In the first part of this essay, we considered the heroic lives of virtue and acts of martyrdom of the ten men and women who are scheduled to be canonized by Pope Francis on Sunday, May 15, 2022. The names of these blesseds are: Cesar de Bus (d. 1607), Lazarus Devasahayam Pillai (d. 1742), Marie Rivier (d. 1838), Luigi Maria Palazzolo (d. 1886), Maria Francesca of Jesus Rubatto (d. 1904), Charles de Foucauld (d. 1916), Maria of Jesus Santocanale (d. 1923), Maria Dominica Mantovani (d. 1934), Titus Brandsma (d. 1942), and Giustino Maria Russolillo (d. 1955).
Only God’s grace can explain how these ten blesseds displayed such Christ-like virtue in the difficult circumstances of their lives. But their miracles didn’t end with their deaths. Since the date that these ten women and men were declared blesseds, ten miraculous and inexplicable healings have been investigated and attributed to their intercession.
In 2016, a young woman from Salerno, Italy, was suffering from a severe case of antibiotic-resistant meningitis. Doctors expected her to die from a cerebral hemorrhage. Instead, after others begged for her healing through the intercession of Blessed Cesar de Bus, she recovered completely.
The Catholics of India are very devoted to the eighteenth-century martyr, Blessed Lazarus Devasahayam Pillai. So when a pregnant woman was told that her twenty-week-old unborn child had died in utero, she prayed for Lazarus to intercede from Heaven. The child was born healthy.
In 2015 in the Philippines, an unborn baby in the twelfth week of pregnancy was diagnosed with hydrops, a condition of severe swelling that should have been fatal. Prayers to Blessed Marie Rivier for God’s healing of the child were answered, and a healthy baby girl was born on September 6, 2015.
A religious sister from the order that Blessed Luigi Palazzolo founded was taken to the hospital in late 2015. She was suffering from multiple problems: diverticular disease of the colon, an intestinal perforation with an abscess, sepsis, multiple organ failure, and septic shock. The doctors sent her home to die. But all the members of her community begged their founder to intercede. The night after her return from the hospital, she called for the nurse on duty, asked for a drink of water, and then rapidly and completely recovered.
Blessed Maria Francesca of Jesus Rubatto died in Uruguay, where she is still remembered by her religious community. In 2000, a young man of Colonia, Uruguay, was in a devastating car accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury and brain damage. While in a coma, people prayed for Blessed Maria Francesca’s intercession. The young man recovered, inexplicably free of the dire neurological outcomes expected for someone who had suffered such severe injuries.
Late in the day on November 30, 2016, a twenty-six-year-old carpenter was working on a construction site, fell fifty feet to the ground, and was impaled on a pew. How did this young man survive such a serious fall? How did the piece of wood that impaled him miss all of his vital organs? How did he recover without any physical or psychological complications? The Church’s investigation noted that the man’s fall occurred a few hours short of the 100th anniversary of Blessed Charles de Foucauld’s death (December 1, 1916); that a French parish dedicated to the martyr prayed immediately for the young man’s recovery; and that an entire spiritual family devoted to de Foucauld’s spirituality had been praying for his intercession for a year in anticipation of that anniversary. It did not escape anyone’s notice that the recipient of this miracle was and is still not a believer in God. Who would Blessed Charles, a famous playboy-turned-priest, help from Heaven if not someone who, like him, experienced life as an agnostic?
A young Italian married woman was diagnosed with multiple conditions, including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, myasthenia gravis, and an auto-immune syndrome which caused her to be infertile. She inexplicably became pregnant twice and gave birth to two healthy children in 2017 and 2019. How did she explain these unexpected but happy events? The intercession of Blessed Maria of Jesus Santocanale.
In 2011 in Bahia Blanca, Argentina, a twelve-year-old girl, who had been born with spina bifida and was a paraplegic, was rushed to the hospital. She was experiencing convulsions, cardiac arrest, and respiratory failure. The attending doctor had been a witness at a miraculous healing through the intercession of Blessed Maria Dominica Mantovani in 1999 (specifically, the miracle that earned her the title of “Blessed”), so he was inspired to pray for Blessed Maria Dominica’s intercession for this young girl. He also asked others to pray and applied a relic of the blessed to the girl. By the next day, the girl had improved dramatically, and she was able to return to normal life soon afterward.
One of Blessed Titus Brandsma’s religious brothers, a Carmelite priest living in Palm Beach, Florida, was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma of the lymph nodes. This malignant and invasive cancer should have killed him. But through the intercession of the Dutch martyr, that priest received a complete and lasting healing from melanoma, a healing that still persisted fifteen years later.
A young religious brother from Blessed Giustino Russolillo’s Vocationist order was taken to the hospital and was suffering from prolonged epileptic seizures. He was intubated because of acute respiratory failure and was in a coma. On April 21, 2016, he woke up from his coma, improved rapidly, and was released from the hospital twelve days later with no side effects.
After thorough investigations, the Church recognized all these events as miraculous because each sick person’s healing was found to be sudden, complete, lasting, and not scientifically explainable.
But the purpose of this litany of medical miracles is not to make us think of saints as miracle factories to be used at will. And, just as obviously, the saints themselves were not the source of these healings; these people were healed by God, through the intercession of the human beings (now in Heaven) who loved and trusted Him while on earth.
Just like the saints, we can trust God when we are confronted with tragedies that frighten and bewilder us: infertility, serious accidents, terminal diagnoses, and even ordinary difficulties. Perhaps God permits such joyful and inexplicable healings to remind us that these holy men and women placed all their trust in Him during their lifetimes—and we are called to do the same today.
If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!