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The Devil in the Convent Header

 

"I will not leave you in peace until you leave the convent"

(Threat from the devil to Maria Dien) 

 

The Devil in the Convent  is not the title of a soap opera.

It is the report of a real case of collective infestation and possession, narrated by the exorcist who performed the exorcisms and expelled the demons: Dom Luis de Cooman M.E.P., former bishop for Vietnam.

He published a book with this title, where he describes the extraordinary action of the demon in a Convent in Vietnam, where he was a missionary.

 

A pagan asks the demons to take a girl from the Convent

The facts of this case occurred between 1924 and 1926, in Phat-Diêm, the then French Protectorate of Tonquim (today, Vietnam), in the convent and novitiate of the Sisters, Lovers of the Holy Cross.

With God's permission, the demon started to act in this convent. It started with Minh, a pagan, who had fallen in love with a young Catholic, Marie Dien. The girl wanted to be a nun and joined the Congregation of the Sisters Lovers of the Cross.

Upset, Minh went to the famous Buddhist pagoda in Den Song and asked the genies (in truth, the demons) to make the girl abandon her religious vocation to marry him. As a result, the demon started to infest the convent, trying to make life impossible, and trying to force Marie Dien to leave or to get expelled by her companions, who perceived the girl was at the center of this diabolic action.

 

Spanked by the demon

In spite of all the physical and moral torments from the demon, the young novice not only remained firm in her vocation, but used them for her sanctification.

The first extraordinary manifestations of the demon were attempts at personal infestation: nightly voices, and stones flying through the air, which interrupted the novices' sleep. At times, Marie Dien was beaten by an invisible hand all night long. This took place in mid-September 1924.

The nuns called Fr. Louis de Cooman, a young missionary to whom the convent was subordinated, and informed him of the events. At first, he did not believe the stories. Nevertheless, he took prudential measures, forbidding the nuns to talk with the mysterious voices or amongst themselves about the strange happenings. He hoped the phenomena was of natural origin or some nervous disturbances of the novices, and would soon cease.

But things became more and more serious. On the night of the 21st to the 22nd of September, while the demon was tormenting Marie Dien – an occurrence witnessed by all the novices – one of the novices took a crucifix and gave it to her to kiss; astonishingly, the image of Christ disappeared and was only found on the following day.

 

Stones hurled to the roof, amazing noises, ghosts

Almost every night, a mysterious and frightening shower of heavy objects – stones, bricks, sticks, potatoes, empty bottles, etc. – would hit the convent.

More impressive yet were the noises that lasted for two years: bird chirps, horse whinnies, car horns, boat sirens, dilacerating weeping, sardonic laughs, tooth gritting, door knocks, drum beats, etc.

All this made the nights terrible and submitted the young nuns' nerves to a tremendous trial. Without the help of divine grace, they would not have resisted: either they would have abandoned the convent, or they would have gone crazy.

The demon had told the Sister Marie Dien: "Someone has come to my pagoda (Den Song) to ask me to make you return to the world; I will not leave you in peace until you leave the convent".

And then there were the ghostly apparitions -- fantastic beings of extraordinary size and terrifying aspect. Sometimes, the demon took on the appearance of their confessor and gave bewildering advices to the young novices. What saved the nuns on these occasions was to fulfill their duties of obedience and report everything to their superiors, which would undo the snares of the demon.

 

Possession affects some nuns

One night, the demon lifted Marie Dien in the air and said he would take her to her lover's house. She was carried for 50 feet to the end of the novices' dormitory, where she was able to kiss a relic of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, which she had with her, and the Evil One dropped her. She fell to the ground, but was uninjured.

Little by little, several novices also started to show strange signs of demonic infestation and even of demonic possession. Showing unusual agility for girls without any physical training, they would jump to the top of branches on very high trees. Or, they would lie down on pencil thin branches, which normally would bend and break under their weight. But nothing would happen. To make them come down, it was necessary to pray intensely and to sprinkle them with holy water.

Another time, one of the novices, in the presence of Fr. Louis de Cooman, jumped up from a stand still position and grabbed the ceiling beams, which were ten feet from the floor. She then lifted herself up with her arms, crossed one of the beams and lay down on it, where she stayed for a long time, finally jumping to the ground. Although the noise of the fall was very strong, she got up laughing and suffered no harm.

 

The demon spread discord in the community

Another trial – maybe the most terrible of all – was the discord that the demon sowed in the community: the nuns developed a deep antipathy for Marie Dien, who was not expelled from the convent due to her superior's prudence and perception of the diabolic cause of the infestation. In fact, after a while this antipathy ceased completely and the nuns recognized they had been unfair to Marie Dien.

After spending some time studying the situation, the superiors charged Fr. Louis de Cooman to perform the exorcisms to free the nuns from this demonic infestation or possession.

 

Exorcism, novenas and penitence

In all, nine novices were exorcised. Each of them had to be dragged by force to the place where the exorcisms were to take place.

Gradually, thanks to the exorcisms and to novenas, personal sacrifices, penitence, etc., the possessions diminished and, in 1926, they ceased completely. The personal and local infestations lasted for a few more years, but they also ceased completely.

 

Pious life and holy death of Marie Catherine Dien

In spite of all the demon's efforts, not one of the postulants or novices left the convent; later on, three of them abandoned the religious life, but for other reasons.

