The Eucharistic Miracle of Braine,France


At the time of the Eucharistic miracle of Braine, a great many non-Catholics lived in that city, which is located in the archdiocese of Soissons.

Agnes of Braine, a countess who lived in a castle of the city, tried to convert many of these non-Catholics and singled out a beautiful Jewish girl on whom to concentrate her efforts. The girl steadfastly refused to believe in the Holy Eucharist and remained skeptical despite the zeal of the countess. Apparently determined to win the girl to the Faith, the countess went so far as to use force to remove her to the castle, where she was eventually engaged as a chambermaid and a lady-in-waiting.

In 1153 the Archbishop of Soissons, Anculphe de Pierrefonds, arranged for a solemn High Mass and a procession around the city of Braine in observance of the feast of the Holy Spirit. Attending the ceremonies were all the people of Braine, including the non-Catholics, who attended out of respect for the Archbishop and out of curiosity about the elaborate activities that were planned. During the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass celebrated by the Archbishop, at the time of the Elevation, the people saw, instead of the Host, a small child. Descriptions are not available, nor is it known how long the vision lasted, but it was apparently so magnificent and impressive that the non-Catholics, now filled with the Holy Spirit, demandèrent le baptême—demanded Baptism. It is speculated that among those who asked for Baptism was the young Jewish girl whom the countess had attempted to convert.

Following the miracle Countess Agnes of Braine founded a monastery, where the miraculous Host was kept for centuries. It is known that 80 years after the miracle, in 1233, Cardinal Jacque de Vitry visited and worshiped the miraculous Host. In 1718, more than 550 years after the miracle, Dom Martene saw the Host, which was still entire and which was described as being the size of a large coin. However, 15 years after this visit an historian of Valois by the name of Carlier discovered that the Host, in the normal fashion, had been reduced to a little dust. The Host had been kept in a tabernacle, together with the chalice that had been used during the Mass of the miracle. The ivory box in which the Host had been kept was regarded as a treasure.

When the monks abandoned the abbey during the French Revolution (which began in 1789), they entrusted the ivory box to the safekeeping of Lambert, the Chief of Police. It was returned to the church of Braine in 1839, where it was kept in the sacristy for a long time. Not only had the Host and chalice been faithfully kept, but also the vestments used during the Mass of the miracle. The chasuble, the outer large vestment the priest wears at Mass, was of fine silk richly embroidered with liturgical symbols, including the face of an angel on the front panel, and an Agnus Dei on the back. Around the neck of the vestment was a band of gold, which was embellished with fine pearls and a few precious stones. Because of the beauty and value of the vestment and the fact that it had been worn during the historic Mass, it was held in high regard by the people. As a result of a difference of opinion between the monks and Heduin, a member of the National Guard, an inventory of the abbey was made between April 21–24, 1790, just one year after the start of the French Revolution. It was discovered that the precious chasuble of the miracle was not in its place. Heduin took advantage of the situation to complain to the city authorities, who initiated an investigation. It was learned that during the preceding year the prior of the monastery had actually sold the chasuble to a merchant of Lyon to satisfy the needs of the abbey and the church. The merchant refused to negotiate a return of the vestment, but did offer to donate the pearls that had been removed from it. One report has it that all the articles used in the Mass of the miracle were preserved in the church, including the tools employed in the making of the hosts. This seems to be confirmed by the inventory made during the French Revolution, which specifically lists all the articles that were utilized during the Mass of the miracle. This inventory list is still preserved in the archives of the Departement de l’Aisne at Laon; however, the articles themselves have since been dispersed or destroyed. The present cure of Braine confirms that the Eucharistic miracle did occur and that processions were held in its honor for many years, but the annual observances are no longer held.

Special Delivery

For God will deign

To visit oft the dwellings of just men

Delighted and with frequent intercourse

Thither will send his winged messengers

On errands of supernatural Grace

~Milton,Paradise Lost

One Sunday morning Kenneth and his wife Suzie found themselves without a penny.Suzie decided to pray and pray very specifically.”God,I need five pounds of potatoes,two pounds of pastry flour,apples,pears,a cauliflower,carrots,veal cutlets for Saturday and beef for Sunday.”,she said.

A few hours later,someone knocked on the door.Suzie opened it to a man carrying a basket of groceries.The man,between thirty and forty years old,was over 6 feet tall and strong looking,with blue eyes,white blond hair,and a long blue apron over his work clothes.He seemed radiant,glowing.”Mrs.Ware”,he said,”I’m bringing you what you asked for.”

“There must be some mistake,”Suzie protested,bewildered.”I have not ordered anything.”She called Kenneth.

Kenneth did not think the man looked like an ordinary delivery man.Perhaps he was the owner Perhaps he was the owner of a firm and had gotten the apartment numbers mixed up.”There are twenty five apartments,here,Sir.Have you come to the wrong one?”he asked.

The man ignored the question.”Mrs.Ware”,he repeated,”I am bringing you what you asked for”.Then he went into the kitchen and emptied the basket.On the table were the exact items Suzie had requested from God that morning—-even the two pounds of pastry flour was the correct brand.The Wares were shocked.”I turned to apologize,to explain I hadn’t a coin to give him,but his look of reproach sealed my lips,”Kenneth reported.

