Eugene H. Dierks, III always was a 12-year-old altar boy at St. Thomas More Church. One day, he served at the 8:30 Mass. During the first reading, he wondered whether the Mass itself was a sham. Perhaps Jesus had fooled everyone around him during His time. Perhaps the worship of Him, over 2,000 years, had been one colossal waste of time.
Then he thought that if God was in fact real, He would have no problem proving it to him. He prayed for a sign, not something that could be doubted or mistaken, but something concrete and real. He hoped that, if God really loved him, personally, He would do this before the end if the Mass.
Throughout the rest of the Mass, he kept looking for his sign. It never came. At the end of the Mass, he led the procession toward the rear of the church, greatly disappointed.
After everyone had left the church, he went back toward the altar, to collect the used communion articles so that they could be cleansed. As he did so, his thoughts turned to what he would do next. He could not go to Mass anymore, having determined for himself it was a farce. He thought about telling his father, but knew he would never understand. His only answer was to go through the motions of attending weekly Mass, until he was old enough to move away from home.
He picked up three empty ciboriums and walked back to the sacristy. Upon reaching it, he took the lids off of the ciboriums and his “jaw dropped.” One of the ciboriums was full.
He quickly motioned for Deacon John to come, but he merely grabbed the ciborium and took it back to the tabernacle. When he got to the sacristy once again, he was confused. He knew there were only three full ciboriums. Since there had been a full ciborium in the sacristy, thought that he must have put an empty one in the tabernacle during the Mass by mistake. Upon returning to the tabernacle just now, however, he found that there were in fact three full ciboriums already there. He shrugged it off, saying, “ I must be getting old.”
Eugene knew differently. He was too scared to mention it at the time, feeling that no one would believe him. The memory of it was not one to leave him though. No longer could he think in the way he had before, that the Mass was just a giant hoax.
Adapted from Proctor, Sister Patricia, O.S.C., 201 Inspirational Stories of the Eucharist (Spokane, Washington, Francisan Monastery of Saint Clare, 2004) p. 39-41.
A woman named Rita Pilger was suffering from pain in her hip when she attended a certain weekend conference. During Mass on Sunday, the pain was quite severe. When she received Communion, however, she suddenly felt no pain. She returned to her seat and felt a “readjustment” in her hip socket, then another “readjustment” or movement across her hip and abdomen. Her leg then felt very light. Several days passed and she still had no return of the pain when she wrote of her experience.
DeGrandis, Robert, S.S.J., Healing Through the Mass (Totowa, New Jersey, Resurrection Press, 1992) p. 141-42).
Debbie Gerard returned to the Catholic faith in 1994. The following year, she attended a Marian conference in Rochester, New York and was eager to attend Eucharistic adoration. When she made it to the area designated for this, she found it packed, except for one seat directly in front of the monstrance. She took that seat, but was greatly surprised when she saw a picture of Jesus had been inserted when the Host should have been.
She thought it was just one more change from way things were done in the Church she used to know. Since she had fallen away years before, the Mass was no longer done in Latin, railings were removed from the altar sanctuaries, tabernacles were moved to the side or even behind a wall and people frequently came to church on Sundays dressed in mini skirts, tank tops and similar attire. She simply assumed this was one more change.
On the way home afterwards, she was riding in a car with three other companions. When asked about what they saw, each one confirmed they had seen merely the Host. They then queried her as to why she was even asking. She confided to them that she had never seen the Host, only Jesus. It was then that she realized she had not been looking at a picture placed in the monstrance. She was in fact witness to something seen only by her, a special privilege she was given that day and remembers to this one.
Adapted from Proctor, Sister Patricia, O.S.C., 201 Inspirational Stories of the Eucharist (Spokane, Washington, Francisan Monastery of Saint Clare, 2004) p. 36.
In 887, a monastery was founded in the Catalonia region of Spain. It was called “Saint John of the Abbesses.” The monastery is noteworthy today for something that happened almost 400 years later.
In 1251, some figures were carved in wood, depicting Jesus being taken down from the Cross. They included Jesus, His Mother, the Apostle John, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus and the two criminals crucified with Him. In the forehead of the statue of Jesus, the woodcarver made a depression, approximately two and a half inches in diameter, for the apparent purpose of enclosing a host.
A consecrated Host was indeed placed there and sealed with a small silver plaque. It was forgotten until, in 1426, work was done to restore the statues. Then the Host was discovered, wrapped in a white linen cloth, totally uncorrupted.
