Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Lesley Minervini: Casting Out Fear of Image

On October 27th, the ASU FOCUS team held a day retreat at the All Saints Catholic Newman Center titled, “CASTING OUT FEAR”. The entire retreat was based on 1 John 4:18 which says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear.” Four talks were given casting out fear of loneliness, vocations, image, and forgiveness. Lesley, a junior at ASU and a student missionary that I am blessed to work with, shared her testimony of how Christ has cast out her fear of image.

When Lesley was in seventh grade she was diagnosed with a disease called “alopecia.” Alopecia is an autoimmune disease in which white blood cells (that are supposed to attack dangerous elements in the body) begin to attack the hair follicles because they have mistaken them as something foreign. When they attack, it causes her hair to fall out unpredictably. She was first diagnosed with Alopecia Areata, meaning her hair fell out in small patches, and later it developed into Alopecia Totalis, which is when she completely lost her hair. Since her freshman year of high school, Lesley has worn wigs, and continues to do so because Alopecia comes back in repetitive cycles. Lesley has written a book about her experience, titled “Falling Out”. The book describes the various situations she has struggled with and overcome. She talks about how each difficult experience has made her stronger, and how she now views alopecia as a blessing from God, rather than a disease. Her purpose of writing the book is to inspire those who experience or have experienced Alopecia, cancer patients preparing for chemotherapy, and anyone who battles with their own insecurity. She hopes her witness of how Christ has worked in her life can allow others to see their true beauty as well.

You can listen to Lesley's talk given at the retreat here: 
-Lesley Minervini: Casting Out Fear of Image - Part 1
-Lesley Minervini: Casting Out Fear of Image - Part 2

You can listen to a talk Lesley gave to middle and high school girls here:
-Lesley Minervini: Bella Vera Talk

In her book, Lesley describes a powerful experience in Eucharistic adoration when she encountered Christ in a very real way. This encounter allowed her to see the splendor in her value as a daughter of God and to find peace in her disease. In this moment, Christ cast out her fear of image. Here is an excerpt from her book describing this experience:

"He pointed at the water in front of me, signaling for me to look. I looked at my reflection. "Nothing too special," I thought. Jesus then gently held my face with both of hands, turning my head toward Him. He gazed into my eyes, and then, slowly, moved His hands to my hair. I hadn't realized it until then, but I had my wig on. He grabbed each edge of the wig and slowly pulled it off. He kissed my forehead and said His first words to me. 
It's okay," He smiled. He motioned for me to look again into the water. This time I took a deep breath, and peered into the water, recognizing my reflection again. But this time, I had a bald head with a couple patchy areas. It doesn't sound beautiful, but it was. I felt the prettiest I ever had in my entire life."

Beautiful Lesley

Lesley sharing her testimony

Following Lesley's talk

A tattoo Lelsey got after learning about Blessed Chiara Badano
"Chiara kept her spirits up, even when the harsh chemotherapy for her bone cancer caused her beloved hair to fall out. When a lock of her hair would fall, Chiara would simply offer it all to God saying, 'For You, Lord.'

Lesley's book cover
Check out Lesley's book, Falling Out, on Amazon here!

I am so grateful for the gift of Lesley and her beautiful witness as a disciple of Christ on the campus of Arizona State University. Please keep Lesley in your prayers as she continues to fearlessly live for the Lord.

God bless,



  1. Soo many young women don't know their true beauty in Christ's eyes, I used to be one of them. I think her witness is a gift for every girl even those with full heads of hair who struggle to know their worth as a daughter of God. What a BEAUTIFUL testimony. Thank you for sharing it with us all!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing! Her story is so beautiful and encouraging! "For you, Lord!" I'm planning on buying her book now!

    1. So glad you are going to read her book! :)