Home Ministry Spotlight Honoring the Legacy of His Beloved Wife; Joe Silva Shares Marianne’s Story,...

Honoring the Legacy of His Beloved Wife; Joe Silva Shares Marianne’s Story, Her Hope, and Her Prayer

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By Tom Campisi

Joe Silva is the vice president of Legacy Minded Men. On a regular basis, Joe and the ministry’s founder, Joe Pellegrino, post videos on social media and lead a movement that seeks to “transform lives by engaging, equipping, and encouraging men to build a Christ-centered legacy.”

In a typical week, Joe Silva, of Wayne, NJ, also shares heart-felt messages that are always tagged: #mariannesstory, #marianneshope, and #mariannesprayer. Marianne is his beloved wife, who died, unexpectedly, of a brain aneurysm on August 7, 2021. She was 52-years old. And she was a legacy-minded woman.

The last six months have been trying for Joe and his three young-adult children, Holly, Ashley, and Joe, Jr., but he has an unshakeable faith in the Lord, and a community of family and friends who have provided abundant grace and support. As he navigates the waves of mourning and grief, he is determined to talk about the impact Marianne had on this earth, and reach those who need a word in season—whether it’s husbands and wives who seek a stronger marriage, believers who have grown lukewarm in their faith, or those who have not trusted Jesus Christ as their savior.

Marianne’s Story

On July 19, 2021, Marianne Silva suffered a brain aneurysm. For 19 days, as she was on life support at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson, Joe, family, and friends interceded for healing. Word quickly spread on social media, and suddenly, thousands of people all over the world were also praying. On multiple occasions, prayer and worship vigils were held outside Marianne’s hospital window and was also live-streamed. Those who knew Marianne would talk about her strong faith in Christ, and a multitude of others, who never knew her personally, were also praying and encouraged by how she fervently believed.

“The nurses stationed the bed by the window and I put the phone by her ear,” Joe said. “People were singing and praying outside the hospital.”

“The Lord was with me and the family. He comforted us and helped us see that regardless of whether Marianne walked out of the hospital or not, she was going to be healed one way or another, here on earth or in Heaven.”

Soon after Marianne passed, Joe somehow summoned the strength to preach a salvation message at a gathering at his home that was also streamed on Facebook. He also shared the gospel message at her funeral.

“There’s nothing more I would want then to have Marianne here with me. She was my best friend for 31 years. I can’t understand why it happened this side of heaven. I have to believe God is going to use this for a greater cause…The Lord showed me that her life had and would continue to impact so many others around the world.”

Joe Pellegrino commended Joe Silva for his willingness to be a vessel that the Lord has used, despite his own grief journey.

“In his extreme pain, he has not once missed an opportunity to share the love of Christ with anyone around him,” he said.

At Marianne’s wake, at Grace Church in Clifton, people waited in line for hours to pay their respects. Her funeral was a testament to a woman of God who impacted many with her compassion, witness, and passion for prayer.

“I was and am the spiritual leader of our family, but Marianne was the one who was constantly praying around the clock for me, the kids, our family, friends and all others. She would pray with each of the kids individually and would go into their rooms after they fell asleep to pray over them. The entire house was her prayer room.”

Marianne Grace (Mitchell) Silva, who was raised in a Christian home in Lynchburg, Virginia, is survived by her parents, Nancy and Dr. Daniel Mitchell, and siblings Martha Brown, Melanie Acoff, and Danny Mitchell, and their spouses, Craig Brown, Tim Acoff, and Michelle Mitchell. Dr. Daniel Mitchell is a former professor of theological studies at Liberty University Seminary.

“Marianne studied God’s Word and lived it out in every way possible,” Joe said. “She is (was) a true Christ follower and committed to a life of serving and obeying Him in all areas of life. Her Bible was her manual for life. It did not collect dust.”

“She had a very close relationship with her Grandma Bowers (her mom’s mother), who was known as a prayer warrior. I know she had a big influence on why Marianne made prayer such a priority.”

Joe Silva was a football star at Clifton (NJ) High School. After high school, Joe had college football options, but he recently recalled how his high school coach, Jack Jones, told him that he would meet his future wife at Liberty University. When Joe met Marianne, also a Liberty student, it was love at first sight. He met her in December of 1989, while she was working in a mall in Lynchburg. Their official first date was January 18, 1990. Exactly two years to that date, Joe and Marianne were engaged in New York City’s Central Park. They were married on November 14, 1992.

Marianne’s Hope

Joe and Marianne’s strong faith in the Lord and love for each other was an example of Ecclesiastes 4:2: “A three-fold cord is not easily broken.” Marianne’s steadfast devotion to Christ was evident on a daily basis.

“She always spent her alone time with God. I can remember how often I would come downstairs early in the morning and there she would be with a cup of coffee and her Bible, reading and praying to the Lord.”

“We always made sure we had our devotional time as a couple, even when I was away on a business trip. If we missed our time, she would make sure we did a quick devotion over the phone before the day would end. The Lord was her number one priority and she treated her time with God like breathing air and eating food, it was a must.”

