Dr. Angeli Maun Akey: Sustained by Hope and Joy


After a year and half of successfully treating COVID-19 patients, Dr. Angeli Maun Akey has seen the good, the bad and the ugly of the pandemic up close and personal. While many in her same situation are worn thin under the crushing stress, she has found hope and joy.

She credits that to a number of things; first among them is prayer.

“During this pandemic, I have taught the Flying Novena to so many medical professionals and patients alike,” she says.

The Flying Novena, made popular by St. Teresa of Calcutta, consists of saying 9 consecutive Memorare prayers of petition with a tenth one in thanksgiving. It has proven a trusted tool with real power. Dr. Akey attests, “Our Lady’s intercession never fails.”

Akey has also become devoted to the Jesus Prayer which she first learned about through the book The Way of the Pilgrim, a Russian Orthodox classic from the 1800s. She has taken to recommending both to her stressed out colleagues and frightened patients.

“‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner’ — I say that under my breath and in the back of my mind all day long, but especially when patients are sick and I feel stressed and insufficient,” she explains. “It puts me in the posture of humility, mercy and trust. It’s hard for me to get upset saying that prayer, especially when things don’t go well.”

Her other go-to prayers include the Holy Spirit prayer, St. Faustina’s simple, “Jesus I trust in You” prayer and Psalm 91, which she prays every morning with her office team. She also regularly seeks out the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist, and believes consecrating herself to Jesus through Mary has been a great source of strength.

As president of the St. Gianna Guild of North Central Florida, she also finds refuge being among her CMA colleagues.

“It’s spiritually uplifting to have healthcare workers who believe in Jesus,” she said. “It makes a difference to be able to share our stories with each other. Our Guild began meeting in person over the summer. Every Wednesday we meet for Mass and Eucharistic Adoration before having our meeting, so it’s always about prayer. On Oct. 16 we celebrated the beautiful White Mass at the Santa Fe Shrine of Our Lady of Leche.”

Fr. Albert Esposito, Dr. Akey’s pastor, blessing her office at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, in which he asked her and the staff to pray Psalm 91 daily.

She recalls another bit of practical advice from St. Teresa of Calcutta: “Mother Teresa says it’s hard to be grateful and unhappy at the same time, so we really need to focus on gratitude.” She believes the pandemic, for all the heartache, has also brought about some good. That includes a refocus on the family, simplified schedules, increased faith, and opportunities for heroic virtue.

“I see families walking in the neighborhood now and I didn’t see them before the pandemic. There has been a strengthening of the nuclear family.”

That has proven true even in her own family. Her son, who was studying abroad, returned due to the pandemic and is completing his MBA while living at home. Since he is quite the chef, she comes home to beautiful, gourmet dinners made by her son. She also gets nightly foot rubs from her husband, Tim, with whom she will be celebrating 25 years of marriage in December. Her family members pray together and are affectionate — all blessings she keeps in mind, especially on hard days. These, along with the healings and miracles she witnesses on a regular basis, are what sustains her with joy.

“Healings have happened that I cannot explain; I only observe and give all the glory to God,” she said. “But it’s the spiritual healings that give me the most joy because when light beats darkness, we are bringing more of God into this world. He truly has ‘set the captives free.’”

In an effort to bring about much needed emotional and spiritual healing, she teaches her patients to practice living in the present moment and reframing their perspective so they can see each struggle as an opportunity to grow and rely on God in a deeper way.

Today, she continues to provide same-day rapid COVID testing at her Gainesville, Florida practice, which has pivoted to 50% telemedicine as a result of the pandemic. She continues to treat COVID patients both unvaccinated and vaccinated with breakthrough cases. Her practice also offers a COVID support group for those who have been injured due to COVID, the vaccines, or pandemic-related anxiety.

She has also published her fourth book, which she co-authored with fellow CMA member Dr. Kathleen O’Neil-Smith. It continues her previous books’ themes of strengthening the immune system to better protect from and fight against COVID and a number of other illness and autoimmune diseases.

“I am a lot less stressed today because I am hopeful. The tools many doctors have been using to treat COVID have been successful. I also know that there are pharmaceuticals on the horizon that will improve our continued treatment protocol. Ultimately, we have to ask ourselves, ‘What do we have control over and what do we not?’ That is where faith steps in and we trust the Lord. Knowing the difference, I can walk confidently. I can be bold today,” she said. “Joy is when my will is aligned with God’s and He is able to use me as an instrument of healing and peace.”