The Eucharistic Miracle of Braine,France

THE MIRACLE OF BRAINE, FRANCE 1153

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.

Morning Meditation

🌞Morning Meditation☀️

The Body of Christ and Sacred Scripture Are Most Necessary to a Faithful Soul.

The Disciple

O most sweet Lord Jesus, how great is the happiness of the devout soul that feasts upon You at Your banquet, where there is set before her to be eaten no other food but Yourself alone, her only Lover, most desired of all that her heart can desire!

To me it would be happiness, indeed, to shed tears in Your presence from the innermost depths of love, and like the pious Magdalen to wash Your feet with them. But where now is this devotion, this copious shedding of holy tears? Certainly in Your sight, before Your holy angels, my whole heart ought to be inflamed and weep for joy. For, hidden though You are beneath another form, I have You truly present in the Sacrament.

My eyes could not bear to behold You in Your own divine brightness, nor could the whole world stand in the splendor of the glory of Your majesty. In veiling Yourself in the Sacrament, therefore, You have regard for my weakness.

In truth, I possess and adore Him Whom the angels adore in heaven — I as yet by faith, they face to face unveiled. I must be content with the light of the true faith and walk in it until the day of eternal brightness dawns and the shadow of figures passes away. When, moreover, that which is perfect shall have come, the need of sacraments shall cease, for the blessed in heavenly glory need no healing sacrament. Rejoicing endlessly in the presence of God, beholding His glory face to face, transformed from their own brightness to the brightness of the ineffable Deity, they taste the Word of God made flesh, as He was in the beginning and will remain in eternity.

Though mindful of these wonderful things, every spiritual solace becomes wearisome to me because so long as I do not plainly see the Lord in His glory, I consider everything I hear and see on earth of little account.

You are my witness, O God, that nothing can comfort me, no creature give me rest but You, my God, Whom I desire to contemplate forever. But this is not possible while I remain in mortal life, and, therefore, I must be very patient and submit myself to You in every desire.

Even Your saints, O Lord, who now rejoice with You in the kingdom of heaven, awaited the coming of Your glory with faith and great patience while they lived. What they believed, I believe. What they hoped for, I hope for, and whither they arrived, I trust I shall come by Your grace. Meanwhile I will walk in faith, strengthened by the example of the saints. I shall have, besides, for comfort and for the guidance of my life, the holy Books, and above all these, Your most holy Body for my special haven and refuge.

I feel there are especially necessary for me in this life two things without which its miseries would be unbearable. Confined here in this prison of the body I confess I need these two, food and light. Therefore, You have given me in my weakness Your sacred Flesh to refresh my soul and body, and You have set Your word as the guiding light for my feet. Without them I could not live aright, for the word of God is the light of my soul and Your Sacrament is the Bread of Life.

These also may be called the two tables, one here, one there, in the treasure house of holy Church. One is the table of the holy altar, having the holy Bread that is the precious Body of Christ. The other is the table of divine law, containing holy doctrine that teaches all the true faith and firmly leads them within the veil, the Holy of holies.

Thanks to You, Lord Jesus, Light of eternal light, for the table of Your holy teaching which You have prepared for us by Your servants, the prophets and Apostles and other learned men.

Thanks to You, Creator and Redeemer of men, Who, to declare Your love to all the world, have prepared a great supper in which You have placed before us as food not the lamb, the type of Yourself, but Your own most precious Body and Blood, making all the faithful glad in Your sacred banquet, intoxicating them with the chalice of salvation in which are all the delights of paradise; and the holy angels feast with us but with more happiness and sweetness.

Oh, how great and honorable is the office of the priest, to whom is given the consecration of the Lord of majesty in sacred words, whose lips bless Him, whose hands hold Him, whose tongue receives Him, and whose ministry it is to bring Him to others!

Oh, how clean those hands should be, how pure the lips, how sanctified the body, how immaculate the heart of the priest to whom the Author of all purity so often comes. No word but what is holy, none but what is good and profitable ought to come from the lips of the priest who so often receives the Sacrament of Christ. Single and modest should be the eyes accustomed to looking upon the Body of Christ. Pure and lifted up to heaven the hands accustomed to handle the Creator of heaven and earth. To priests above all it is written in the law: “Be ye holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.”

