On Easter, 1990, Kathleen Ellerston attended Mass in a strange community. Her husband was in the military and they had recently moved. He was not with her that day. She was alone. She also felt perhaps somewhat self-conscious. She was wearing a scarf over her head, to cover the baldness cause by her chemotherapy treatments.
Over the past several months, a lot had been going on. Besides her cancer battle, she had become aware of His Real Presence during eucharistic adoration. Masses had become alive for her, She had been fasting and praying during Lent, which made it her “best ever.”
This particular Mass, on Easter, capped it off. During the consecration, when the Host was raised, she saw the “living face of the crucified Christ” in it. Then she interiorly heard something odd, “not for you.” Then, the face disappeared.
After Mass had concluded, she approached the priest and told him her story. The priest told her that he knew the meaning of what she had heard.
Earlier that week, another person had approached this priest and also spoke of seeing Christ in the Host. Her vision, and the message she received, served as confirmation for this other person that the spectacle witnessed earlier had in fact been true.
Of course, it also served to reaffirm her faith.
And by her telling this story, it can now also help others. For if she had imagined this vision, how unlikely for her to also imagine a voice denying her own significance in regard to it.
Adapted from Proctor, Sister Patricia, O.S.C., 201 Inspirational Stories of the Eucharist (Spokane, Washington, Francisan Monastery of Saint Clare, 2004) p. 209.
For St. Laurence of Brindisi, celebrating the Mass was a deeply emotional experience. He often wept and went through several handkerchiefs wiping away the tears.
D. Gio Stephen of Ferrari, Canon of the main church at Voltaggio secured some of St. Laurence’s handkerchiefs, and they became the instrument for a number of cures.
The Canon himself was one of those benefitted. He suffered from severe headaches for years, but after touching the handkerchiefs, he suffered from them no longer.
A young cleric named Julius Scorza suffered a fractured skull and doctors gave him up for dead. One of the handkerchiefs was applied, and he was healed.
A woman in Naples, Angela Sciammarro was beset by a swelling of her throat. On the fifteenth day of this malady, her condition got so bad that she could not swallow at all. She was near death when one of the handkerchiefs was applied. She too was healed.
Another person, Adriana Rospolo was lame since birth and could only move about on her knees. Her mother applied one of these handkerchiefs and the girl was then able to walk.
These physical changes took place, as it is reported, from the use of such handkerchiefs, handkerchiefs used by the Saint during Mass, and present with him on the altar at the time of consecration.
Adapted from an entry in My Daily Eucharist II, by Joan Carter McHugh, and an excerpt contained there from The Round Table of Franciscan Research.
Sister James Marie Fitz-Gordon, from Kingston, Jamaica suffered from stomach ulcers for years. On one particular Saturday, she attended a healing Mass. As the priest elevated the Host after the consecration, she had a strong sense that she would be healed.
A few minutes later, she went up to receive Holy Communion. As she returned to her seat, she felt a very deep feeling of peace.
During the days that followed, she began to feel increasingly less pain. Several weeks later, she went in to see her doctor. He ordered a routine test to ascertain the condition of her ulcer, including the amount of scar tissue that had formed over the years.
Later, when the results came back, he told her the results showed she had no ulcers and no scar tissue.
Adapted from Proctor, Sister Patricia, O.S.C., 201 Inspirational Stories of the Eucharist (Spokane, Washington, Francisan Monastery of Saint Clare, 2004) p. 170.
Barbara Barlow has seen Jesus within the physical space of a consecrated Host on “several occasions.”
Once, she was in need of a serious operation, open heart surgery. While lying down, in a hospital, she saw Padre Pio. Then, she very quickly saw the Lord. It happened as a priest was bringing her Holy Communion.
She made it through the operation and afterwards served as a eucharistic minister in a Catholic hospital, bringing Communion to others who are ill, as had been done for her. On occasion, as she does this, she has seen a sorrowful Christ in the Host. Most of those she is ministering to do not see this.
