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Miracle in Lourdes

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I sat by my mother, chatting over coffee that morning as so many others. I blessed this time with her, but I also worried.

For over twenty years, Mom had struggled with a sugar/adrenal condition that depleted her energy. This illness had begun with a first scary crisis. As a young teen, I remember her stretched across the bed, gray, ice cold to the touch, while a friend called an ambulance.

Fear frozen, I breathed a sigh of relief when she came back to us late that day, worn, exhausted but recovering. She and I now faced years of doctors’ visits that, eventually, taught her to manage her condition.

Sweet, yet iron-willed, Mom went about life, energy never plentiful, the dark circles around her eyes permanent. At times, there were minor and not-so-minor crises.

This day, at breakfast, as I inspected her face, I cringed at the sallow, mustardy tone of her skin, the usual for her. Cancer had been ruled out, but I so wished to see her rosy and vibrant.

Lourdes SantuaryAnd then, one year, we went to Lourdes as a family.

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Lourdes. How to describe a place that exudes healing?

To begin, there is the quaint town, and the magnificent shrine erected over the grotto of the apparitions of the Blessed Mother to young Bernadette Soubirous.  The whole ensemble is “encrusted” into fairy-like scenery of mountain-peeks, complete with an ancient castle.  Lourdes is a feast for the pilgrim’s eyes.

Driving through the streets to the hotel, one senses something utterly different about this town. There is this non-frenzy, this non-rush, this peace.

And then you can’t wait to visit the grotto. The fact that Mary was here, exerts an irresistible magnetism. You drop your bags at the hotel room, and you walk, as everything is at walking distance.

Our Lady of Lourdes StatueAnd you are not disappointed. As you look at the large natural grotto, up on the rock face, at the life-size statue of the Virgin, you marvel that such a “niche” could only have been divinely fashioned, from the beginning of time, for exactly such a purpose.

And you sit and pray. And you watch as other pilgrims, many on wheel chairs gently pushed by volunteers, pray, and light candles. Somehow, you feel this place is “extra” close to Our Lady’s heart and ear. So you pray some more.

Underneath the grotto of the apparitions flows the miraculous fountain that Bernadette dug with her own hands, at the request of Our Lady. This fountain, now channeled, supplies thousands of gallons daily for both pilgrims to take home, or to wash in the bath houses.

The day after we arrived, Mom, a sister and I were standing in line to take one such dip. The men in the family were taking their baths in the men’s section.

Everything is done with the utmost privacy, propriety and care. What an experience! The water feels like “melted ice”, and with the help of charitable volunteers, one is fully immersed.

That night, as we gathered around our hotel table enjoying delicious French fare, we bubbled with natural and spiritual joy. Everybody talked of the days’ experiences, specially that “ice-cold bath!”

And then I saw it.

My mother, glowing pink like a freshly picked rose…a spark in her eyes, a lilt in her voice, a bounce in her attitude. And there and then I knew she had been healed.

And she was. She never lacked energy like she had before. She was given a new life. And that color, that sallow, sickly color–gone.

Lourdes - Candle light prayerOurs is not an officially recognized miracle. Though beginning with the cure of Catherine Latapie in 1858, there are 7,000 claimed cures documented at Lourdes, only 69 cases are officially recognized. 

The Catholic Church is stringent when it comes to declaring a healing officially miraculous and submits such a claim to the most rigorous medical examiners, and Church authorities.

Still, besides these recorded and officially approved cases, there are thousands upon thousands of personal claims to physical and emotional healings, as well as graces and favors granted, which though not formally “stamped” are, nonetheless, personally cherished and recorded.

I like to think ours is one of these. I know Mom was healed. She knows it. We all know it. And it’s enough for us.


By Andrea F. Phillips

 

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DAILY QUOTE for February 24, 2019

God wishes to be served to the last breath, to the exhaustio...

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February 24

God wishes to be served
to the last breath, to the exhaustion of the last drop of strength,
and He multiplies our capacities for suffering and doing
so that our dedication may reach the extreme limit
of the unforeseeable, the improbable, the miraculous.
The measure of the love of God is
to love Him without measure, said Saint Francis de Sales.
The measure of fighting for God consists
in fighting without measure, it may be said.

