“Robert Hopcke was a Lutheran seminarian in September, 1978 when he attended Mass at a Catholic Church near the campus of the University of Pennsylvania with his friend Vincent Mandato. He recounted: ‘At Mass, just before the homily, I remember smelling very distinctly the odor of roses … I didn’t think much of it, and it seemed to go away only to come back again, just as sweet and just as strong during the Creed. At that time, I recall looking around to see who the woman was nearby who had doused herself with so much scent, but there was no woman near us. I tried to locate a flower arrangement in the church that could be giving off such a perfume, but again, there was no arrangement nearby, and no roses in the church at all. I thought perhaps it could be the scented candles, but the strength of the odor was such that the faraway candles would have had to fill the church with their scent, and surely I would have smelled such a powerful fragrance immediately upon entering the church and not halfway through the Mass. The odor seemed to fade again, and came back for the third and final time during the consecration of the Host.‘”
After the Mass, his friend Vincent asked him if he had smelled something strange during the Mass. When Hopcke confirmed having the same experience, Mandato suggested that Hopcke talk to Mandato’s parents back in Plainfield, New Jersey. Hopcke was on his way there the next day. Upon arriving, he followed Mandato’s suggestion.
Mandato’s father had known a certain Capuchin priest back in Italy, Padre Pio. Mandato’s mother had a further connection, she was his cousin. Many wondrous stories had circulated about the man for years, miraculous healings, bilocations, the ability to tell people about sins they had even forgotten during their confessions, and other inexplicable happenings. In speaking of these later, “Hopcke concluded: ‘Not having known Padre Pio personally, as have the Mandatos, and having, I like to think, a very rational, logical mind, I neither totally believe nor disbelieve the stories of Padre Pio. The sheer volume of them tends to make me believe that something totally miraculous took place in the presence of that holy, devout Capuchin.‘”
During his visit to Vincent’s parents, as Hopcke began to explain the events that had taken place at church, “the elder Mandato finished the description: ‘It was very sweet and very strong, like the scent of roses, a garden of roses in decline, and it came and went a number of times, three or four times.’” Hopcke then stated that this was exactly like the experience he had. Mrs. Mandato told him that he had received a grace from Padre Pio. She had no doubt. Many people had experienced such a smell in connection with Padre Pio. It was something for which he was well-known.
Hopcke himself was not convinced. He remained skeptical, but still cannot explain the sweet smell, the fact that his friend separately knew of it, the fact that it came and went and the fact that there was no other observable cause.
It is also something to cause wonder that it ended with the consecration of the Host, as if that was a moment of culmination, as if there was nothing that could follow it. Someone known by the writer of this post experienced just such a smell once. It was in the presence of the Eucharist, at Marytown in Illinois. It was an experience shared by the person he was with and mutually related later, just as happened in the story above. There may not have been any connection with Padre Pio, but there was a connection, in both of these episodes, with the Eucharist.
(Quoted parts taken from Padre Pio: The True Story, by C. Bernard Ruffin (Huntington, Indiana, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 1991) p. 321-22.)
Raymond of Capua, beatified by the Catholic Church in 1899, was the confessor of St Catherine of Siena. He tells of an occasion when he celebrated Holy Mass without St. Catherine being present. At the proper time after the Consecration he broke the Host, but instead of separating it in half, it divided into three parts, two large and one small. This small part, “whilst I was attentively regarding it, appeared to me to fall on the corporal, by the side of the chalice over which I made the fracture. I saw it clearly descend toward the altar, but I could not distinguish it on the corporal.” After searching in vain, Raymond continued with the Mass. Afterward, he carefully covered the altar and asked the sacristan to guard the surrounding area.
Hurrying to find Catherine, Blessed Raymond related the incident of the missing particle and voiced his suspicion that perhaps Catherine had mystically received it. Catherine reassured him with the words, “Father, have no further anxiety respecting the particle of the Sacred Host. Truly I tell you as my confessor and spiritual father, that the Heavenly Bridegroom brought it to me Himself and I have received it out of His divine hand .“
(Taken in almost complete part from Eucharistic Miracles, by Joan Carroll Cruz (Charlotte, North Carolina, Tan Books, 2010) p. 261-62.)
On October 16, 2010, a party of 46 pilgrims from Switzerland gathered to board a bus to Medjugorje. Among the travellers was a blind woman Joëlle and her 12-year-old daughter Vinciane. They were accompanied by Claudia, a family friend.
…The following day, most of the group climbed Mt Krizevac, but for Joëlle and a few others, including the pastor, they prayed instead at the Way of the Cross that surrounds the statue of the Risen Christ. The main group on Krizevac prayed earnestly for the needs of Joëlle, and in the hope that she might recover her sight. Six hours later they came off the mountain in time to attend evening Mass at St James.
