's changed not only my life, but my entire family's. (And I read a lot; I'm a lawyer by education). Please don't settle for the cliff notes version, ie. Bible-bashing websites and cheat sheets. That's no way to conduct accurate research.

          September 29, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          Some references to update your religious education regarding the historical Jesus:

          o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

          2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
          – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

          30-60 CE Passion Narrative
          40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
          50-60 1 Thessalonians
          50-60 Philippians
          50-60 Galatians
          50-60 1 Corinthians
          50-60 2 Corinthians
          50-60 Romans
          50-60 Philemon
          50-80 Colossians
          50-90 Signs Gospel
          50-95 Book of Hebrews
          50-120 Didache
          50-140 Gospel of Thomas
          50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
          50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
          65-80 Gospel of Mark
          70-100 Epistle of James
          70-120 Egerton Gospel
          70-160 Gospel of Peter
          70-160 Secret Mark
          70-200 Fayyum Fragment
          70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
          73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
          80-100 2 Thessalonians
          80-100 Ephesians
          80-100 Gospel of Matthew
          80-110 1 Peter
          80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
          80-130 Gospel of Luke
          80-130 Acts of the Apostles
          80-140 1 Clement
          80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
          80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
          80-250 Christian Sibyllines
          90-95 Apocalypse of John
          90-120 Gospel of John
          90-120 1 John
          90-120 2 John
          90-120 3 John
          90-120 Epistle of Jude
          93 Flavius Josephus
          100-150 1 Timothy
          100-150 2 Timothy
          100-150 T-itus
          100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
          100-150 Secret Book of James
          100-150 Preaching of Peter
          100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
          100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
          100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
          100-160 2 Peter

           4. Jesus Database, http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –"The JESUS DATABASE is an online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
          5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
          6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.o-rg/wiki/Jesus_Seminar
          7. http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT
          8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
          9.The Gn-ostic Jesus
          (Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)
          by Douglas Gro-othuis: http://www.equip.o-rg/articles/g-nosticism-and-the-g-nostic-jesus/
          10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
          Presented on March 18, 1994
          11. The Jesus Database- newer site:
          12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:
          13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
          13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies
          14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
          15. D-iseases in the Bible:

          16. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
          theologians, ethics, etc.

           17. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/
          18. Writing the New Testament- e-xisting copies, o-ral tradition etc.
          19. JD Crossan's c-onclusions about the a-uthencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other NT e-xege-tes in the last 200 years:
          20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
          21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?
          22. NT and beyond time line:
          23. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
          24. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
          25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
          27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
          28. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
          29. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

          September 29, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • HHutchins

      How dare you question another's faith just because you don't understand it...this is a wonderful story and I'm glad she is telling it. I believe she is doing this to spread God's love and grace and that is a beautiful thing. As far as you thinking she married again too quickly.......grief is different for everyone, there is no time limit to it. I wish her and her family the best and thank her for spreading the word of grace and love, I will be buying her book. I pray that Our Lord blesses each of you in a way that will help you understand.

      September 29, 2013 at 11:02 am |
      • visitor

        How dare I? I dared! Fearless, am I. See? I have FAITH and STRENGTH that your "how dare you" doesn't concern me, one bit. Some people find strength in serial marriage. More power to 'em. I have faith that my noticing that only makes me intelligent and stronger.

        September 29, 2013 at 11:29 am |
      • visitor

        "why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

        Don't pray for me. Pray for yourself.

        September 29, 2013 at 11:30 am |
      • Damocles

        How dare people question faith? Are you serious?

        This is a truly horrible story that amounts to little more than 'I shove the thoughts of those innocent kids dying from my mind because it doesn't suit me to remember that'. This woman sounds more than a bit unhinged herself.

        That you would find it a-ok that one person binded themselves more deeply to a fairy-tale at the expense of murdered kids speaks volumes to what blind faith is all about.

        September 29, 2013 at 11:42 am |
        • aldewacs2

          Truer words were never spoken.
          Not popular words, of course, but painfully true nevertheless.

          September 30, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
  15. kali

    I always wonder what makes people in situations like this talk to the media.. I would never ever want to talk to the media.. why do people put themselves through this... the media probably hounds people like for ever trying to get them to go public......

    September 29, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Alice

      Her message is about survival with God's Grace. She hopes others can learn from her experience. Nothing more, that is how people gain hope through testimonial, she is not looking for media attentions – just spreading HOPE.

      September 29, 2013 at 10:25 am |
      • Gail

        Meanwhile your god ignores all the innocent folk that got shot. Your god must be quite the berk.

        September 29, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • A

      She has a book to sell.

      September 29, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  16. Sarah

    What a beautiful, heartbreaking & amazing story about life, the struggles, our inherent goodness, and peace. Thanks for sharing!!!

    September 29, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Brian


      September 29, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  17. Farrok

    I'm glad she is happy. What a beautiful woman. The Sun will shine again...... Depression is a very serious illness; if you feel depressed seek medical assistance.

    September 29, 2013 at 10:13 am |
  18. kwdragon

    While I do not share her faith, I admire Ms. Monville's courage in the face of such an awful and tragic event.

    September 29, 2013 at 10:08 am |
  19. WebJohnson

    She married a guy who went insane.

    That's not her fault.

    Mental illness can be fatal to a lot of people.

    We need to destigmatize mental illness and encourage people to go get the help they need-free of charge– or social judgement.

    September 29, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • pa jesseson

      yes. mental illness is not mental choice. our nation is cruel to the mentally ill, sometimes even executing them for crimes their illness caused. but remember, folks, this is not a christian nation, or jewish nation, or muslim or buddhist or god loving nation. this is a nation of revenge and dollars. if you disagree, good luck, pay your bills with your belief system. the dollar is god in america. pray all you want to it, if you like, but that's the deal. Meantime, we talk all that crap but the mentally ill are treated like lepers were. america should be ashamed, and until church goers do something for the mentally ill, they can quote up the whazoo, but hypocrite and phoney is all they really name themselves with their talk and nonaction.

      September 29, 2013 at 10:55 am |
      • Damocles

        Please share with the group and tell us how many family members of yours you would allow a mentally unbalanced person to do away with before you decided that, hey, maybe it's time we get rid of that person.

        September 29, 2013 at 11:49 am |
        • WebJohnson

          Recently, there have been many reports of people who were reported to be mentally ill or who they themselves went looking ,in a state of self terror, for mental help and were turned away.

          These people went on to kill many people.

          Mental health help might have saved all those victims lives.

          The cost of inaction is to watch many more people die needlessly at the hands of the mentally ill.

          September 30, 2013 at 1:04 am |
  20. david greenberg

    depressed, huh...sympathy for the wife and children, sure – they are innocent, but sympathy or forgiveness for this pos?...NEVER.

    September 29, 2013 at 9:59 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.