Suzie accompanied the man to the door and thanked him;then the couple stood by the window to watch him leave the building via the only route available.But though Kenneth watched,and Suzie opened the door again to check the hallway,the man never went by.

Kenneth always maintained he would recognize the delivery man anywhere if he saw Him again.He never did.But Kenneth and Suzie were filled with gratitude to the God who would send a personal shopper to fill their needs.

~Excerpt from “Where Angels Walk”

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal~Feast Day November 27

Early this century, Pope Saint Pius X declared that “true devo­tion to Christ demands true devotion to Mary.” More recently, Pope John Paul II urged an in­crease in devotion to the Mother of God while visiting the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. He called her “a sign of contradiction to the world and, at the same time, the sign of hope whom all genera­tions shall call blessed.” The Blessed Virgin herself assured us at Fatima (1917) that peace will come to the world “when there is practiced sufficient de­votion to my Immaculate Heart.”

The reason for devotion to Mary and her Immaculate Heart should be clear to every Catholic. Since “it has pleased God to grant us all graces through the intercession of Mary” (Pope Benedict XV), it is only logical and right that we seek such graces through the proper chan­nel. Saint Bernardine (d. 1444) has written: “All graces are dis­pensed by Mary’s hands to whomever she wishes, whenever she wishes, and in whatever way she wishes.” That assertion was forcefully borne out by the Blessed Virgin nearly four cen­turies later, when she appeared in Paris to a humble Sister of Charity, Catherine Labouré.

Great Graces

It was in November of 1830. It was a period when God and His Church were being attacked by His enemies, and ignored by the faithful. Our Lady told Sister Catherine about the evils of the world, which were to become more intense in the years that lay ahead. She then portrayed an image signifying her Immaculate Conception. She instructed Sister Catherine to have a medal made to that likeness, which should be worn by all as a safeguard against the snares of the devil. As Sister Catherine tells it:

“The Blessed Virgin was standing on a globe, and her face was beautiful beyond words. Her fingers were covered with pre­cious jewels whose light dazzled me. And I heard: ‘Behold the symbol of the graces I shed upon those who ask for them!’ Then an oval frame formed around the Blessed Virgin and I read in let­ters of gold: ‘O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.’ The vi­sion reversed and I beheld the letter ‘M’ surmounted by a cross, at the foot of the cross, a bar, and below all, the Heart of Jesus crowned with thorns, and the Heart of Mary pierced with a sword. A voice said to me, ‘Have a medal struck after this model. Persons who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around the neck.’”

After two years of delibera­tion by Church authorities, the medal was finally struck accord­ing to Our Lady’s prescription, and in a short time it was being worn by millions. Countless won­ders came to those who wore it: health was restored; bad habits were overcome; dangers were averted; men survived war and pestilence; and thousands were converted to the True Faith. People began to call it the “Miracu­lous Medal” — the official title it now bears in the liturgical feast that was established to honor the Queen Mother who gave it to us.

The little French nun whom the Blessed Virgin used as an agent remained unknown to the world during her lifetime. Not even her colleagues in her Order were aware of her role of intermediary in God’s work until after her death in 1876. She was canonized Saint Catherine Labouré in 1947, and today her mortal remains lie, still incor­rupt for all to see, in the chapel where the Blessed Virgin first appeared to her.

A Remarkable Conversion

Of all the countless conver­sions effected by the wearing of the Miraculous Medal, perhaps the most famous, because it was the object of an official canonical investigation, was that of Alphonse Ratisbonne in 1842. The heir of a wealthy Jewish bank­ing family, Alphonse was a cynic with no faith whatsoever, and an abiding hatred for the Cath­olic Religion. Due to a unique circumstance, Alphonse found himself wearing around his neck one of the medals and reciting daily the Memorare of Saint Bernard — for the explicit pur­pose of proving to a Catholic acquaintance that it would not bring about his conversion.

The event of Ratisbonne’s con­version, nearly as sudden and dramatic as that of Saint Paul, is worth retelling here. We shall quote from the account of Baron de Bussieres, the acquaintance who induced Alphonse to wear the medal. De Bussieres, having business with some monks, had left a disdainful Alphonse in the chapel of a church in Rome. After about ten minutes’ ab­sence, the baron returned to the chapel:

“When I came back into the church I saw nothing of Ratis­bonne for a moment; then I caught sight of him on his knees, in front of the chapel of S. Mi­chel. I went up to him, and touched him three or four times before he became aware of my presence. At length he turned towards me, his face bathed in tears; joined his hands, and said, with an expression no words will render: ‘Oh, how this gentleman has prayed for me!’