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

  
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SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Praetextatus

Fredegund, mistress of King Chilperic, a murderous woman res...

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St. Praetextatus

Praetextatus became the bishop of Rouen, France, in 549. The thirty-five years during which he occupied the position of bishop were riddled with troubles involving the Frankish monarchy, a result of which was a time of exile for the saint.
Among the players of this political drama was Fredegund, mistress of King Chilperic, a murderous woman responsible for several deaths in the royal family. Fredegund despised Praetextatus and opposed his return from exile, but a council in Rouen overruled her interference and reinstated the holy bishop to his see.

“The time is coming when you shall revisit the place of your exile.” She threatened the saint shortly before his death. “I was a bishop always, whether in exile or out of exile, and a bishop I shall remain; but as for you, you shall not always enjoy your crown.” He said, as he urged the queen to convert.

The wicked queen refused to reform her life, and in 586 as Praetextatus was offering Holy Mass, Fredegund had an assassin stab him under the arm. The mortally wounded bishop managed to drag himself to the altar and receive Holy Communion before he died.

WEEKLY STORY

Holding Hands with The “Gate of Heaven”

Of all the invocations to our Lady, Gate of Heaven is one of...

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Holding Hands with The “Gate of Heaven”


Of all the invocations to our Lady, Gate of Heaven is one of the most beautiful. This title gained a new meaning for me when I arrived for a Fatima home visit at the house of Dominique McGuire and found her in tears. Her mother, Marie Jeannine Michel, a native from Haiti, had suffered a massive heart attack the day before and was now dying.

I was more than happy to take the statue to visit her at Rex Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was painfully clear, when we arrived in the Intensive Care Unit, that this poor soul was reaching the end.

Over the next couple of hours we prayed numerous rosaries, litanies and the prayers for the dying by her bedside. We also struggled to provide the dying women with all the spiritual assistance we could.

As we prayed, the attending nurse, who happened to be Catholic, kept calling local Churches to find a priest who would administer last rites. Whenever she entered the room to care for Mrs. Michel she would join in the responses to the Hail Mary. Overwhelmed by the scene, she exclaimed, “I hope when I am dying someone will bring the statue to visit me and pray the rosary.”

Moments before the priest arrived, Dominique asked me if I had an extra scapular for her mother. I did not. As the priest administered the last rites I scurried from the room in search of this precious sacramental, only to find I was the only person wearing one. Mrs. Michel was in much more need of it than me, so with the help of a doctor we temporarily removed her oxygen mask and placed my scapular around the dying woman’s neck. Dominique then took her Miraculous Medal and pinned it on to the scapular.

The most moving part of this visit occurred when Mrs. Michel opened her eyes and showed signs she wanted to speak. When they removed the oxygen mask, Dominique told her mother, in their native tongue, that “Momma Mary” was in the room.

Since Mrs. Michel seemed to be already looking into eternity, with a type of “fog of death” in her gaze, I carried the statue over next to her bed. Surprisingly she reached up and took hold of our Lady’s hands and held on for some moments. The oxygen mask was then replaced as the nurse administered morphine to deaden the pain she was experiencing.

Mrs. Michel died at 6:00 AM the following morning with Dominique praying beside her bed.

While the America Needs Fatima home visitation program is a very rewarding apostolate, nothing on earth compares to the satisfaction of a visit like this. A person going through such a moving ordeal, however, could naturally ask, “Was there something more we could have done?”

In the case of Mrs. Michel, the answer is a resounding no. She received the last rites of Holy Mother Church, was clothed in the brown Scapular, and was almost continuously surrounded by the melodious sound of the Angelic Salutation.

Hours before she passed into eternity, Mrs. Michel also had the grace to hold hands with She who truly is the Gate of Heaven.

By: Norman Fulkerson

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Of all the invocations to our Lady, Gate of Heaven is one of the most beautiful. This title had a new meaning for me when I arrived for a Fatima home visit at the house of Dominique McGuire and found her in tears.

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