It was during this Mass that something remarkable happened. At the distribution of the Eucharist Joëlle raised her head and saw in front of her a priest wearing a white alb. She looked up and was able to see the lights in the church, its high ceiling and windows. The shock to Joëlle was so great that she started to feel unwell again and asked her friend to take her outside. When Joëlle made her exit she turned to Claudia and said, “I see the light!”
…Afterwards some pilgrims told how they were placed behind Joëlle when she received communion, and how they had experienced such a strong smell of roses at the time.
…Joëlle later gave more details about her healing. She said that it was on the first night after Mass that she was able to distinguish light, see people’s faces and their lips move. During the following days her vision gradually improved. She is now able to see her two brothers and parents after 42 years of being blind. She said it was her parents who taught her to love Jesus and Mary and she has never stopped praying to them. She said she is also grateful for the gift of Vinciane, her “torch”, as she describes her daughter.
After she regained her sight Joëlle was faced with many difficulties adjusting to her new world, especially at the sight of so many tall buildings and seeing so many people. This would often produce an adverse reaction in her and she would feel sick. But Joëlle said that with the grace of Jesus and Mary she will overcome the problems and challenges that her healing has brought. Now she can distinguish colours, houses, trees and vegetation, cars, people, the sun, and her cat! And although she is still under the care of an ophthalmologist, Joëlle said that she has firm faith that Jesus will complete the work he has started. Her daughter is now able to have her own room in their apartment and has said to her mother, “Peace lives in our apartment!”
A final word from Joëlle: “This healing has given me the body of an adult, but left me with the heart of a child..”
Marie Therese Canin was born in 1910. By the time she was 26 years of age, tuberculosis had killed her parents and had attacked her spinal column (Pott’s Disease) as well as her abdomen.
For more than 10 years, her life was one continuous round of hospital admissions and operations, (bone grafts to her spine and sacro-iliac joint). There were fleeting improvements allowing minimum activity. From the beginning of 1947, her general health declined, with oedema of both lower limbs, a vaginal fistula, and very frequent collapses. In this state, verging on cachexia, weighing only 38 kg. she arrived in Lourdes on October 7, 1947.
On October 9th, she was in attendance for the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament, where the Eucharist is carried in a monstrance through the assembled crowd. After the procession, she felt better, could get up, move about, and eat the evening meal.
She was examined by the Medical Bureau the next day and was considered, from her physical characteristics, as presenting a complete improvement.
Her condition remained the same after a year, without any set-back. She was examined again by the Medical Bureau in June of 1948, which found that she had regained her former weight, 55 kg. All those present at the Bureau verified that she was cured, with no medical explanation able to be given.
At the Meeting of the National Medical Committee on February 27, 1949, it was confirmed that “there was no natural or scientific explanation for this cure”.
Three years later, on June 6, 1952, the Archbishop of Marseilles declared that the cure of Marie-Therese Canin was in fact miraculous.
The apparitions of the Lady of All Nations to Ida Peerdeman have not been denounced by the Church and so, on Friday, July 17, 1992, when I was in Amsterdam for a meeting of the Scientific Committee of the World Aids Foundation, I visited the home and private chapel of Ida, then in her late eighties. As I entered the hallway she told me that the day of my visit was the anniversary of her “Eucharistic experience,” which occurred in 1958 when, before the celebration of the Mass began, she suddenly saw a huge and almost blindingly white Host in front of the altar: “It was white fire – magnificent.” The vision slowly faded away and the altar was then bathed in a beautiful light. It all lasted for a moment.
(Taken from My Daily Eucharist II by Joan Carter McHugh, and an excerpt contained there from A Scientist Researches Mary: The Ark of the Covenant, by Dr. Courtenay Bartholomew.)
St. Juliana Falconieri was on her deathbed. She sought to receive Holy Communion one final time, but it was not allowed. She had been ill and her stomach could not hold anything down. She then asked that the Eucharist might be brought to her so that she might at least greet it with a kiss. This request too, however, was declined. She then requested that the Blessed Sacrament at least be placed upon her chest so that she could be near it as she passed. This was done. As she drew her final breath, the Host disappeared and could not be found by anyone there. Those present could not avoid the thought that the Lord had disregarded her illness and, in His own way, permitted her to receive Him as she had wished.
Taken in substance from The Blessed Eucharist, Our Greatest Treasure, by Michael Muller (New York and Cincinnati, Fr. Pustet, 1880) p. 80.
A well-known story of St. Anthony dates back to 1227. In an Italian town on the Adriatic coast called Rimini, St. Anthony was party to a certain challenge with a man named Bonovillo. Bonovillo was ardently opposed to any belief that the Eucharist constituted the actual presence of Christ. Although St. Anthony tried to persuade him with various arguments, Bonovillo would not be swayed. At last, he came upon a test for St. Anthony to prove what he had been saying.
Bonovillo would not feed one of his mules for three days. At the end of that time, he would bring the animal to the town square. There, he would place some food before him and St. Anthony could bring one of the wafers that supposedly were so holy. If God was present, the beast would reverence Him. If not, it would simply eat the food in front of him.