As for Sister Marie Catherine Dien, she not only persevered in religious life, but received mystical gifts: colloquies with the Divine Savior, and especial and visible assistance from her patroness, Saint Catherine of Siena. In the last years of her life, she was Mistress of Novices and guided many nuns in their religious life. She died a holy death on August 16, 1944.

 


 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for July 24, 2021

It is easy to infuse a most fervent devotion into others, ev...

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July 24

 

It is easy to infuse
a most fervent devotion into others, even in a short time;
but the great matter is
– to persevere.

St. Philip Neri


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Charbel Makhlouf

Multiple times, he successfully lit an oil lamp which was fi...

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St. Charbel Makhlouf

Youssef Antoun Makhlouf was born in the village of Bekka Kafra in Lebanon on May 8, 1828 and was one of five children born to Antoun Zarrour Makhlouf and Brigitta Chidiac. His father was a mule driver who died when Youssef was only three years old, leaving his widow to bring up their children alone.

Although Brigitta was left nearly destitute, she reserved a profoundly religious atmosphere in their home and instilled in her children a deep spirit of piety. Because of this fidelity, Youssef became unusually devoted and inclined to prayer and solitude at a very young age. He was greatly attracted to the life and spirituality of hermits; and as a young boy tending his family’s small flock, he would often go to a nearby grotto where he had erected a little shrine to the Holy Mother of God and would spend his whole day there in prayer.

When he was twenty-three years old, Youssef, feeling the call to the religious life, left his home and family to join the Lebanese Maronite Order at the Monastery of Our Lady in Marfouq. Here he began his formation as a monk before later being transferred to the Monastery of St. Maron near Beirut. There he received the religious habit of the Maronite monk and took the name Charbel. He made his final profession as a religious brother on November 1, 1853 – he was twenty-five years old.

Brother Charbel immediately began his studies for the priesthood under the instruction of Father Nimattullah Kassab, who was also later declared a saint by the Church. Charbel was ordained on July 23, 1859, following which he returned to the Monastery of St. Maron where he lived a life of great austerity. In 1875, he was granted permission by his superiors to live a solitary life in the Hermitage of Sts. Peter and Paul, which was under the jurisdiction of the monastery; and there he resided for the remaining twenty-three years of his life until his death on Christmas Eve, 1898.

St. Charbel is renowned for his many miracles both during his life and after his death. His most famous miracle – which was also his first – occurred when, multiple times, he successfully lit an oil lamp which was filled with water. He is also credited with many healing miracles.

After his death, he was interned at the Monastery of St. Maron, now a famous pilgrimage site. His tomb was often witnessed surrounded by a dazzling light, and to this day his remains are incorrupt and an unexplainable blood-like fluid flows from his body. He was canonized on December 9, 1977, by Pope Paul VI, who held him up as an example to help us understand “in a world, largely fascinated by wealth and comfort, the paramount value of poverty, penance and asceticism, to liberate the soul in its ascent to God.”

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protest...

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Walk to Conversion

In September, I brought the statue of Our Lady of Fatima to the home of Mr. John Black and his family in Kings City, California.  John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protestantism: about thirteen years ago he was visiting one of the 21 Spanish missions in California (though these are holy sites, they also serve as tourist attractions.)

“Who is this Junipero Serra anyways?”  he asked, as the tour guide shared the history of the mission. “Well,” the guide responded, “you are standing on his grave!”  Surprised, John looked down and read inscription on the stone. Sure enough, Blessed Father Junipero Serra was buried right there. “I became electrified,” John told me, “I had to learn more about this man and about the missions.”  The more he studied Blessed Serra, the founder of the first nine missions, the more impressed he became, and he decided to travel on-foot to all 21 missions. 

With the blessing of his wife, now left at home with their two infant sons, John left for his solo expedition, taking with him a single backpack, the bible and little money.  He told me that every mission he visited he felt the presence of someone receiving him, even if the mission was empty. He felt this ambiance in the missions so serene and uplifting, and began to realize it was the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament that made him feel so at home.

At one point, John collapsed from exhaustion near a mission run by Franciscans, who kindly hosted him for the night. Before he left the next day, one of the friars gave him a first-class relic of Blessed Serra. Since he was Protestant, John did not know what a relic was, but not wanting to appear rude, he accepted it. Not long after he left the Franciscans, John became lost in the wilderness in the middle of the night. Through his exhaustion and fear he heard a voice say, “Let’s help John.” He had the distinct feeling that Blessed Serra was guiding him, and gathered the strength and courage to continue. About six hours later, he stumbled upon the next mission. “It was kind of a miracle,” he said, “I was really lost!”

During his journey, John slowly came to a realization. “I know what you want from me, God,” he thought to himself one day, “you what me to became a Catholic. That is what this is all about!” However, he still had many questions about aspects of Catholicism that have been rejected by his Protestant faith – mainly about the Blessed Mother. Yet, from that point on he received answers to all of his questions, especially his reservations about devotion to Mary: he believed that it was once again Blessed Serra answering him.

With the help of Blessed Serra, one problem after another was resolved in the solitude of his travels. By the time John reached the final mission, he wholly decided to become a Catholic. “I realized that by having devotion to Mary, you love Our Lord even more,” he told me.

John returned home, filled with zeal and enthusiasm for his newfound faith. He shared his astonishing experiences with his wife, and she too converted. “I feel at home in the Catholic church,” John said, “and I have never loved Our Lord Jesus Christ more than I do now.”

by Joseph Ferrara

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John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protestantism: about fourteen years ago he was visiting one of the 21 Spanish missions in California 

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