Let Your grace, almighty God, assist us, that we who have undertaken the office of the priesthood may serve You worthily and devoutly in all purity and with a good conscience. And if we cannot live as innocently as we ought, grant us at least to lament duly the wrongs we have committed and in the spirit of humility and the purpose of a good will to serve You more fervently in the future.

~The Imitation of Christ~

Morning Meditation

🌞Morning Meditation☀️

Do Not Lightly Forego Holy Communion

The Voice of Christ

You must often return to the source of grace and divine mercy, to the fountain of goodness and perfect purity, if you wish to be free from passion and vice, if you desire to be made stronger and more watchful against all the temptations and deceits of the devil.

The enemy, knowing the great good and the healing power of Holy Communion, tries as much as he can by every manner and means to hinder and keep away the faithful and the devout. Indeed, there are some who suffer the worst assaults of Satan when disposing themselves to prepare for Holy Communion. As it is written in Job, this wicked spirit comes among the sons of God to trouble them by his wonted malice, to make them unduly fearful and perplexed, that thus he may lessen their devotion or attack their faith to such an extent that they perhaps either forego Communion altogether or receive with little fervor.

No attention, however, must be paid to his cunning wiles, no matter how base and horrible — all his suggestions must be cast back upon his head. The wretch is to be despised and scorned. Holy Communion must not be passed by because of any assaults from him or because of the commotion he may arouse.

Oftentimes, also, too great solicitude for devotion and anxiety about confession hinder a person. Do as wise men do. Cast off anxiety and scruple, for it impedes the grace of God and destroys devotion of the mind.

Do not remain away from Holy Communion because of a small trouble or vexation but go at once to confession and willingly forgive all others their offenses. If you have offended anyone, humbly seek pardon and God will readily forgive you.

What good is it to delay confession for a long time or to put off Holy Communion? Cleanse yourself at once, spit out the poison quickly. Make haste to apply the remedy and you will find it better than if you had waited a long time. If you put it off today because of one thing, perhaps tomorrow a greater will occur to you, and thus you will stay away from Communion for a long time and become even more unfit.

Shake off this heaviness and sloth as quickly as you can, for there is no gain in much anxiety, in enduring long hours of trouble, and in depriving yourself of the divine Mysteries because of these daily disturbances. Yes, it is very hurtful to defer Holy Communion long, for it usually brings on a lazy spiritual sleep.

How sad that some dissolute and lax persons are willing to postpone confession and likewise wish to defer Holy Communion, lest they be forced to keep a stricter watch over themselves! Alas, how little love and devotion have they who so easily put off Holy Communion!

How happy and acceptable to God is he who so lives, and keeps his conscience so pure, as to be ready and well disposed to communicate, even every day if he were permitted, and if he could do so unnoticed.

If, now and then, a man abstains by the grace of humility or for a legitimate reason, his reverence is commendable, but if laziness takes hold of him, he must arouse himself and do everything in his power, for the Lord will quicken his desire because of the good intention to which He particularly looks. When he is indeed unable to come, he will always have the good will and pious intention to communicate and thus he will not lose the fruit of the Sacrament.

Any devout person may at any hour on any day receive Christ in spiritual communion profitably and without hindrance. Yet on certain days and times appointed he ought to receive with affectionate reverence the Body of his Redeemer in this Sacrament, seeking the praise and honor of God rather than his own consolation.

For as often as he devoutly calls to mind the mystery and passion of the Incarnate Christ, and is inflamed with love for Him, he communicates mystically and is invisibly refreshed.

He who prepares himself only when festivals approach or custom demands, will often find himself unprepared. Blessed is he who offers himself a sacrifice to the Lord as often as he celebrates or communicates.

Be neither too slow nor too fast in celebrating but follow the good custom common to those among whom you are. You ought not to cause others inconvenience or trouble, but observe the accepted rule as laid down by superiors, and look to the benefit of others rather than to your own devotion or inclination.

~The Imitation of Christ~

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.

Morning Meditation

🌞Morning Meditation☀️

An Inquiry Into The Proper Thing To Do Before Communion

The Disciple

When I consider Your dignity, O Lord, and my own meanness, I become very much frightened and confused. For if I do not receive, I fly from Life, and if I intrude unworthily, I incur Your displeasure. What, then, shall I do, my God, my Helper and Adviser in necessity? Teach me the right way. Place before me some short exercise suitable for Holy Communion, for it is good to know in what manner I ought to make my heart ready devoutly and fervently for You, to receive Your Sacrament for the good of my soul, or even to celebrate so great and divine a sacrifice.