“I was quite petrified with as­tonishment; I felt what people feel in the presence of a miracle. 1 raised Ratisbonne, I led him, or rather almost carried him, out of the church; I asked him what was the matter, and where he wished to go. ‘Lead me where you please,’ cried he; ‘after what I have seen, I obey.’ I urged him to explain his meaning, but he could not; his emotion was too mighty and profound. He drew forth from his bosom the mirac­ulous medal, and covered it with kisses and tears. I could get from him nothing but exclama­tions, broken by deep sobs: ‘Oh, what bliss is mine! how good is the Lord! what a grace of ful­ness and happiness! how pitiable the lot of those who know not!’ Then he burst into tears at the thought of heretics and misbe­lievers. . . .

“This wild emotion became gradually more calm. He begged me to take him to a confessor; wanted to know when he might receive holy baptism, for now he could not live without it; yearned for the blessedness of the martyrs…. He told me that he could give me no explanation of his state until he had received permission from a priest to do so; ‘For what I have to say,’ he added, ‘is something I can say only on my knees.’

“I took him immediately to the Gesu to see Father de Ville­fort, who begged him to explain himself. Then Ratisbonne drew forth his medal, kissed it, showed it to us, and exclaimed: ‘I have seen her! I have seen her!’ and his emotion again choked his ut­terance. But soon he regained his calmness, and made his statement.

“‘I had been but a few mo­ments in the church when I was suddenly seized with an unutter­able agitation of mind. I raised my eyes; the building had disap­peared from before me; one single chapel had, so to speak, gathered and concentrated all the light; and in the midst of this radiance I saw standing on the altar, lofty, clothed with splendour, full of majesty and sweetness, the Virgin Mary, just as she is represented on my medal. An irresistible force drew me towards her; the Virgin made a sign with her hand that I should kneel down; and then she seemed to say, That will do! She spoke not a word, but I understood all!’”

She had spoken not a word, yet this hardened unbeliever of just moments before now under­stood all! He understood far more than those who take the faith for granted — even to a “profound understanding of the mystery of the Crucifixion.” De Bussieres wrote:

“The Catholic Faith exhaled from his heart like a precious perfume from a casket, which contains it indeed, but cannot confine it. He spoke of the Real Presence like a man who believed it with all the energy of his whole being; but the expression is far too weak, he spoke like one to whom it was the object of di­rect perception.”

Alphonse continued to grow in sanctity and zeal. He was or­dained a priest in 1847, and devoted the rest of his life to converting others of his race to the Catholic Faith. His conver­sion, although a spectacular and widely publicized event, was but a sample of the many thou­sands of lesser known wonders wrought by the wearing of Our Lady’s great sacramental. Nor was its use meant to be limited to another place and former time.

An Apostle of Our Time

Blessed Maximilian Kolbe, who died in 1941 and was beati­fied by Pope Paul VI in 1973, performed great spiritual works through the use of the medal. He has written:

“At various times and in vari­ous trials the most Blessed Vir­gin Mary has come to the aid of her children, giving them differ­ent ways of attaining salvation more easily, and freeing others from the yoke of Satan. Now in this epoch of the Immaculate Conception the most Blessed Virgin has given mankind the ‘Miraculous Medal.’ Its heavenly origin has been proved by count­less miracles of healing and par­ticularly conversion….

“On this medal there is in­scribed the ejaculation: ‘O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.’

This is a prayer which the Im­maculata herself places upon our lips, revealing it to us and rec­ommending its recitation…. This is truly our heavenly weapon. . . .

A motto of Blessed Maximi­lian’s Order was: “And above all, the Miraculous Medal.”

A Promise, A Threat

Our Lady’s promise that peace will be obtained through suffi­cient devotion to her Immaculate Heart was also a threat of dire consequences, should we ignore her message. So far, mankind has given her a deaf ear, and the consequences are becoming ever more apparent. The world must, while there is still time, pay at­tention to Mary’s warning and appeal of Paris, of La Salette, of Fatima. Pope Pius XII has urged us to frequently ask for Mary’s intercession: “Therefore let all approach with greater confidence now than ever before to the throne of mercy and grace of our Queen and Mother to beg help in difficulty, light in dark­ness and solace in trouble and sorrow.” (Encyclical, On The Queenship of Mary, 1954). So in this age of increasing world un­rest let us all wear Our Lady’s Medal as a badge of allegiance, as she has requested. And let us recite from the liturgy of the Feast of Our Lady of the Mirac­ulous Medal: “O Lord, Who givest us all things through the Immaculate Mother of Thy Son: grant us by the aid of this mighty Mother to

escape the dangers of this time, and come to life everlasting.”

The Lady of Second Chances

A noble youth, named Eschylus, being
sent by the prince, his father, to Hildesheim, a city of Saxony, to study, abandoned himself to
a dissolute life. He fell ill, and was near dying, and while in that state he had a vision. He saw himself shut up in a furnace of fire, and believed himself to be already in hell; and then he escap- ed from it through a hole and took refuge in a great place, where he found the most holy Mary in the hall, and she said to him: “Rash man, do you dare to appear before me? Depart
from here and go to the flames which you
merit.” The young man besought the Virgin
to have mercy on him, and then turned to some persons who were near, and implored them to recommend him to Mary. They did so, and
the heavenly mother answered: “You do not know the sinful life he has led, and that he had not even yought of saying a Hail Mary in my
honor.” But his advocates answered: “Oh
Lady, he will change his life;” and the youth added: “Yes, I promise really to amend, and
I will be your servant.” Then the Virgin’s anger was appeased, and she said to him: “Well, I ac- cept your promise, be faithful to me, and mean- while with my blessing, be delivered from hell and death.” When she had said this, the Virgin disappeared. Eschylus came to himself, and blessing Mary, related to others the grace he
had received. He led ever after a holy life,
always preserving a great affection towards the blessed Virgin, and was made Archbishop of
the Church of Lude, in Denmark, where he con- verted many to the faith. Towards the close
of his life, being old, he resigned the bishopric and became a monk of Clairvaux where he lived four years, and died a holy death. Hence he has been numbered by some writers among the saints of the Cistercian order.

