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From Death to Life

“From Death to Life” is an organization dedicated to ending violence through healing and reconciliation between families of victims and those who have caused harm. We offer support groups empowering parents to come to terms with the impact of homicide through emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical healing.

In addition to healing groups, From Death to Life hosts community events that celebrate life, and talks that invite others to witness the healing power of forgiveness and use that vision to heal in their own lives.

From Death To Life was founded by Mary Johnson-Roy in 2005, shortly before she came to forgive Oshea Israel, the young man who took her only son’s life 12 years earlier. She now claims Oshea as her “spiritual son” and together they share their inspiring story of healing and reconciliation in the community.

We are most grateful to the Visitation Sisters of Minneapolis for generously offering the St. Jane House as a home base for our organization.


Mary's Story of Forgiveness

Mary Johnson is the mother of a murdered child, and the founder of From Death to Life. Watch this powerful short video to learn more about her story and the Two Mothers' Healing Groups that she started to provided healing for other mothers.


Two Mothers' Healing Groups

If you are the mother of someone who has been murdered, we welcome and encourage you to join us at St. Jane House from 10am to noon on the first and third Saturdays of the month. Email us to inquire further and learn more before joining us for the first time.


Speaking Engagements

Mary is no longer available for speaking engagements due to her health. If you would like Oshea, Mary's husband Ed, or one of the mothers from the Two Mother's healing groups to speak to your group, email to learn more.

Mary's Current Health Journey

Sadly, in the fall of 2021, Mary was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia. While this news was devastating, Mary perseveres in her faith and continues to co-faciliate the mothers healing groups on Saturday mornings.

In May of 2023, StarTribune columnist Laura Yuen wrote a beautiful story about Mary and her husband Ed, and the community that surrounds and supports them here at the St Jane House.

In September of 2023, NPR's Morning Edition aired a powerful 7-minute StoryCorps piece featuring Mary, Ed, and Oshea about her current health journey

As you can imagine, a disease of this magnitude can create a lot of stress–emotionally, physically, financially. We have launched a Go Fund Me campaign for people to help lighten the burden for Mary and Ed. If you are so inspired, please make a contribution and/or share the campaign with others. Cards of encouragement can also be sent to Mary and Ed at the St Jane House.


Thank you!

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From Death to Life in the Media


Mary's Book: Beyond Belief

Mary's story of forgiveness, as recounted to journalist Ray Richardson, has been published with the title "Beyond Belief" and is available for purchase on Amazon.

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Risking Light Documentary

Mary and Oshea’s story is one of three inspiring stories of forgiveness featured in filmmaker Dawn Mikkelson’s film powerful documentary film Risking Light. Streaming now on Apple TV and Amazon Prime . 



In May 2011,  NPR aired a powerful 

3-minute piece produced by StoryCorps featuring a conversation between

Mary Johnson-Roy and Oshea Israel, the young man who she forgave years after he took her only son's life. StoryCorps returned in August 2023 to revisit the story as part of their 20-year anniversary.


CBS Evening News

On June 7, 2011 CBS Evening News featured Mary and Oshea in an Assignment America piece produced by correspondent Steve Hartman. Here they are seen with Steve and photographer Bob Caccamise on the front steps of Alafia Place, their home in North Minneapolis at the time of the story.


The View & People Magazine

In September of 2011, Mary and Oshea appeared in the Heroes Among Us section of People Magazine.  Following that story, they were interviewed on ABC’s The View by Sherri Shepherd and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.


BBC Radio Documentary

In February 2019, the BBC News World Service featured Mary and Oshea's story in their Heart and Soul radio documentary series. Listen to the 26-minute long program here.

From Death to Life is grateful for your support.

From Death To Life is an entirely volunteer run organization. 100% of donations are used to share our message of hope with families impacted by homicide, making the healing groups available, and hosting community events promoting peace and restorative justice processes. We are grateful to the Visitation Monastery of Minneapolis for generously hosting us at the St Jane House since 2008. At the moment, there is not a way to make a financial contribution to support our work directly, but if you are so inspired, you can make a donation to support the St Jane House, which supports us. Thank you! 

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