~The Imitation of Christ~

Prayer of Saint John of Damascus (died 777 A.D.)

Master and Lord, Jesus Christ our God, You alone have authority to forgive my sins, whether committed knowingly or in ignorance, and make me worthy to receive without condemnation Your divine, glorious, pure and life-giving Mysteries, not for my punishment, but for my purification and sanctification, now and in Your future Kingdom. For You, Christ our God, are compassionate and loves mankind and to You we give glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit now and forever and ever. Amen.

Prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church (died 1274 A.D.)

Almighty and ever-living God, I approach the sacrament of your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I come sick to the doctor of life, unclean to the fountain of mercy, blind to the radiance of eternal light, and poor and needy to the Lord of heaven and earth.

O my God I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee and I detest all of my sins because of thy just punishments but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and worthy of all my love.  I firmly resolve with the help of thy grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.

The Inspiration Behind Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s Daily Eucharistic Holy Hour 

 
A couple of months before his death Bishop Fulton J. Sheen was interviewed on national television. One of the questions was this: “Bishop Sheen, you have inspired millions of people all over the world. Who inspired you? Was it a Pope?”

Bishop Sheen responded that it was not a Pope, a cardinal, another bishop, or even a priest or a nun. It was a little Chinese girl of eleven years of age. He explained that when the Communists took over China, they imprisoned a priest in his own rectory near the Church. After they locked him up in his own house, the priest was horrified to look out of his window and see the Communists proceed into the Church, where they went into the sanctuary and broke into the tabernacle. In an act of hateful desecration, they took the ciborium and threw it on the floor with all of the Sacred Hosts spilling out. The priest knew exactly the number of Hosts in the ciborium; thirty-two.

When the Communists left, they either did not notice, or didn’t pay any attention to a small girl praying in the back of the Church who saw everything that had happened. That night the little girl came back.

Slipping past the guard at the priest’s house, she went inside the Church. There she made a holy hour of prayer, an act of love to make up for the act of hatred. After her holy hour she went into the sanctuary, knelt down, bent over and with her tongue received Jesus in Holy Communion, since (at that time) it was not permissible for laymen to touch the Sacred Host with their hands.

The little girl continued to come back each night to make her holy hour and receive Jesus in Holy Communion on her tongue. On the thirty-second night, after she had consumed the last and thirty-second host, she accidentally made a noise and woke the guard who was sleeping. He ran after her, caught her, and beat her to death with the butt of his rifle. This act of heroic martyrdom was witnessed by the priest as he watched grief-stricken from his bedroom window.

When Bishop Sheen heard the story he was so inspired that he promised God he would make a holy hour of prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament every day of his life. If this frail, little child could give testimony and witness to the world concerning the real and wonderful Presence of her Savior in the Blessed Sacrament, then the Bishop was absolutely bound by all that was right and true, to do the same. His sole desire from then on was to bring the world to the burning Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

The little girl showed the Bishop what true courage and zeal really is; how faith could overcome all fear, how true love for Jesus in the Eucharist must transcend life itself. What is hidden in the Sacred Host is the glory of His love. The sun in the sky is symbolic of the Son of God in the Blessed Sacrament. This is why most monstrances are in the form of a sunburst. As the sun is the natural source of all energy, the Blessed Sacrament is the supernatural source of all grace and love.

Jesus Is There~A Testimony to Eucharistic Adoration 


It was a wet and windy Sunday morning and I was standing inside the Church door, out of the rain, waiting for a lift to do some study in the University as exams were on the horizon. Mass was not something that interested me much, since my Confirmation. Mass was going on as I stood in from the rain. During the Mass a man was invited by the priest to speak to the congregation. He kept talking about Adoration. At one point during the talk he pointed at the Tabernacle and said very slowly ‘He is there. Jesus is there’, quoting some saint. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My lift never arrived and I waited until Mass was over to challenge the speaker. I felt he was just saying ‘He is there’ for effect and to get the people to listen.