Source:”The Glories of Mary”by St.Alphonsus Liguori

Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem

The first miracleAn unhappy woman lived in Santarem between the years of 1225 and 1247, because she was convinced that her husband was unfaithful. She tried all the possible means to bring back her husband with out any results. Desperate before her situation, she turned to sorcery visiting the soccer of the town. She promised her that her husband would again love her like before, but with the condition that she would pay her with a consecrated Host. This frightened very much the women, she knew this to be a sacrilege, but finally yielded to it. After receiving communion in her parish church of Saint Stephen, she did not consume the host but left the church immediately took the host out of her mouth and placed it in her head scarf.

On her way to the sorceress house, the Holy Host started to bleed. The woman did not realized this was happening until the people passing by informed her, thinking that she was bleeding. The woman’s heart started to panic. She went home and placed the Host covered in the scarf at the bottom of a chest made of wood where she kept personal items in her room. She remained there with fear all day until night time.

When her husband arrived late that evening, they went to sleep, with the possibility that she herself did not rest much. The guilt of her sin tormented her, and also the idea that perhaps the Host continued to bleed.

In the darkness of the room, a great miracle occurred. From the chest brilliant rays of light shined through, allowing the couple to awakened. They saw a spectacular vision of angles adoring the Holy Host bleeding.

The woman contained herself and confessed the great sin to her husband. Both repented and spent the rest of the night kneeling in adoration and reparation before the miraculous Host.

The next morning they informed the parish priest. He went to the house and heard the story from the woman. The priest returned the Host to the Church of St. Stephen in a solemn procession, accompanied by many priest and lay people. The host continued to bleed for three days. Finally it was decided to place the holy host (still bleeding) in a reliquary made of beeswax. The holy host remained their until a second miracle occurred.

Second Miracle

The priest enclosed the holy host in the beeswax reliquary and placed it in the tabernacle. This is were the second miracle occurred. When the priest opened the tabernacle door, the beeswax reliquary disintegrated in small pieces. In its place was a recipient made of glass that contained the blood of the host together with the beeswax. We can contemplate it together with the main reliquary that dates from 1782. Since the XVIII century this reliquary remains in the Eucharistic throne on the mayor altar. Today it is known as the Sanctuary of the Holy Miracle.

The miracles continue

Through the centuries, the Host has bleed repeatedly and several images have been seen in the host, images of our Lord Jesus. Among the many witnesses, is Saint Francis Xavier, the missionary apostle of India who saw the sanctuary of the miracle before departing to the missions. It is known that an archbishop of Lisboa broke the glass reliquary trying to detain the bleed flow.

Blessed Sacrament Processions

Since the occurrence of the miracle until today, every year, on the second Sunday of April, the Eucharistic Miracle is taken in procession from the house where the couple lived and the miracle occurred, the Via delle Stucie to the Church of the Miracle. The house has been a chapel since 1684.

The Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem is considered the most important after the Miracle of Lanciano

Studies and canonical investigations have been made during the years, being the most important the one in 1340 and 1612, which proved without doubt the authenticity and antiquity of the Eucharistic Miracle.

Only once did the Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem leave the city, when Napoleon troops invaded Portugal in 1810. Threatened by the French and fearing the profanation, the Eucharist was taken to Lisboa, the Church of Pacao. The people of Santarem protested has time passed and the Eucharistic Miracle was not returned to them. The Eucharistic Miracle was returned in secret, to prevent resistance from the

capitalians, who where not informed of the Eucharistic Miracle returning to Santarem on Dec. 2, 1811.

The sanctuary was restored by Rev. Antonio Francisco Marques, bishop of Santarem solemnly opening the doors on Dec. 7th, 1996. Today it has a small museum in the main altar. The Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem is exposed for pilgrims who request it, able to be contemplated closely. The Holy Blood has been liquified, 750 years after the miracle occurred. The old, original group (Real Brotherhood of the Sacred Miracle) in charge of safekeeping the Holy Miracle still exists today.

Popes that have granted Plenary Indulgence to the Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem:

Pope Pio IV: (1559-1565) granted Indulgence to pilgrims who visit the Church.

Pope St. Pio V and Pope Pio VI: granted privileges to pilgrims that visit the Church.

Pope Gregory XIV (1590-1591): granted Plenary Indulgence to all the members of the

Real Brotherhood of the Sacred Miracle on the day they entered the brotherhood and the day of their death.

