LAKE OSWEGO — “I was healed by love,” says Dr. Grace Jazrawi from her office at Holy Family Catholic Clinic. Jazrawi recalls the power of her college friends’ love in bringing her out of darkness. “After that, I realized I wanted to be able to do that for people. I wanted to be able to love people and help heal them.”

Her darkness began when Jazrawi’s friend committed suicide in high school. She was left feeling completely alone. What followed for the not-yet doctor was deep difficulty. It wasn’t until she attended college at Rutgers University that she formed new friendships and her healing began.

Jazrawi grew up the oldest of four girls in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. She was into sports, captaining her lacrosse and soccer teams.

“I was the typical oldest,” says Jazrawi. “If I got a B+, I cried.”

Jazrawi’s parents were Polish American. Her grandfather even founded the Polish Cultural Foundation in New Jersey. And so the New Jersey native encountered many Polish traditions in her youth: going to Polish delis, wearing Polish cultural dress, attending the Polish Day parade. She and her sisters were taught to work hard for what they want. Her family never missed Mass. Ever.

“We were always in the front row,” recalls Jazrawi. The family would get there at least 20 minutes early. Her father would be wearing a suit and she and her sisters would all be wearing matching dresses.

“Family was the most important thing,” she says, recounting going to her father’s laundromats on Saturday morning to collect money.

Jazrawi and her sisters attended the small Catholic school attached to their parish and her mother helped start the parish’s Moms and Tots group.

“We grew up in a very Catholic family,” she says. It was formative.

After becoming a mother herself, Jazrawi realized how much her parents did for her and her sisters.

“We were spoiled but not in a ‘you can have anything you want’ way but in a ‘we love you’ way,” says the doctor.

Jazrawi took her passion for healing through medical school in Chicago and her residency in Newark, New Jersey. She started volunteering on Helping Hands Medical Missions through the Legion of Christ. She went on missions to the Amazon, Mexico and Ghana. It was in the Amazon that she met the priest who would become a strong mentor for her, Legion of Christ Father John Hopkins.

“We were in the middle of the jungle and he was doing a Mass,” recalled Jazrawi. “I still remember him holding up the Eucharist. I’d never seen anyone look at the Eucharist with the same reverence Father John did.”

Through her ministry with the Legion of Christ in New York City, she became acquainted with the Order of Malta. She met her future husband, Saad Jazrawi, at an Order of Malta event there. Saad, who worked as a gastroenterologist in Portland, proposed a year later and Jazrawi relocated to Portland.

Jazrawi was among the three doctors who founded the Holy Family Catholic Clinic in Lake Oswego. The clinic aims to provide patients with Christ-centered, life-affirming care. Most of the team is Catholic.

A portion of Jazrawi’s job involves consulting with patients using NaPro technology, which uses fertility awareness as a vital sign in treating medical issues.

“I feel so rewarded just to be able to have the opportunity to be able to talk to someone about this,” said Jazrawi. “I feel completely fulfilled.”

— Sarah Wolf