Six months after her marriage in 1981, Beverly Barutio of Savannah GA was diagnosed with cancer. Doctors predicted she could live less than a year. She started chemotherapy, but it made her ill so she refused to continue. Since she was Catholic, she decided to rely on her faith. She prayed to God and also to St. Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes. She remembered promising St. Jude that "if I made it, someday I would build a chapel for him." To the amazement of her doctors, her cancer went into total remission. In 1985, after her husband Bill retired, they moved to the tiny village of Trust, NC (30 miles from Asheville) to restore a century-old farmhouse, but soon her unkept promise began to weigh on Beverly. Since Trust is not easy to find, she feared a chapel would stand vacant and be forgotten. "I sat on our front steps many times and prayed," she said, "and God told me, 'Just build it, child. They will come.'" So she did.
"We had no plans," she said. "We just sketched it out on the back of envelopes as we went along." The tiny cedar non-denominational chapel was finished in February, 1992, with a hand-carved wooden sign in front that says, "St. Jude's Chapel of Hope. Stop. Rest. Reflect."
It's open 24 hours a day and anyone seeking Trust can find it. One visitor named Beth remembers the long winding journey up the mountain to Trust. When she found the chapel, she and her friends sat down inside. "I was suddenly overcome with emotion and began to cry," she said. "The air inside felt holy, charged with a sacred spirit of so many who made their hearts vulnerable there. My friends and I sat there for half-an-hour, silent in memory and in supplication to the Saint of Lost Causes and to God.
During its first 12 months, more than 2,000 people visited the chapel. "They come out smiling, or sometimes couples come out holding hands," Beverly said. "That makes me feel good"