Saints that are in some way united to Santarem and the Eucharistic Miracle

Saint Irene : Santarem in Portuguese means “Saint Irene”, patron of the city. She is a martyr of the year 653. In the Church of St. Irene we can find the Miraculous Crucifix of Monteiraz. Chuch documents relates that the Body of our Lord became alive (like the Miracle of Limpias), Jesus arm came down from the crucifix and embraced a small shepherd girl of the time of the Eucharistic Miracle. The crucifix belonged to a community of the 12 benedictine monks (Abby of 12 apostles) is from the XII century, it is still venerated today.

Saint Stephen: martyr and patron of the Church of the Holy Miracle.

Saint Leonor Alfonso : daughter of the King D. Alfonso, who became a religious of the order Poor Clares and is buried in the Monastery of Santarem.

Saint Francis Xavier: visited most of the sanctuaries of Portugal. He also visited the Church of the Holy Miracle before being sent to missions in India by the King of Portugal. St. Francis Xavier’s image is venerated in the Church of the miracle.

Saint Isabel of Portugal: most of Portugal’s Kings of that time visited the Eucharistic Miracle . The most famous visit was from two visits that Queen Saint Isabel(Isabel of Aragon), in 1295 and 1322.

Her first visit was during her trip to Coimbra coinciding with the feast of St. Irene. The second visit was to request before the Holy Miracle peace between her husband, King Dionisio and her son, the future Alfonso VI, who were in discord.

She requested the Holy Host be taken in procession in the streets. She herself accompanied the procession, deposing of her royal vestments, her crown and jewels. She covered herself with ashes, walked barefoot, with a rope around her neck. This act of penance from the Queen was very pleasing to the Lord, granting her the grace of peace and reconciliation between her husband and son.

Angels on Guard

Angels On Guard

And Elisha prayed,”O Lord open his eyes that he may see”.Then the Lord opened the servant’ eyes,and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of Fire all around Elisha.

~2 Kings 6:17~

Bill,his wife and their two children were vacationing at Big Bear Lake in California near Apple Valley.His wife was cooking on the open fire,and Bill took several photos of the family gathered around it.Then he read the Bible,asking God to protect them and give them a safe vacation.In a moment,however,their peaceful surroundings were shattered by six men on motorcycles,who seemed to roar out of nowhere.One pulled a gun demanding that the stunned family put their billfolds and purses on the ground.Terrified,they did so,and Bill in his haste,dropped his camera, too.

All of a sudden as quickly as they came,the men seemed to be stricken with fright.Leaving the family’s belongings on the ground,they turned,ran for their motorcycles,and sped off.Why had they gone so suddenly,leaving behind the items they intended to steal?

Confused but relieved,Bill’s family gave thanks to God for sparing them from a terrible ordeal,then went on to enjoy the rest of their vacation.It was not until they arrived home and had their phones developed that they saw what the bikers had apparantly seen that night.

One of the photos clearly shows the form of a white clad angel patiently standing watch over the family as they sat around the fire.


Myra worked for a Teen Challenge Christian Ministry and since it was located in a rough part of the inner city,she was concerned for the teens who had shown interest in receiving Christian counsel.It was difficult for them to visit the center because on the streets just outside,a group from one of the local gangs reportedly harassed them.For a short while each evening,Myra was alone at the center,and the gang bothered her as well,banging on the door and shouting obscenities.

One night when the gang appeared,Myra suddenly inspired to tell them about Jesus.Knowing the danger,she first prayed for guidance.Yes she felt sure she had heard the Lord correctly.She opened the door and walked outside.

The gang moved around her,and keeping her voice steady,she spoke to them about Jesus.

Instead of listening to her,however the gang shouted threats of drowning her in the nearby river.Trying to appear calm,Myra walked back through the door of the center and shut it.They didn’t follow her.

The next evening the thugs were back,once again banging on the door and threatening her life.Still believing she should try and reach out to them,Myra breathed a prayer to Jesus.”Lord,let your angels come with me and protect me”,she murmured.

Then she opened the door and was about to speak when the gang members suddenly stopped their shouting,turned to one another and left silently and quickly.Myra was surprised.Why had they gone?

The gang did not return for several days.Then one afternoon,to the surprise of everyone,they entered the center in an orderly fashion.Much later,after a relationship of trust had been built with them,Louis Torres the owner of the center asked them what had made them drop their threats against Myra and leave so peacefully that night.

One young man spoke up.”We wouldn’t dare touch her after her boyfriend showed up.That dude had to be seven feet tall”.

“I didn’t know Myra had a boyfriend,” replied Louis thoughtfully.”But at any rate she was alone here that night”.

“No,we saw him”,insisted another gang member.”He was right behind her”.

“He was big as life in his classy white suit”.

~Excerpt from “Where Angels Walk” by Joan Wester Anderson~

St.Padre Pio and the Our Lady of Fatima pilgrim statue

It has been told that Padre Pio prayed daily to a pictured shrine of Our Lady of Fatima within his San Giovanni Rotundo monastery. In 1959 a Pilgrim Virgin Fatima statue visited Italy. At the same time of this visit, Padre Pio became seriously ill and was diagnosed with a fatal cancerous tumor.