The statue survived the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and that same Host, known as “The Most Holy Mystery of Saint John of the Abbesses” is still visited by numerous pilgrims to this day.
Source: “The Eucharistic Miracles of the World,” a Vatican international exhibition, as reported by The Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration and Association, http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/english_pdf/johnofabbesses.pdf.
Coreen Marson gave birth to her first child on August 30, 1956, in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. It was a difficult delivery and the specialist who performed emergency surgery that day thought that neither mother nor daughter would survive long. He was proven wrong and both got to leave the hospital and go home.
A week afterwards, however, Coreen developed a blood clot in her left lung, as well as pneumonia. She returned to St. Francis Catholic Hospital and spent the next seven weeks there. Each morning, she heard a little bell being rung, to announce the coming of the Holy Eucharist, as it was being brought into the room of another patient. She had wanted to receive daily Communion herself, but was young and did not know how to arrange for it.
After having spent several weeks in the hospital, her condition was not improving. Then, a beautiful young nun in a white habit came and, after attending to some nursing duties with her roommate, asked why Coreen was not receiving the Holy Sacrament. She replied that she very much wanted to, but did not know who to ask about it. The nun told her to ask mother superior the next time that she came in to see her. Coreen said that she also needed to go to confession before receiving the Eucharist. The nun told her that mother superior could arrange for that as well.
While she had been in the hospital, mother superior had rarely come in to see Coreen. Shortly after the nun in the white habit left, however, she came again. She promptly agreed to both of the requests put to her. Then Coreen asked about the beautiful young nun in the white habit. Mother superior informed her there were no nuns in white habits who worked at that ward.
Shortly after she began to take Holy Communion daily, Coreen began to improve. She proceeded to recover fully and returned home.
Over the years that followed, Coreen came to this same hospital, for the births of other children as well as many visits for other family members. She never saw a nun in a white habit again.
Who was the nun in the white habit? How did she know, when only visiting Coreen for the first time, that she had not been receiving the Eucharist? Why had her condition only begun to improve afterwards?
The answers to these questions may of course be different depending on whether the person asking them has any faith. For the young mother in this story, one thing is sure, as it is simple. She received a moment of grace when she was in need of it.
Adapted from Proctor, Sister Patricia, O.S.C., 201 Inspirational Stories of the Eucharist (Spokane, Washington, Francisan Monastery of Saint Clare, 2004) p. 25-26.
In 1946, Fr. Gino Violini was assigned to St. Joseph’s, a small, wooden mission church in Cowley, a village near the base of the Canadian Rockies. It was a poor parish with few people who would come to church. At his first Sunday Mass, nine people were present. His first Christmas collection raised a grand total of $1.13. Fr. Violini had little to live on, slept in a rectory where snow came through the walls and became rather dejected. He sought to be transferred, but his requests were declined.
After one of them was turned down, Fr. Violini headed to the church for morning prayers on the Feast of Corpus Christi. He was surprised, however, to find the church ransacked. The front door was off its hinges, statues inside had been destroyed and the tabernacle had been broken open. Consecrated hosts had been strewn about. He picked them up one by one and, after counting them, found that one was missing. The large Benediction Host was not there.
He contacted Fr. Harrigan at the nearby Crowsnest deanery who organized a search party. Two thousand people joined in, but none from Cowley itself. They seached along a main highway and in parts of various villages in the area, without success.
Then, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police picked up two suspects, in Cowley. Fr. Violini offered to drop all charges against them if they would help him find the Host. They admitted having had the Host at one time, but said they threw it out of their truck window so that it could not be used as evidence against them. They then all got into a police cruiser and headed for the area.
Fr. Violini wondered how the searchers had not found it by the side of the road. As it had been raining, he thought perhaps it had dissolved. If they did find It, It would likely be in poor condition.
As they arrived at the spot, east of the village of Bellevue, each of them saw something that stopped them short. They saw colored rays of light emanating from a center point elevated off the ground. They saw the Host Itself at the center of those rays. Fr. Violini exited the car before it had even stopped and ran toward It. Sergeant Parsons ran after him. They both fell to their knees, Sergeant Parsons doing so in a pool of mud.
Fr. Violini observed that the Host looked fresh and white, without any signs of damage. As he reached up to take possession of It, everyone there heard a voice say, “Father Gino, please take me back to Cowley.”
