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Miracle in Lourdes

header - Our Lourdes Miracle

 

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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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for July 5, 2020

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do...

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July 5

 

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.
We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence,
but we rather have those because we have acted rightly.
We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

Aristotle


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Elizabeth of Portugal

Her goodness went as far as raising her husband’s illegiti...

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St. Elizabeth of Portugal

Elizabeth of Portugal known as “The Holy Queen” was born Isabel of Aragon in Zaragoza, Spain, the daughter of King Pedro III of Aragon and Queen Constanza of Naples. She was named after her great aunt, St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

From childhood, having received a most Christian upbringing, she learned to practice self-discipline, mortification of wayward tendencies, the avoidance of sin and the pursuit of virtue, prayer and union with God’s holy will.

Beautiful, talented and good, she was sought in marriage by several European monarchs, and was ultimately betrothed by proxy at the age of thirteen to King Dinis of Portugal.

A year and a half later she arrived in Portugal to assume her responsibilities as queen. Although he was an able ruler, her husband had an irate temper and sinful habits. While he respected and revered his queen, he was unfaithful to her and had several illegitimate children.

Elizabeth bore the conjugal betrayal with exquisite patience and heroic magnanimity, praying continuously for her wayward spouse. She and Dinis had two children: Constanza and Alfonso.

The young queen started her day with Mass and prayer, and then proceeded to see to the governance of her palace. In the free moments she sewed and embroidered with her ladies for the poor, and personally tended to their needs. Afternoons were dedicated to the care of the elderly, the poor or anyone else in want.

Amazingly talented, Elizabeth mastered several languages, sang beautifully, and enjoyed a remarkable understanding of engineering and architecture. She herself designed and oversaw the building of several churches, monasteries and hospitals, developing her own “Elizabethan Style.”

One day while inspecting a construction site, a girl approached and gave her a bouquet of flowers. The queen then distributed the flowers, one to each of the workers saying: “Let’s see if today you will work hard and well for this pay.” The men reverently placed their flower each in his own satchel, only to find, at the end of the day, a gold coin in place of the flower.

In her city Elizabeth built hostels for the poor, a hospital, a house for repentant wayward women, a free school for girls, and a hospice for abandoned children. She built bridges in dangerous places, visited and procured doctors for the ill, and endowed poor girls for the convent or for marriage. She kept a beautiful tiara and wedding dress to lend to poor brides so they could “shine” or their special day. Her goodness went as far as raising her husband’s illegitimate children.

A great devotee of the Immaculate Conception of Mary Most Holy centuries before the dogma was declared; she obtained from the bishop of Coimbra the establishment of the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, which was afterwards observed with great solemnity throughout the whole country.

A constant peacemaker, the holy queen ironed out many a conflict between bellicose rulers and nobles. Twice she reconciled her husband and son, on one occasion, even interposing her person between them in the battlefield.
In the end, Dinis died a most repentant man. In one of his poems he left his ultimate tribute to his ultimate queen:

God made you without peer
In goodness of heart and speech
As your equal does not exist,
My love, my lady, I thus sing:
Had God so wished,
You’d made a great king.  

After her husband’s death, Elizabeth took the habit of a Franciscan Tertiary and retired near a convent of Poor Clares which she had built, dedicating herself to the sick and the poor.

The saintly queen died at age sixty-five invoking Our Lady, and was canonized in 1625 by Pope Urban VIII who had vowed not to canonize anyone during his pontificate. He made the exception for Elizabeth at being promptly healed of a serious illness after praying to her.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

The young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. N...

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A Young Man and His Lady Love

In twelfth century England, a group of young men had gathered and were bragging of their various feats, as young men have done since the beginning of time.

The lively conversation went from archery to sword fighting to horsemanship, each trying to outdo the accomplishments of the others.

Finally, the young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. Not to be outdone by his peers, a noble youth named Thomas declared that he, too, loved a great lady, and was beloved by her.

Thomas of Canterbury meant the most holy Virgin as the object of his affection, but afterwards, he felt some remorse at having made this boast. He did not want to offend his beloved Lady in any way.

Seeing all from her throne in heaven, Mary appeared to him in his trouble, and with a gracious sweetness said to him: "Thomas, what do you fear? You had reason to say that you loved me, and that you are beloved by me. Assure your companions of this, and as a pledge of the love I bear you, show them this gift that I make you."

The gift was a small box, containing a chasuble, blood-red in color. Mary, for the love she bore him, had obtained for him the grace to be a priest and a martyr, which indeed happened, for he was first made priest and afterwards Bishop of Canterbury, in England.

Many years later, he would indeed be persecuted by the king, and Thomas fled to the Cistercian monastery at Pontignac, in France.

Far from kith and kin, but never far from his Lady Love, he was attempting to mend his hair-cloth shirt that he usually wore and had ripped. Not being able to do it well, his beloved queen appeared to him, and, with special kindness, took the haircloth from his hand, and repaired it as it should be done.

After this, at the age of 50, he returned to Canterbury and died a martyr, having been put to death on account of his zeal for the Church.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

The young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. Not to be outdone by his peers, a noble youth named Thomas declared that he, too, loved a great lady, and was beloved by her.

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