On August 6, 1959 the statue arrived at San Giovanni Rotundo. Padre Pio prayed before the statue and kissed Her feet. After the statue left the monastery by helicopter, Padre Pio said, “ Oh Mother of mine, when you came to Italy you found me sick. You came to visit me here and I was suffering and now you have not delivered my from my illness.”

As Padre Pio pleaded his prayer a miracle occurred. The helicopter flying high above the monastery with the statue circled the building three times. The pilot would later say that he could not explain why. At the same instant that the helicopter circled, Padre Pio felt a shudder immediately run through him. His body was penetrated with a ray of light and he felt the tumor gone.

Padre Pio cried out, ”I am healed. Our Lady of Fatima has healed me. “ Padre Pio later wrote,” Thank the Virgin of Fatima for me. On the very day She left here, I felt well again. “ Three days later, he was celebrating Mass.

A Pat on the Back From God

The guardian angels of life sometimes fly so high as to be beyond our sight, but they are always looking down upon us. ~Jean Paul Richter

It was January 1948 when young Father Anthony Zimmerman arrived as a freshly minted Catholic missionary priest at Yokohama port in Japan. He was the first of his order, the Society of the Divine Word, to journey from America after World War II had ended, but he would eventually be joined by many more, along with priests being sent out of China before the communists could catch up with them. Father Anthony still remembered how he felt when his feet touched the pier after riding riding the waves for twelve days. “I felt myself swaying,” he said, “and I watched as my 117 trunks of luggage were lined up for inspection.” Inside were many articles for the war-deprived missionaries: army-surplus shoes, winter underwear, jackets, canned goods, even a bicycle and tiny motorcycle. General Douglas MacArthur had given the word that missionaries were welcome in Japan, and his command apparently cut the red tape—Japanese tax officials gave only a cursory inspection to the luggage, and Father Anthony was waved on to start his new life in Japan. “The missionaries in our Tokyo house gave me a warm welcome that night,” Father Anthony recalled. “We went to chapel right away to thank God for the safe journey. I don’t remember whether I thanked my guardian angel specifically, but I usually kept in touch with him at morning and evening prayers, so I probably nodded to him then, too, asking that he accompany me during my future in Japan.” He went first to a mission in Tajimi, where he would study Japanese and teach English. Those were the days of food and fuel rationing, when Japanese families sold precious heirlooms at bargain prices to buy the necessities necessities of life. As they saw Americans helping them, giving them food and fuel and kind treatment, the environment slowly changed to mutual acceptance and tolerance. Yet living conditions were not comfortable. “Traveling took a long time, there was no flush plumbing, and we didn’t always like the food. When I once asked my superior what that terrible smell was, he answered, ‘Either it’s supper or the toilet.’” Father Anthony added that he commuted on rocky and deserted roads on a little putt-putt motorcycle. “Looking back, I think my guardian angel did not approve of all the risks I took, but I prayed to him daily and tried to keep him on my good side just in case.” By 1950, Father Anthony had relocated to Ehocho parish in Nagoya, but he still commuted to various sites to teach English, visit the hospitalized, and, if the Japanese people were willing, discuss the Christian message of healing and forgiveness.

On occasion he would make rounds at the Umemori sanitarium for terminally ill tuberculosis patients. It was in the spring of 1950, after a visit to that sanitarium, that something special happened.“After visiting with patients at Umemori, I packed everything into the jeep and started the drive back to Ehocho parish,” he recalled. “I was never good at finding roads, but I drove on anyway, expecting that somehow I would return safely. I was not particularly attentive, being lost in a reverie about the people I had just left.” He was thinking about how desolate they were. In war-ravaged Japan, funds for the care of terminally ill patients were limited. The wait before death was gloomy, bereft of joy and hope. But a few were grateful to be told of God’s love. For them, Father Anthony mused, his spirit still heavy at the sight of all that suffering, for them he could help open the gates of heaven. He was nearing a crossroad now but didn’t realize it was there. He was in a wooded area, trees and shrubs crowding to the road’s edge, and he saw only the continuous path of the road straight ahead. There was no stop sign, and he barreled the jeep onward to get home. Still deep in thought, Father Anthony felt a powerful jolt. The jeep, traveling swiftly forward, began to rock dangerously up and down and from side to side. It was like sitting on top of an earthquake. Was it an earthquake?earthquake? What was happening? Afraid of braking too hard and turning over, Father Anthony came slowly to a stop. And just in time. No more than fifteen yards ahead, an enormous truck came roaring from a side road that was hidden by the foliage and tore through the place where he would have been. “If we had collided, the truck would have totaled both the jeep and me,” he said. “Spontaneously, I looked to heaven to thank God. I relish the moment still.”