Joey, Holly, Ashley, Marianne, and Joe

“Faith, family and friends—she always made sure to be a servant to all people, even strangers. She was a Proverbs 31 wife and woman… People knew there was something different about her.”

Joe Pellegrino said, “Marianne was a unique individual whose aura was pure joy! She always had a big smile and encouraging word for those in her presence.”

Marianne and Joe’s eldest child, Holly Silva, has a significant social media following on TikTok (@hollysilvamusic) and Instagram (@hollyannesilva). On social media, she often sings and shares Bible devotions. Like her dad, Holly encourages others with the hope she has in the Lord, even in the midst of her grief.

“Every time I hear about my mom, I learn how good she was at making people feel seen. And it challenges me to want to do the same,” Holly said in one of her posts.

Another post focused on the mourning process.

“It’s important to talk about grief and loss,” she said. “Most of the time, people don’t know how to comfort someone who is going through it. For me, I just want to talk about my mom, how much she meant to me, and how much joy and light she brought to my life.”

That joy and light, and the faith of Joe and his family, has touched many people—far and wide—since Marianne entered glory.

“I was getting messages from around the world because of what they were witnessing via the posts on social media, that Marianne’s life was impacting them for the better,” Joe said. “This was such an encouragement then. It still is today and will be for years to come.”

One man wrote: “Your post captured my attention and I was impacted by your faith and love. I prayed for you and Marianne and told your story to my wife and to my men’s group. Hundreds of people around the world prayed for you all. But, in me, something changed. Now, my wife and I read scripture each morning and pray together. You may not ever understand why you are going through this valley, but my prayer is that little stories like mine will slowly build an understanding of why and you can know for certain all things work for good.”

Another man sent this message: “Joe, thank you for your faithfulness. I can’t imagine what you and your family are going thru, it breaks my heart. Know this – Marianne’s passing and your faithfulness and trust in God has impacted thousands of people, including me.”

A woman, who said she “recently left an abusive marriage,” said: “Although I’m sorry that you must go through this pain, I do want to let you know how much yours’ and Marianne’s story inspires me. It’s God letting me know what He meant a marriage to be. I pray that a marriage such as yours is in my future. Please keep sharing. You are touching so many people in your pain…”

Today, as Joe Silva looks back on the last six months, he is very thankful for family and friends who have stood by his side and stood in the gap for him.

“It was and is unbelievable. I can’t believe the outpouring of love and support, even to this day,” Joe said. “It has warmed my heart and has encouraged me beyond imagination. I thank the Lord for so many family, friends and strangers that have touched me in such a way that keeps me moving forward.”

“That support was especially evident on Dec. 1, 2021, Marianne’s 53rd birthday celebration and Bible study at the home of close friends, Ronnie and Laurie Aoisa.

Joe’s mom, Joan Silva, was there along with his sister and brother-in-law JoAnn and Les Wilson, their children, and his brother and sister-in-law, John and Michele Silva, along with their children. Marianne’s mom and dad, and the Mitchell family, joined via Zoom.

The gathering, which included several friends in-person and via zoom, also culminated the end of a weekly Bible study series based on the book Heaven: Biblical Answers to Common Questions, by Randy Alcorn. The Bible study was led by Joe’s brother, John.

In a TikTok post, Holly Silva said the Bible study on heaven has a had a healing effect as they “learned about what my mom is experiencing in heaven and what we have to look forward to.”

The evening ended with a video of Marianne that was compiled by Ashley Silva. “Ashley is very creative,” Joe said. “In May of 2021, she graduated from Liberty with an interior design degree. We were blessed that Marianne attended graduation. Ashley is always decorating in the house. The last project that Ashely and Marianne completed was renovating our kitchen.”

For Joe, Jr. (Joey), many recent memories of his mom also have a kitchen theme. Joey loves to cook and make homemade pizza. Also known as “Joey the Pizzaiolo” on social media, Joe, Sr., Marianne, and Joey would often travel to New York and other cities and towns and rate the pizza at each location.

Marianne’s Prayer

Marianne Silva

Today, Joe Silva, despite his heartbreak and the questions he may have, is determined to share Marianne’s story and the Good News of the gospel. In addition to his work with Legacy Minded Men, he is also a consultant for ministries and businesses.

“There are so many people who are lost and need the Lord,” Joe said. “What we have experienced with the suffering and loss of Marianne has given us a platform to help reach the masses for Christ. Life is short and what we do with our time here matters. The most important thing we can do is to die to ourselves and live entirely for Christ in all areas of our lives.” 

On the intro of her Facebook page, Marianne paraphrased the popular Casting Crowns song, Nobody:

I am just a NOBODY who wants to tell EVERYBODY about SOMEBODY who can change ANYBODY!

“Marianne lived for Christ by loving Him with all her heart, she loved her neighbor as herself and was a servant to all,” Joe said. “She would want people, more than anything, to have what she has—and that is eternal life through the gift of salvation by the blood of Jesus Christ.”

And that’s quite a legacy.

Legacy Minded Men recently launched a new initiative, Legacy Minded Women. For more information, visit www.legacymindedwomen.org.

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