I went straight up to the speaker and blurted out ‘did you do that for effect, to get the people to listen when you said and pointing to the tabernacle ‘He is there’. The reply with a smile was calm and definite. I meant everything I said and Jesus is there. Come around to the Adoration Chapel and I will show you Jesus, true God and true man, in the Monstrance, the same Jesus who walked the Holy Land just over 2000 years ago, the same Jesus that performed all the amazing miracles there.

I was gobsmacked and got a bit emotional at this point. I asked him if he would be speaking at the evening Mass and saying the same thing, as my parents usually go to that mass. He said, why do you ask me that? Well I feel that my parents don’t know that Jesus is there in the Tabernacle or in the Monstrance, and that it is really Him. Why do you say that? He asked. Because my parents never told my brother or myself. If they knew I feel they would have told us. I found myself going back to that evening Mass with my parents and from then on Mass has become a must for me. I really enjoy telling others about my journey back to my faith again. I now understand why people love to go to Adoration. I now drop in when passing to the Adoration Chapel. 

~Testimony by Mary (not her real name)

Nora’s Husbands Conversion~A Testimony to Eucharistic Adoration


This is Nora’s story (not her real name).

 I have been praying during my weekly hour of Adoration, over many years, for my husband to return to Mass and the Sacraments as he has been away from them for 26 years. He didn’t even enter the church when our children were making their first Holy Communions and Confirmations. On a wet and very cold winter’s day he dropped me down to the Adoration Chapel for my holy hour and asked me to hurry out after the hour as he wanted to go to an important meeting. After the hour he came to collect me and waited outside in the car. After waiting for an extra twenty minutes, he lost patience and ran into the Adoration Chapel to hurry me out. I pretended not to see him and he sat down very impatiently for some minutes. Finally I got up and left and he came speedily after me. I was expecting a lot of anger and complaints because I stayed longer than the hour and kept him waiting. Having got into the car he turned to me, and said, calmly and quietly, ‘I am not going to that meeting I mentioned but instead I am going to see the priest in the Parochial house and ask him to hear my confession. Something came over me as I entered that Adoration Chapel, and I feel God calling me back again’. He got confession that day and became a daily mass goer and a weekly Adorer for the very first time. I put this down to the power of prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

The Exorcism of Nicola Aubrey 

It is indeed a remarkable fact that, as the devil made use of Luther, an apostate monk, to abolish the Mass and deny the Real Presence; in like manner, God made use of His arch-enemy, the devil, to prove the Real Presence. He repeatedly forced him publicly to profess his firm belief in it, to confound the heretics for their disbelief, and acknowledge himself vanquished by Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. For this purpose, God allowed a certain Mme. Nicola Aubrey, an innocent person, to become possessed by Beelzebub and twenty-nine other evil spirits. The possession took place on the eighth of November, 1565, and lasted until the eighth of February, 1566.Her parents took her to Father de Motta, a pious priest of Vervins, in order that he might expel the demon by exorcisms of the Church. Father de Motta tried several times to expel the evil spirit by applying the sacred relics of the holy cross, but he could not succeed; Satan would not depart. At last, inspired by the Holy Ghost, he resolved to expel the devil by means of the sacrament of Our Lord’s Body and Blood. Whilst Nicola was lying in a state of unnatural lethargy, Father de Motta placed the Blessed Sacrament upon her lips, and instantly the infernal spell was broken; Nicola was restored to consciousness, and received Holy Communion with every mark of devotion. As soon as Nicola had received the sacred Body of Our Lord, her face became bright and beautiful as the face of an angel, and all who saw her were filled with joy and wonder, and they blessed God from their inmost hearts. With the permission of God, Satan returned and again took possession of Nicola.

As the strange circumstances of Nicola’s possession became known everywhere, several Calvinist preachers came with their followers, to “expose this popish cheat,” as they said. On their entrance, the devil saluted them mockingly, called them by name, and told them that they had come in obedience to him. One of the preachers took his Protestant prayer book, and began to read it with a very solemn face. The devil laughed at him, and putting on a most comical look, he said: “Ho! Ho! My good friend; do you intend to expel me with your prayers and hymns? Do you think that they will cause me any pain? Don’t you know that they are mine? I helped to compose them!”

“I will expel thee in the name of God,” said the preacher, solemnly.