She also says that, “afterwards, I notice specks of red in my pyx when I put the Host back in the tabernacle.”
For years, she has been a spiritual child of St. Pio of Pietrelcina (“Padre Pio”) and a devotee to His Sacred Heart and His precious wounds. When carrying out her Eucharistic minister duties in the hospital, she always carries a relic of Padre Pio and a relic of the true cross.
Adapted from Proctor, Sister Patricia, O.S.C., 201 Inspirational Stories of the Eucharist (Spokane, Washington, Francisan Monastery of Saint Clare, 2004) p. 138.
On November 27, 1830, St. Catherine Laboure had an apparition of the Blessed Moth which led to the Miraculous Medal being made. It all occurred while she was before the Blessed Sacrament. She describes it herself:
“While making Eucharistic Adoration in deep silence, I seemed to hear a sound coming from the side of the tribune, like the rustle of a silk dress. I got up and looked and saw the Holy Virgin. She was of medium build and indescribably beautiful. A white veil fell from her head to her feet and rested upon a half-globe. Her hands, raised to waist level in a natural position, held another small golden globe with a gold Cross on top. Her eyes looked beseechingly towards Heaven. While I was intent on contemplating her, the Holy Virgin lowered her eyes towards me and said these words: ‘This globe that you see represents the entire world, in particular France, and every single person.’ And the Virgin added, ‘The rays symbolize the graces shed on those who petition me’, making me understand how sweet it is to pray to the Blessed Virgin and how generous she is to those who invoke her. And then an oval frame formed around the figure of the Holy Virgin, with a semi-circular border of writing in gold above the right hand of Mary spelling out: ‘OH MARY, CONCEIVED WITHOUT SIN, PRAY FOR US WHO HAVE RECOURSE TO THEE’.
“At this point in the vision, the globe that Mary had offered to God disappeared; her hands, full of graces, faced the globe that she rested her feet upon, stepping on a green serpent with yellow spots. Suddenly the frame flipped and I saw the back of the medal showing the letter ‘M’ for Mary, and the Cross, and below the monogram there were two hearts; that of Jesus with the crown of thorns and Mary pierced by a sword. Around it like a frame, there was a regal crown of twelve little stars.
“Then I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Coin a medal in this style. All those who carry this will receive graces, especially if they wear the blessed medal around their neck and recite this short prayer. They will receive special protection from the Mother of God and will receive great graces. The graces will be abundant for those who wear it with great faith.’”
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/Laboure.pdf.
On this Feast of the Immaculate Conception, it seems fitting to offer the following story involving the Blessed Mother Mary and the Eucharist.
During the years of 1830 and 1831, St. Catherine Laboure was witness to five apparitions of the Blessed Mother in Paris, France. They were to be the cause for the making of the Miraculous Medal, a devotional article well known to Catholics.
The first such vision occurred late at night on July 18, 1830. She was awakened by a small boy, who appeared to be about five or six years of age, dressed all in white. He had a glow about him from an inner light. He insisted she go to the chapel because the Blessed Virgin wanted to see her there.
She followed the child to the chapel. With a touch of his finger, the heavy wooden entry door swung open. Inside, she was surprised to see the chapel brightly illumined, from every candle being lit, as at Christmas.
She went inside and took up a position, as directed by her young guide. Catherine herself wrote of what happened next: “I heard the rustling of a silken robe coming from the side of the sanctuary. The ‘Lady’ bowed before the tabernacle, and then seated herself in M. Richenet’s chair.”1 The Blessed Mother then proceeded to tell Catherine of a mission that was in store for her.
From the description above, it deserves repeating that the Blessed Mother, in this apparition to St. Catherine Laboure, “bowed before the tabernacle.”
(Tomorrow, we will continue this story with the next apparition, in which instructions for making the Miraculous Medal itself were given.
1 Odell, Catherine, Those Who Saw Her (Huntington, Indiana, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc. 1995) p. 64.