After this incident, Sergeant Parsons, his wife, his children and two of his constables from Pincher Creek, asked for instruction in the Catholic faith. Catholics in the area began to return to the church. During Mass, the local beer hall would shut down and many of the patrons, even those who were not Catholic, would carry their bar stools to the church and listen to Fr. Violini’s homilies. They even had to remove the pot-bellied stove in the church to make more room for all the people who were now coming.
Source: “Canada’s Eucharistic Miracle,” an article published by the Society of St. Pius X in Canada, which may be found at http://fsspx.com/EucharisticCrusade/2006_April/Canadas_Eucharistic_Miracle.htm.
In November of 1979, a woman was at a family life conference in Canada. Her mind, however, was 1,500 miles away. The woman’s father was seriouly ill in a hospital. He had been there for several weeks. Although she wanted to be with him and the rest of her family, she could not make the trip. She had a husband and two small children, one two years old and one only six months. They needed her at home.
At the end of the conference, a Mass was said. The woman prayed that, if her dad died, he “would know the full glory of the risen Christ.” As the Communion hymn was sung, “I Am the Bread of Life,” she experienced a profound union with her dad, one she could not describe. The words, “He who comes to me shall not hunger … and I will raise him up on the last day,” seemed to be full of meaning intended just for her.
Upon walking in her home, she could her the phone ringing. One of her sisters was calling her with the sad news that her dad had died.
A short while later, she realized that the time of her father’s death was exactly the same time as she felt the indescribable union with him at the time of Communion. She surmised that she had been together with her dad, in spirit, through Christ.
Twenty-five years afterwards, she recounted this story. She also said that every time she hears that song at Communion, she is brought back to the time she was given a special grace.
Based on Proctor, Sister Patricia, O.S.C., 201 Inspirational Stories of the Eucharist (Spokane, Washington, Francisan Monastery of Saint Clare, 2004) p. 35.
Sir Richard of Kilkenney was an attorney in Ireland during the 16th century. He was regarded as a rather irreligious man and took some satisfaction in trying to disrupt others from their religious practices. While others were at Mass on Sundays, he was known to take his dogs out for hunting, hoping their barking would distract those attempting to pray.
Thinking to cause a similar nuissance, he once approached a crowd of worshippers. They were awaiting the arrival of the Blessed Sacrament, which was being carried in a procession through the streets. Sir Richard rode toward the group with his hounds and tried to spur his horse through them.
The horse, however, refused to obey. Instead, it was reported to have knelt down and refused to rise until the Blessed Sacrament had passed.
Sir Richard reformed his religious ways after that. According to local tradition, he erected a blue cross on the spot to mark the incident.
Based on Cruz, Caroll, Eucharistic Miracles (Charlotte, North Carolina, Tan Books, 2010) p. 227.
St. Lawrence of Brindisi was a native of Naples who often experienced states of ecstasy while saying Mass. One day, immediately after the Consecration, he saw “the Saviour Himself, visibly, in the sacred Host.” He appeared in the form of a little child to St. Lawrence.
Brother Adam de Rovigo was officiating at the Mass. He also “saw the Infant Jesus, and fell as if dead in a faint at the foot of the altar.”
Based on, and quotes taken from, Cruz, Caroll, Eucharistic Miracles (Charlotte, North Carolina, Tan Books, 2010) p. 275.
St. Charbel Makhlouf was born in Lebanon in 1828. After spending his first sixteen years as a priest in a monastery, he retired to the Hermitage of Saints Peter and Paul in 1875. For the next twenty-three years, he lived a very austere life, engaging in various forms of mortification.
His life essentially became one large episode of adoration for the Blessed Eucharist. Each day he prepared all morning for Mass, which he said at 11:00 a.m., and then spent the rest of the day in thanksgiving.
While saying Mass one day, he suffered a seizure. The Holy Eucharist had to be pried from his fingers. Eight days later, on Christmas Eve, he died.
The body of this Maronite monk remained incorrupt for over fifty years after his death, despite being found during one exhumation to be floating on a bed of water and mud. He was beatified in 1965 and from that time his body no longer remained exempt from the laws of nature.
Based on an entry in My Daily Eucharist, by Joan Carter McHugh, containing an excerpt from The Incorruptibles by Joan Carroll Cruz. Additional source: http://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2010/10/saint-charbel-sharbel-makhlouf-maronite.html