But what had gone wrong with the jeep? As his heart quieted from the near miss, he realized that he must have hit something large or, at the very least, blown a tire—a typical occurrence on those roads. Shakily, he got out to look. But there was nothing to see. The jeep seemed perfect—its tires were fine, and he saw no dents or scrapes. And the road was completely smooth, without a rock or obstruction anywhere. Frowning, Father Anthony got in again and started the engine. Flawless. As he pulled away, the jeep ran smoothly, with no hint of the shaking that had just taken place. There was nothing wrong with it, absolutely nothing. But something mighty had manhandled it and changed Father Anthony’s course. It was then that he realized what had happened and spoke to his guardian angel. “Sorry about that,” he said. “And thank you very much.”

Later Father Anthony learned that he was not the only priest to have been similarly graced. During that same period, a classmate, Father John, went routinely to a convent near Peking (now Beijing) to say Mass for the sisters there. He knew the route very well; it was a simple straight path. One morning he called a man with a pedicab to take him by that direct route. Peking was already surrounded by the communists, and the rumble of distant artillery could be heard. “Straight ahead,” Father John said to the man operating the pedicab. “No, sir!” the man said. Father John was used to bargaining, but this time it was different. The man had already started a roundabout route that would take fifteen minutes longer and cost more. “Straight ahead!” Father John again insisted. “No!” “You win.” Father John sat back in defeat as the pedicab began its circuitous and seemingly senseless journey.But the route had not been pointless. For as they traveled, a massive explosion ripped through the air and a bomb made a direct hit on the straight road where Father John would have been. Who can say whether the pedicab operator was an angel or simply inspired by one? But as both priests knew, angels take special care of missionaries. “What does it feel like at such a time?” Father Anthony asked. “It feels like a pat on the back from God, who says, ‘I know you’re here, and I like what you’re doing. I also have more work that I want you to do. So hang in there! But be more careful!’ One does not forget such a time and event.”

Father Anthony eventually earned a doctorate and taught in Japan. Later, retired, he wrote books on theology. “I suspect that in heaven, my guardian angel is going to tell me that he already knew all this was coming for me, and that is one of the reasons he made the jeep rock to keep me from being killed,” he said. “The episode is etched into my memory. It is a gift I will never forget.”

Excerpt from “Where Angels Walk” by Joan Wester Anderson

Angels on the Highway~6 Short Stories of Encounters With Our Greatest Friends 

“See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way . . .” 

–Exodus 23: 20 

One of the first things I noticed as I opened my mail was that my son Tim had plenty of company–many people seemed to meet angels when driving! When you consider how much trouble we can get into in traffic, it’s reasonable that our angels would be kept busy. For example, a minister’s wife told me of a trip she took across central Kentucky. On one two-lane stretch she found herself stuck behind a coal truck, and after carefully peeking around, she swung out to pass. Horrified, she saw a huge semi coming toward her. “The coal-truck driver saw my dilemma and inched over to the right as far as he could go,but there was not going to be enough space for three vehicles to pass, nor was there enough time for me to get back in my lane,” she recounted. Frozen, she waited for the inevitable crash. But as the truck approached her, it melted from view. Shocked, she moved back behind the coal truck, checking her rearview mirror. The semi wasn’t there. “There were five of us in the car,” she told me. “All of us saw the truck coming. None of us saw what happened to it.” 
Sharon W. (not her real name) doesn’t drive often, so when she set out one rainy evening for a coworker’s house, her roommate gave her explicit directions. But the rain turned to snow, and Sharon became nervous. She knew she didn’t have enough experience driving in rough Michigan weather. Traveling too fast through an intersection, Sharon tapped the brake, but her car skidded dangerously toward a light pole instead. “Oh, angels, help me!” she cried. Immediately the car righted itself. “It was as if it had actually been picked up and turned around,” she said. “I found myself myself on the right side of the street, heading in the right direction.” None the worse for wear, Sharon drove on to her destination. When she arrived home, Sharon told her roommate about the near miss. “I’m not surprised,” her friend replied. “After you left, I began worrying about you driving in this weather. So I sent my guardian angel to accompany you.” 
Bernadine Jones was driving north on a two-way street in Denver and approached an intersection where she could either continue on a straight path or go left into a curve. She was planning to turn left, but she was unfamiliar with the avenue, so when she heard a voice command her, “Slow down now!” she responded without thinking. Coming almost to a stop, Bernadine was astonished to see an oncoming car speed across the left-hand curve, just where she would have been had she not stepped on the brake. It was only later that Bernadine realized the voice had come from within her car. But she was alone.
Mae Warrick left the optometrist and walked toward her car. As she opened the front door, she heard a man’s voice say, “Fasten that seat belt!” Mae turned and looked back, expecting to see someone, but the street was deserted. Was someone playing a trick on her? Puzzled, she fastened the belt. She drove to her favorite highway cafe and started to turn left into the driveway. Too late, Mae realized that a truck was in the driveway and she couldn’t complete her turn. An oncoming car, unable to stop in time, plowed into Mae’s automobile. “Even with my seat belt on, I sustained a cracked rib and bruises,” said this eighty-year-old. “I wonder what shape I would have been in had I not obeyed my angel’s orders!”
 Janet Notte-Corrao obeyed orders, too, one night. She was sitting in the passenger seat next to her husband, their two children in the back. Janet was not really alarmed to hear a voice as the car went around a curve–she had heard her angel before. Although the message was not audible to the others, Janet heard: “Pray, Janet! There is a car coming that will hit you as you turn into your driveway. Pray!”As she heard the words, Janet also received a vision of the vehicle hitting her family’s car. Oh, God, she prayed, please surround our car with your heavenly host of angels! Janet’s husband was driving carefully. Without warning, there was the sound of screeching tires, and then a jolt as he slammed on the brakes. “I was still so deep in prayer that the motion was almost a surprise,” Janet said. “It thrust me forward–thanks to my seat belt, not through the windshield–but the cars hadn’t crashed. We were so close that their headlights were shining into our eyes.” Before Janet’s astonished husband could react, the other car sped off, as quickly as it had appeared. But her prayer had been answered. “There was just a tiny space between the two cars,” she noted with a smile. “A space the width of an angel.”
 Driving home on a Saint Louis freeway one rush hour, Andrew (not his real name) had almost reached his exit. Checking his mirrors, he began to move into the right-hand lane. But the steering wheel didn’t budge. What was happening? Andrew attempted to swerve again, but the wheel seemed stuck.He would have to force it in order to get off the freeway and find a service station right away. Trying not to panic, Andrew looked back to see what was behind him. Directly at his rear, in the blind spot, was a compact car. “It was too far back to be picked up by peripheral vision, too far forward to be seen in my rearview mirror. Had the steering not locked, I would have turned directly into the other vehicle, at fifty-five miles per hour.” Andrew braked a little, to let the other vehicle pass, before forcing his steering wheel to the right. But as soon as the little car went by, Andrew’s wheel responded normally. There was no reason to find a service station after all. Andrew drove the car another eighteen months, and later, his son and daughter-in-law drove it. No one found any abnormalities in the steering, or anything else.