“You!” said the devil mockingly. “You will not expel me either in the name of God, or in the name of the devil. Did you ever hear of one devil driving out another?”

“I am not a devil,” said the preacher, angrily, “I am a servant of Christ.”

“A servant of Christ, indeed!” said Satan, with a sneer. “What! I tell you, you are worse than I am. I believe, and you do not want to believe. Do you suppose that you can expel me from the body of this miserable wretch? Ha! Go first and expel all the devils that are in your own heart!”

The preacher took his leave, somewhat discomfited. On going away, he said, turning up the whites of his eyes, “O Lord, I pray thee, assist this poor creature!”

“And I pray Lucifer,” cried the evil spirit, “that he may never leave you, but may always keep you firmly in his power, as he does now. Go about your business, now. You are all mine, and I am your master.”

On the arrival of the priest, several of the Protestants went away – they had seen and heard more than they wanted. Others, however, remained; and great was their terror when they saw how the devil writhed and howled in agony, as soon as the Blessed Sacrament was brought near him. At last the evil spirit departed, leaving Nicola in a state of unnatural trance. While she was in this state, several of the preachers tried to open her eyes, but they found it impossible to do so. The priest then placed the Blessed Sacrament on Nicola’s lips, and instantly she was restored to consciousness. Rev. Father de Motta then turned to the astonished preachers, and said: “Go now, ye preachers of the new Gospel; go and relate everywhere what you have seen and heard. Do not deny any longer that Our Lord Jesus Christ is really and truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. Go now, and let not human respect hinder you from confessing the truth.”

During the exorcisms of the following days, the devil was forced to confess that he was not to be expelled at Vervins, and that he had with him twenty-nine devils, among whom were three powerful demons: Cerberus, Astaroth, and Legio. On the third of January, 1566, the bishop arrived at Vervins, and began the exorcism in the church, in the presence of an immense multitude. The True Mass

“I command thee, in the name and by power of the real presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, to depart instantly,” said the bishop to Satan in a solemn voice.

Satan was, at last, expelled the second time by means of the Blessed Sacrament. On leaving, he paralyzed the left arm and right foot of Nicola, and also made her left arm longer than her right; and no power on earth could cure this strange infirmity, until some weeks after, when the devil was at last completely and irrevocably expelled. Nicola was now taken to the celebrated pilgrimage of Our Lady at Liesse, especially since the devil seemed to fear that place so much. Next day Father de Motta began the exorcism in the church of Our Lady at Liesse, in the presence of an immense multitude. He took the Blessed Sacrament in his hand, and, showing it to the demon, he said: “I command thee, in the name of the living God, the great Emmanuel Whom thou seest here present, and in Whom thou believest.”


“Ah, yes!” shrieked the demon, “I believe in Him.” And the devil howled again as he made this confession, for it was wrung from him by the power of Almighty God.

“I command thee, then, in His Name,” said the priest, “to quit this body instantly.”

At these words, and especially at the sight of the Blessed Sacrament, the devil suffered the most frightful torture. At one moment the body of Nicola was rolled up like a ball; then again she became fearfully swollen. At one time her face was unnaturally lengthened, then excessively widened, and sometimes it was as red as scarlet. Her eyes, at times, protruded horribly, and then again sunk deeply into her skull. Her tongue hung down to her chin; it was sometimes black, sometimes red, and sometimes spotted like a toad. The priest still continued to urge and torture Satan. “Accursed spirit!” he cried, “I command thee, in the Name and by the real presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ here in the Blessed Sacrament, to depart instantly from the body of this poor creature.

“Ah, yes!” cried Satan, howling wildly, “twenty-six of my companions shall leave this instant, for they are forced to do so.”

The people in the church now began to pray with great fervor. Suddenly Nicola’s limbs began to crack, as if every bone in her body were breaking; a pestilential vapor came forth from her mouth, and twenty-six devils departed from her, never more to return. Nicola then fell into an unnatural swoon, from which she was aroused only by the Blessed Sacrament. On recovering her senses, and receiving holy communion, Nicola’s face shone like the face of an angel. The priest still continued to urge the demon, and used every means to expel him.

“I will not leave, unless commanded by the bishop of Leon,” answered the demon, angrily.