On the appointed day, St. Anthony did appear with the Eucharist. After announcing that his words to follow were being offered in the name of God, he instructed the animal to come forward any pay homage to the Lord. The mule not only passed over the food, it came before the Eucharist, knelt on its fore legs and bowed its head.
This story can of course be dismissed, since we were not there. On the other hand, it could be that something miraculous occurred, precisely because the Eucharist is exactly what it is supposed to be, the Real Presence. Bonovillo thought so. He converted then and there.
The people of Rimini thought so as well. They erected a small chapel to commemorate the spot of the miracle, in the Grand Piazza of the town, now the Piazza Tre Martiri. To this day, tourists can visit the Tempietto di Sant’ Antonio, pictured below.
Nicole Gausseron was a wife, mother and head of a homeless shelter for men in Chartres France. During the 1980s and 1990s she kept little notebooks of on ongoing dialogue she had with Jesus. She struggles with the death of her father and husband, the seeming absence of Jesus and other difficulties. Through it all, He is her consolation. From such notebooks, the following is taken.
“June 5 (chapel). This evening the Lord is neither standing nor sitting. We are united. It’s good to pause with Him.
– Where are you, Lord?
– ‘In you, in Pierre. I’m at home in you.’
I wait. At the moment Pierre raises the Host, the image of Christ’s face from the Holy Shroud appears on the Host.
– Lord, is what I’m seeing really true? I feel very calm but I can hardly believe what I’m seeing, nor do I say it.
I tell it to the others.
– Why are you giving me all this, Lord?
– ‘To make all of you free of care so that you care only for me.’”
(Taken from My Daily Eucharist II by Joan Carter McHugh, and an excerpt contained there from The Little Notebook, by Nicole Gausseron.)
Fr. Johnson Karnoor was a parish priest in southern India when he witnessed certain events for which he later had to give a deposition. In that deposition, he described them as follows: “On April 28, 2001, in the parish church of St. Mary of Chirattakonam, we began the Novena to St. Jude Thaddeus as we did every year. At 8:49am, I exposed the Most Holy Sacrament in the monstrance for public adoration. After a few moments I saw what appeared to be three dots in the Holy Eucharist. I then stopped praying and began to look at the monstrance, also inviting the faithful to admire the three dots. I then asked the faithful to remain in prayer and reposed the monstrance in the tabernacle. On April 30th, I celebrated the Holy Mass and on the following day I left for Trivandrum. On Saturday morning, the 5th of May 2001, I opened the church for the usual liturgical celebrations. I vested for Mass and went to open the tabernacle to see what had happened to the Eucharist in the monstrance. I immediately noted in the Host, a figure, to the likeness of a human face. I was deeply moved and asked the faithful to kneel and begin praying. I thought I alone could see the face so I asked the altar server what he noticed in the monstrance. He answered: ‘I see the figure of a man.’ I noticed that the rest of the faithful were looking intently at the monstrance.
“We began Adoration and as the minutes went by, the image became more and more clear. I did not have the courage to say anything and I began to cry. During Adoration, we have the practice of reading a passage from Holy Scriptures. The reading of the day was the one from Chapter 20 in the Gospel of John, which narrates the story of when Jesus appeared to St. Thomas and asked him to look at the wounds. I was only able to say a few words in my homily, and, having to leave for the nearby parish of Kokkodu to celebrate Mass, I immediately summoned a photographer to take pictures of the Holy Eucharist with the human face on it. After two hours all the photos were developed; with the passing of the time the face in every photo became more and more clear.
(Taken in substantial part from “The Eucharistic Miracles of the World,” a Vatican international exhibition, as reported by The Real Presence Eucharistic Adoration Association, http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/engl_mir.htm)
Linda Callaghan reluctantly joined Paul, her husband, for Mass at Marytown on August 1, 1996. She felt the presence of Our Lord and Our Lady in a way she had not experienced since childhood. She made Paul bring her back the next day. And the next. Four days in a row she attended Mass at Marytown, and now she found herself unable to remain separated from the Eucharist.
On Saturday, August 4, 1996, Linda prayed, “Please hear me God. I’m so sorry for not having gone to confession. But I’m going to go up for Holy Communion anyway. Please forgive me. I want you so badly.” … “I had such a burning desire that I was actually sweating. I had no thoughts except my desire for the Eucharist.” Her eyes closed and her smile widened as she remembered the crucial event.
“And I inched to the end of the pew and headed up the aisle. I was near the altar as I realized that I had left my walker in the pew. And I was walking!”
Linda’s body froze upon discovering what was happening. “I just stopped, feeling trapped. I can still see myself glancing back over my shoulder. I was looking back at the pew, thinking about whether or not to head back for the walker. But I had to trust God, and I just kept walking towards the priest and that Eucharist, which I received. And I haven’t stopped walking since.”
(Taken from My Daily Eucharist II by Joan Carter McHugh, and an excerpt contained there by Carrie Swearingen from the March/April 1997 edition of Immaculata magazine.)