Saved By Prayer: Knights of Columbus Feature Student Who Escaped Death

Chris Holzman with Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly and N.Y. Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

A senior at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, was in a coma with severe head injuries and his doctors and family feared the worst.

But he is back in classes, nearing graduation, and credits the prayers of Blessed Father Michael McGivney for seeing him through.

The story of Christopher Holzman’s seemingly miraculous recovery is told in the March 1 edition of Columbia, the magazine of the Knights of Columbus.

“Most reported stories of healing may not qualify as miraculous by the Church’s standards, which are rightly high and demanding to protect the integrity of the canonization process,” said the Columbia story. “But they do reveal something of Father McGivney’s pastoral heart and of the devotion of Knights of Columbus and others to the Order’s founder.”

Holzman, of Alton, Iowa, was a sophomore in December 2021 active with the Knights of Columbus when he and his friends went longboarding down a steep hill near campus. Holzman started out ahead of the others. When they reached the bottom, they found him unconscious on the pavement with blood flowing from his mouth and ears.

A nurse happened to be driving by and helped keep Holzman alive, though he stopped breathing several times. His friends called 911 and soon Chris was being life-flighted to a hospital in Kanas City.

His parents were called in, and his father, a former Knights of Columbus district deputy, packed for a long stay and prepared himself for the worse as he left Iowa. He was afraid he might have to “identify a body,” when he got there.

But he also grabbed a Blessed Michael McGivney prayer card and he and his wife began praying for his intercession on behalf of their son. When they arrived, the situation was dire. Chris had broken the temporal bones on both sides of his head, an injury with a high mortality rate.

“It’s almost impossible to break the temporal bone,” Kevin Holzman told Columbia. “You have to be in a car accident to break it.”

The Knights got the word out at Benedictine College and students across campus joined in the prayer, along with Knights in Iowa. Chris spent two and a half weeks in a coma, but then came to and was soon out of the hospital and eating on his own. He had lost his hearing and received cochlear implants.

“The doctors I have seen for checkups for all these things look at my charts and they try to figure out what happened to me,” Chris told Columbia. “Some said, ‘Wait, how are you even alive? How are you this well off?’”

The severe head trauma could easily have left Chris significantly impaired, in his body and brain. Instead, he returned to classes.

“It is clear that my time here on earth isn’t done,” Chris told the magazine. “God has a bigger purpose for me.”

Photo courtesy Chris Holzman.

Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College is dedicated to transforming culture in America through its mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.