Nicola was now taken to Pierrepont, where one of the demons, name Legio, was expelled by means of the Blessed Sacrament. Next morning Nicola was brought to the church. Scarcely had she quitted the house, when the devil again took possession of her. The bishop who was requested to exorcise Nicola, prepared himself for this terrible task by prayer and fasting, and other works of penance. On arrival of Nicola in the Church, the exorcism began. “How many are you in this body?” asked the bishop.

“There are three of us,” answered the evil spirit.

“What are your names?”

“Beelzebub, Cerberus, and Astaroth.”

“What has become of the others?” asked the bishop.

“They have been expelled,” answered Satan.

“Who expelled them?”

“Ha!” cried the devil, gnashing his teeth, “it was He whom you hold in your hand, there on the paten.” The devil meant our dear Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

The bishop then held the Blessed Sacrament near the face of Nicola. The demon writhed and howled in agony. “Ah, yes! I will go, I will go!” he shrieked, “but I shall return.”

Suddenly Nicola became stiff and motionless as marble. The bishop then touched her lips with the Blessed Sacrament, and in an instant she was fully restored to consciousness. She received holy communion, and her countenance now shone with a wondrous, supernatural beauty. Next day Nicola was brought again to the Church, and the exorcism began as usual. The bishop took the Blessed Sacrament in his hand, held it near the face of Nicola, and said:

“I command thee in the name of the living God, and by the real presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ here in the sacrament of the altar, to depart instantly from the body of this creature of God, and never more to return.”

“No! No!” shrieked the devil, “I will not go. My hour is not yet come.”

“I command thee to depart. Go forth, impure, accursed spirit! Go forth!” and the bishop held the Blessed Sacrament close to Nicola’s face.

“Stop! stop!”, shrieked Satan; “let me go! I will depart – but I shall return.” And instantly Nicola fell into the most frightful convulsions. A black smoke was seen issuing from her mouth, and she fell again into a swoon.

During her stay in Leon, Nicola was carefully examined by Catholic and Protestant physicians. Her left arm, which had been paralyzed by the devil, was found entirely without feeling. The doctors cut into the arm with a sharp knife; they burnt it with fire; they drove pins and needles under the nails of the fingers; but Nicola felt not pain; her arm was utterly insensible. Once, while Nicola was lying in a state of unnatural lethargy, the doctors gave her some bread soaked in wine (it was what the Protestants call their communion, or Lord’s Supper); they rubbed her limbs briskly; they threw water in her face; they pierced her tongue until the blood flowed; they tried every possible means to arouse her, but in vain! Nicola remained cold and motionless as marble. At last, the priest touched the lips of Nicola with the Blessed Sacrament, and instantly she was restored to consciousness, and began to praise God.

The miracle was so clear, so palpable, that one of the doctors, who was a bigoted Calvinist, immediately renounced his errors, and became a Catholic. Several times, also, the Protestants touched Nicola’s face with a host which was not consecrated, and which, consequently, was only bread, but Satan was not the least tormented by this. He only ridiculed their efforts.

On the twenty-seventh of January, the bishop, after having walked in solemn procession with the clergy and the faithful, began the exorcism in church, in the presence of a vast multitude of Protestants and Catholics. The bishop now held the Blessed Sacrament close to the face of Nicola. Suddenly a wild, unearthly yell rings through the air — a black, heavy smoke issues from the mouth of Nicola. The demon Astaroth is expelled forever. During the exorcism which took place on the first of February, the bishop said:

“O accursed spirit! Since neither prayer, nor the holy gospels, neither the exorcisms of the Church, nor the holy relics, can compel thee to depart, I will now show thee thy Lord and Master, and by His power I command thee.”

During the exorcism, which took place after Mass, the bishop held the Blessed Sacrament in his hand, and said: “O accursed spirit, arch-enemy of the ever-blessed God! I command thee, by the precious blood of Jesus Christ here present, to depart from this poor woman! Depart accursed, into the everlasting flames of hell!”

At these words, and especially at the sight of the Blessed Sacrament, the demon was so fearfully tormented, and the appearance of Nicola was so hideous and revolting, that the people turned away their eyes in horror. At last a heavy sigh was heard, and a cloud of black smoke issued from the mouth of Nicola. Cerberus was expelled. Again Nicola fell into a death-like swoon, and again she was brought to consciousness only by means of the Blessed Sacrament. During the exorcism which took place on the seventh day of February, the bishop said to Satan:

“Tell me. Why hast thou taken possession of this honest and virtuous Catholic woman?”