Excerpts from “Where Angels Walk”

4 Stories Which Illustrate How Much Mary Loves Her Servants Who Fast on Saturdays 

In the mountains of Trent lived a notorious robber, who, when he was one day admonished by a religious to change his course of life, answered, that for him there was no remedy. “Do not say so,” said the religious ; “do what I tell you ; fast on Saturday in honor of Mary, and on that day do no harm to any one, and she will obtain for you the grace of not dying under the displeasure of God.” The obedient robber fol- lowed this advice, and made a vow to continue to do so. That he might not break it, he from
that time went unarmed on Saturdays. It happened that on a Saturday he was found by the officers of justice, and that he might not break his oath, he allowed himself to be taken without resistance. The judge, when he saw that
he was a gray-haired old man, wished to pardon him ; but, through the grace of compunction which he had received from Mary, he said that he wished to die in punishment of his sins.
He also made a public confession of all the sins of his life in that same judgment-hall, weeping so bitterly that all present wept with him. He was beheaded, and buried with but little ceremony, in a grave dug nearby. But afterwards the mother of God appeared, with four holy virgins, who took the dead body from that place, wrapped it in a rich cloth embroidered with gold, and bore it themselves to the gate of the city; there the blessed Virgin said to the guards: “Tell the bishop from me, to give an honorable burial, in such a church, to this dead person,
for he was my faithful servant.” And this was done. All the people of the place thronged to the spot, where they found the corpse with the rich pall, and the bier on which it was placed. And from that time, says Cesarius, all persons in that region began to fast on Saturdays.

+A devout servant of Mary, who lived in Portugal, fasted on bread and water every Saturday of his life, in honor of Mary, and chose for his advocates with the blessed Virgin, St. Michael and St. John the Evangelist. At the
hour of his death the queen of heaven appeared to him, with those saints, who were praying for him, and the holy Virgin, looking upon her ser- vant with a joyful countenance, said to those saints: “I will not depart from here without taking this soul with me.”

 +In one of our missions, after the sermon
on Mary which it is our custom to preach, a very old man came to one of the Fathers of our congregation, to make his confession. He was full of consolation, and said : “Our Lady has done me a favor.” “And what favor has she
done you?” asked the confessor. “For thirty-five years, Father, I have made sacrilegious confessions, because I was ashamed of one sin, and yet I have passed through many dangers, and have been several times at the point of death, and if
I had died then I certainly would have been
lost; and now our Lady has done me the favor
to touch my heart;” and when he said this he wept so bitterly, that he seemed to be all tender- ness. After the Father had heard his confesion, he asked him what devotion he had practic- ed, and he answered that he had never failed on Saturday to keep a strict fast in honor of Mary, and therefore the Virgin had taken pity on him, aud he gave the Father permission to publish
the fact in his sermons.

+In the country of Normandy a certain robber was beheaded, and his head was thrown into a trench; but afterwards it was heard cry- ing: “Mary, give me confession.” A priest went to him and heard his confession; and question- ing him as to his practices of devotion, the rob- ber answered that he had no other except that of fasting one day of the week in honor of the holy Virgin, and that for this our Lady had obtained for him the grace to be delivered from hell by that confession.

~Excerpts from “The Glories of Mary” by St.Alphonsus Liguori