Skip to comments.Miracles have a measure
Posted on 10/17/2010 3:25:47 PM PDT by NYer
Father Claude Grou stands in front of a statue of Brother Andre at St. Joseph's Oratory. The humble hero would have been comfortable with canonization, the oratory rector argues, "if this can help people to love St. Joseph better, if this can help people come closer to God."
Before recognizing a saint, the Catholic church says it thoroughly investigates the subject to ensure he or she led a remarkable and exemplary Christian life.
The subject must also have at least two miracles recognized as taking place through his or her intercession. The Vatican says it must confirm that "the act of healing is unexplainable in the light of present medical science."
Brother Andre is said to have performed tens of thousands of miracles. But for the Vatican, it all boiled down to two.
Before he was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1982, the Vatican accepted the story of New Yorker Joseph Audino, who was said to have spontaneously recovered from terminal cancer in 1958 after praying to Brother Andre.
In December 2009, Pope Benedict XVI recognized a second miracle, paving the way for tomorrow's canonization.
The second phenomenon involved a 9-year-old who was cycling when he was struck by a car in 1998, said Father Claude Grou, rector of St. Joseph's Oratory. The boy suffered severe head injuries and his parents were told there was no hope of recovery. Friends of the family prayed at St. Joseph's Oratory, bringing a bottle of "St. Joseph's oil," a medal and a prayer card back to the parents, Grou said.
The oratory distributes more than 100,000 bottles of the oil annually. In his day, Brother Andre offered a bit of oil to the sick from a lamp that was burning in front of a statue of St. Joseph. He would tell them to rub it on their bodies and pray to St. Joseph to heal them.
Soon after the parents of the boy started praying to Brother Andre, "the healing started to come," Grou said. "In a few days, he was no longer in danger of death, and in a few days more, they found he was recovering his faculties; he started to talk."
Today, the man's "health is good and he has no severe after-effects" of the accident, said Grou, who has met the man.
The person's identity has not been revealed, at the request of his family, but there is speculation he will be at the canonization in Rome.
Grou said he respects those who are skeptical about the story of the cured boy.
"Miracles are a question of faith," he said. "If you don't believe, you don't believe that this happened and there's nothing I can do
about it. I can only say that if you believe in medical science, medical science says that there is no scientific explanation for what has happened in this case.
"To make the leap from that statement to the statement that this was a miracle, for me it's a question of our own conviction, our own faith. I respect perfectly people who cannot make that step and who might say, 'Well, there are a lot of things that we could not explain 10 years ago and now we can, and maybe one day we'll be able to explain that.'
"The faith I have that this was a miracle is my faith, and I share it with a lot of people, but not everybody."
The Vatican calls on multiple outside medical experts to go over the files of people who have experienced supposed miracles.
In 1987, hematologist Jacalyn Duffin, now a medical historian at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., was hired to review the files of a woman who suffered from acute leukemia. She wasn't told anything about the case and assumed the review was related to a lawsuit.
It was only after Duffin submitted her report that she learned the Vatican had commissioned her study to verify the story of an alleged miracle attributed to Marguerite d'Youville. Founder of the Grey Nuns, d'Youville was recognized as a saint -the first born in Canada -in 1990.
"What the church was looking for from me was not to declare that it was a miracle, but to give a scientific explanation, and I didn't have a scientific explanation for why she was still alive," Duffin said. "If I could have provided a scientific explanation, then they would have moved on and looked for a different case."
Duffin went on to write a book, Medical Miracles: Doctors, Saints, and Healing in the Modern World, in which she reviewed 1,400 miracles used in canonizations from 1588 to 1999. She said she was surprised to find the church works hard to use "rigorous medical evidence" in studying apparent miracles.
"I am an atheist and I believe in miracles," Duffin said. "It all rests on how you define a miracle. The definition I have come to after studying all those miracles in the Vatican archives is that there are things that happen that we can't explain."
Some will "pretend that it didn't happen or that the people are lying," she added. "But I refuse to believe that, because the documentation is just so solid and the people are far too sincere and the evidence is really, really impressive.
"The word miracle is derived from (the Latin word) miro -to wonder. I'm left wondering, so I'm left with a miracle."
I want to see someone grow a new limb, then I will believe in miracles...
The Australian Nun brought tears to these old eyes. SHE was a Nun among nones. What a wonderful story she is ... and her name was Mary, just to know.
A lady’s leg grew during one of our church’s healing services.
And what did Jesus say to the Pharisees who always wanted signs? LOL!
Sometimes the Lord will perform miracles so unbelievers will believe.
It was a rhetorical question. LOL!
Even if somebody did grow a new limb, you’d be able to explain it away...That’s been done for years now by skeptics within the Church, so it’s nothing new. But they and you will all miss out on what is really happening.
i did not ask for a sign. i simply said i had never seen a missing limb grow back. if i do, i will believe it was a miracle.
amazing how you pigeon-hole from one small sentence. you have no idea about me or my beliefs.
I have no idea of who you are or what motivates you, but if you’re asking for a sign and specifying what it should be, maybe you should reflect a bit and open your eyes to other possibilities. We don’t know. We never know, but we have to trust and we have to hope. And we have to know that whatever our circumstances, we can praise God and we can make the world glad. And in any case, it will all be well in Heaven, where God will wipe away every tear from the eye.
Happens every day in almost every city.
I KNEW for years this man was a saint. It was only TODAY that the Church confirmed what I had BELIEVED for years.
Also 20 years ago, I was at the the St. Joseph Shrine. This is the only shrine that I had been too, that has escalaters, because it is so BIG of a major shrine.