“I have done so by permission of God. I have taken possession of her on account of the sins of the people. I have done it to show my Calvinists that there are devils who can take possession of man whenever God permits it. I know they do not want to believe this, but I will show them that I am the devil. I have taken possession of this creature in order to convert them, or to harden them in their sins; and, by the Sacred Blood, I will perform my task.”

This answer filled all who heard it with horror. “Yes,” answered the bishop, solemnly, “God desires to unite all men in the only holy faith. As there is but one God, so there can be but one true religion. A religion like that which the Protestants have invented, is but a hollow mockery. It must fall. The religion established by Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only true one; it alone shall last forever. It is destined to unite all men within its sacred embrace, so that there shall be but one sheepfold and one shepherd. This divine Shepherd is Our Lord Jesus Christ, the invisible head of the holy Roman Catholic Church, whose visible head is our holy Father the Pope, successor of St. Peter.”

The devil was silent – he was put to shame before the entire multitude. He was expelled once more by means of the Blessed Sacrament. In the afternoon of the same day the devil began to cry: “Ah! Ha! You think that you can expel me in this way. You have not the proper attendance of a bishop. Where are the dean and the archdean? Where are the royal judges? Where is the chief magistrate, who was frightened out of his wits that night, in the prison? Where is the procurator of the king? Where are his attorneys and counselors? Where is the clerk of the court?” (The devil mentioned each of these by name.) “I will not depart until all are assembled. Were I to depart now, what proof could you give to the king of all that has happened? Do you think that people will believe you so easily? No! No! There are many who would make objections. The testimony of these common country-people here will have but little weight. It is a torment to me that I must tell you what you have to do. I am forced to do it. Ha! Cursed be the hour in which I first took possession of this vile wretch.

“I find little pleasure in thy prating,” answered the bishop. “There are witnesses enough here. Those whom you have mentioned are not necessary. Depart! then; give glory to God. Depart – go to the flames of hell!”

“Yes, I shall depart, but not today. I know full well that I must depart. My sentence is passed; I am compelled to leave.”

“I care not for thy jabbering,” said the bishop, “I shall expel thee by the power of God: by the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Yes, I must yield to you,” shrieked the demon wildly. “It tortures me that I must give you this honor.”

The bishop now took the Blessed Sacrament in his hand, and held it close to the face of the possessed woman. At last, Satan was compelled to flee once more. The next morning, after the procession was ended, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered up as usual. During the consecration, the possessed woman was twice raised over six feet into the air, and then fell back heavily upon the platform. As the bishop, just before the Pater Noster, took the Sacred Host once more in his hand, and raised it with the chalice, the possessed woman was again whisked into the air, carrying with her the keepers, fifteen in number, at least six feet above the platform; and, after a while, she fell heavily back on the ground.

At this sight, all present were filled with amazement and terror. A German Protestant named Voske fell on his knees; he burst into tears; he was converted. “Ah!” cried he, “I now believe firmly that the devil really possesses this poor creature. I believe that it is really the body and blood of Jesus Christ which expels him. I believe firmly. I will no longer remain a Protestant.” After Mass, the exorcism began as usual.

“Now, at last,” said the bishop, “thou must depart. Away with thee, evil spirit!”

“Yes,” said Satan, “it is true that I must depart, but not yet. I will not go before the hour is come in which I first took possession of this wretched creature.”

At last the bishop took the Sacred Host in his hand, and said: “In the name of the adorable Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – in the name of the sacred body of Jesus Christ here present – I command thee, wicked spirit, to depart.”


“Yes, yes, it is true!” shrieked the demon wildly; “It is true. It is the body of God. I must confess it, for I am forced to do so. Ha! It tortures me that I must confess this, but I must. I speak the truth only when I am forced to do it. The truth is not from me. It comes from my Lord and Master. I have entered this body by the permission of God.”