Father Dan Wetzler recalls the time, a number of years ago, when he performed a Mass in Spokane, Washington. An artist named Carlos was at the Mass. He had been the subject of an accident in which he had almost sliced off his finger. His right hand was now bandaged. During the time of consecration, a small group of people gathered around the altar and, as they did so, Carlos began to remove his bandages. Underneath, he found a finger that was completely healed.
Adapted from Proctor, Sister Patricia, O.S.C., 201 Inspirational Stories of the Eucharist (Spokane, Washington, Francisan Monastery of Saint Clare, 2004) p. 20.
During Lent of 1990, Kathleen Ellertson was battling breast cancer. She had already had a modified radical mastectomy and had undergone two rounds of “big guns” chemotherapy.
One brisk morning, she decided to go to Mass. Upon arriving at the church, however, she discovered that there was no Mass. Instead, she found people in silent prayer. A monstrance had been placed on the altar with a consecrated Host inside. This would be Kathleen’s first Eucharistic adoration.
She took a pew about midway to the altar and prepared to kneel down and pray. As she did so, she felt a warmth wash over her face. Her first reaction was, “Whoa, guess it was colder outside than I thought.”
As she bowed her head, the warmth moved to the top of her head. She could feel this distinctly because she had no hair on her head. This surprised her and she looked up. Again, the warmth washed over her face.
Questioning her senses, she determined to experiment. She turned to the right, and she felt the warmth on the left side of her face. She turned to the left, and she felt it on the other side. Then, she realized that it was coming from the Eucharist itself. Whichever part of her was facing the Eucharist would feel the warmth. She dropped to her knees and prayed with her “entire heart.”
Although it seemed but a few minutes, an hour passed and the Blessed Sacrament was being removed. She felt saddened and wanted Him to stay. The longing was tangible. Her heart “ached” as they took Him away.
Never again did she experience His presence as she did at that first eucharistic adoration. Now, many years later, when she goes to Mass, she has to remind herself of that one instance, to help maintain her faith in His Real Presence. She calls that day a “defining moment” in her life, one that changed how she looked at the world and at God. She knows that He is truly there, for His people, each time Mass is celebrated.
Adapted from Proctor, Sister Patricia, O.S.C., 201 Inspirational Stories of the Eucharist (Spokane, Washington, Francisan Monastery of Saint Clare, 2004) p. 107-108.
The relics of St. Philomena were venerated in the church by large crowds for a number of days in a row. On the ninth day, a poor widow brought her son to Mass. He could neither stand nor walk. At the elevation of the Sacred Host, the boy not only stood, he jumped up.
He then ran to the urn that held the Saint’s relics to give thanks for his cure.
After the Mass was over, the boy walked about the town. Bells were rung and drums were beat. The boy was even lifted up and carried in procession through the streets.
Adapted from an entry in My Daily Eucharist II by Joan Carter McHugh, and an excerpt contained there from St. Philomena the Wonder Worker by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, OP.
Aimee Allope was born in 1872 and lived in northwestern France, near Angers. In 1909, she went to Lourdes, France. She was very ill at the time, and had been for a long while. In 1898, she had to have a kidney removed. Several years later, several more operations were needed to remove tuberculous lesions from her right abdominal area. This led, however, to the formation of fistulas, abnormal passageways that exit through one’s skin. Shortly, before her arrival in Lourdes, it was confirmed that she had “four enormous abscesses, from which fluid ran quite profusely. Her condition was such that she weighed only ninety-seven pounds.
For several days after arriving in Lourdes, there was no change in her condition. The discharge of fluid from her sores required the changing of her dressings two times each day.
On May 28th, however, her life turned. She received Holy Communion at the Grotto. Then, her wounds closed, her appetite returned and she resumed a normal physical state. The next day, she was examined at the Medical Bureau and it was confirmed that the fistulas had sealed and that the hardening of her skin and tissue had disappeared.
Over the next ten months, she gained more than twenty pounds. There was no regression and her condition remained completely healthy.
On May 8, 1910, the Bishop of Angers formally declared that she had experienced a miraculous cure.