The bishop now held the Blessed Sacrament close to the face of the possessed woman. The demon writhed in fearful agony. He tried in every way to escape from the presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. At length a black smoke was seen issuing from the mouth of Nicola. She fell into a swoon, and was restored to consciousness only by means of the Blessed Sacrament. The eighth of February, the day appointed by God on which Satan was to leave Nicola forever, arrived at last. After the solemn procession, the bishop began the last exorcism.

“I shall not ask thee any longer,” said the bishop to Satan, “when thou intendest to leave, I will expel thee instantly by the power of the living God, and by the precious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, His beloved Son, here present in the Sacrament of the Altar.”

“Ha, yes!” shrieked the demon. “I confess that the Son of God is here really and truly present. He is my Lord and Master. It tortures me to confess it, but I am forced to do so.” Then he repeated several times, with a wild, unearthly howl: “Yes, it is true. I must confess it. I am forced to leave, by the power of God’s body here present. I must – I must depart. It torments me that I must go so soon, and that I must confess this truth. But this truth is not from me; it comes from my Lord and Master, who has sent me hither, and who commands and compels me to confess the truth publicly.”

The bishop then took the Blessed Sacrament in his hand, and, holding it on high, he said, with a solemn voice: “O thou wicked, unclean spirit, Beelzebub! Thou arch-enemy of the eternal God! Behold, here present, the precious Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Lord and Master! I adjure thee, in the name and by the power of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, true God and true man, who is here present; I command thee to depart instantly and forever from this creature of God. Depart to the deepest depth of hell, there to be tormented forever. Go forth, unclean spirit, go forth – behold here thy Lord and Master!”

At these solemn words, and at the sight of our sacramental Lord, the poor possessed woman writhed fearfully. Her limbs cracked as if every bone in her body were breaking. The fifteen strong men who held her, could scarcely keep her back. They staggered from side to side; they were covered with perspiration. Satan tried to escape from the presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. The mouth of Nicola was wide open, her tongue hung down below her chin, her face was shockingly swollen and distorted. Her color changed from yellow to green, and became even gray and blue, so that she no longer looked like a human being; it was rather the face of a hideous, incarnate demon. All present trembled with terror, especially when they heard the wild cry of the demon, which sounded like the loud roar of a wild bull. They fell on their knees, and with tears in their eyes, began to cry out: “Jesus, have mercy!”

The bishop continued to urge Satan. At last the evil spirit departed, and Nicola fell back senseless into the arms of her keepers. She still, however, remained shockingly distorted. In this state she was shown to the judges, and to all the people present; she was rolled up like a ball. The bishop now fell on his knees, in order to give her the Blessed Sacrament as usual. But see! Suddenly the demon returns, wild with rage, endeavors to seize the hand of the bishop, and even tries to grasp the Blessed Sacrament itself. The bishop starts back; Nicola is carried into the air and the bishop rises from his knees, trembling with terror and pale as death.

The good bishop takes courage again; he pursues the demon, holding the Blessed Sacrament in his hand, till at length the demon, overcome by the power of Our Lord’s sacred body, goes forth amidst smoke, and lightning, and thunder. Thus was the demon at length expelled forever, on Friday afternoon, at three o’clock, the same day and hour on which Our Lord triumphed over hell by His ever-blessed death.

Nicola was now completely cured; she could move her left arm with the greatest ease. She fell on her knees and thanked God, as well as the good bishop, for all he had done for her. The people wept for joy, and sang hymns of praise and thanksgiving in honor of our dear Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. On all sides were heard the exclamations: “Oh, what a great miracle! Oh, thank God that I witnessed it! Who is there now that can doubt of the real presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar!” Many a Protestant also said: “I believe now in the presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament; I have seen with my eyes! I will remain a Calvinist no longer. Accursed be those who have hitherto kept me in error! Oh, now I can understand what a good thing is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!”

A solemn Te Deum was intoned; the organ pealed forth and the bells rung forth a merry chime. The whole city was filled with joy.

This great triumph of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament over Satan occurred in the presence of more than 150,000 people, in the presence of the ecclesiastical and civil authorities of the city, of Protestants and Catholics alike. I have published a lengthy account of this extraordinary affair in a little volume entitled “Triumph of the Blessed Sacrament.”

 
The above was taken from Chapter 5 of the book The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Fr. Michael Muller, C.Ss.R. (Imprimatur: Archbishop McClosky, New York – 1884); published by TAN Books.