In 1630, the Maira River flooded and threatened the small village of Canosio in northwest Italy. The pastor of the town, Father Antonio Reinardi, led a procession to the river with the Blessed Sacrament. He urged the villages to pray and vowed that, if the village was saved, it would hold an annual feast in honor of Corpus Christi. When they arrived at the river and he blessed the raging waters, the rain imediately stopped and the river then returned to its normal level.
To this day, the pledge to honor the Body of Christ every year has been kept.
Source: “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/english_pdf/Canosio.pdf.
Blessed Balthasar Alvarez used to visit the Blessed Sacrament often and sometimes would spend whole nights there. Once when kneeling before the altar, he was given a vision of the Lord, who appeared within the Host in the form of a little child. His hands were full of precious stones and He said, “If there were only someone to whom I might distribute them.”
How great His desire must be.
Sources: Mueller, Michael, C.S.S.R., The Blessed Eucharist Our Greatest Treasure (Charlotte, N.C., Tan Books, 2011) p. 55; Liguori, St. Alphonsus M., Visits to the Most Blessed Sacrament, etc. (London, T. Jones, 1849) p. 61.
On May 9, 2011, on a blog site for Catholics in New Zealand, someone posted the following account:
“I recall an experience many years ago when, and while still a lapsed catholic, I went to mass for some comfort, during a particularly anxious and difficult time of life. I went forward for communion (despite my skepticism with catholicism. I recall very clearly the wonderful peace I experienced after I had taken communion which was very welcome but unexpected, in the midst of my emotional turmoil. I hadn’t even had an experience quite like that during my Catholic youth. “
There is no authentication for this, nor could there be for such a private account. Even if true, it does not seem particularly dramatic. It was dramatic enough for the person writing it, however, for him or her to remember it “many years” later. Lastly, to continue a skeptical approach, one might say that such an episode could always be explained as the working of the person’s own psyche, some outgrowth of inner desires. One indication to the contrary, though, is that the feeling was so “unexpected.”
While many other stories to be found here include miraculous healings or other such extraordinary events, this story seems quite small indeed. Perhaps that makes it all the more special. It may be that we need to understand He can speak to all of us. We do not have to be the recipient of some amazing encounter. Sometimes a whisper can have just as powerful an impact.
One day, Blessed Anna Maria Taigi was given Holy Communion, but was intentionally given an unconsecrated host. She instantly realized the absence of the Presence. She also felt something else, a never-ending sadness that she later disclosed to her confessor.
What kind of sadness? Why the need to tell her confessor? Was it a sadness over not feeling an never- ending Love that she had felt before? Was there some level of guilt over not always trusting in Him? How much more is there to feel than we normally do when receiving Communion?
See Manelli, Fr. Stefano M, Jesus Our Eucharistic Love (New Bedford, MA, Immaculate Mediatrix, 2008), p. 70).
Marie Savoye was born in 1877. As a young woman of 24, she was very ill, having suffered from rheumatic fever for the previous four years. One of the complications was heart disease, with all the signs of a mitral valve lesion. She suffered from spitting of blood, a complete loss of apetite and such acute weakness that those with her did not even dare to lower her into the baths at Lourdes, France.
While there, however, she was present for the benedition of the Blessed Sacrament. As it was taking place, all her symptoms were suddenly gone. Even a bed sore on her back disappeared.
This miracle took place on September 20, 1901.
Until 1964, when Vatican II provided that the second half of the Roman Catholic Mass be called the “Liturgy of the Eucharist,” it was referred to in the officially prescribed regimen for the Mass as the “Secret.” This usage owed its roots to the needs of the faithful at the very inception of the Church, when Roman persecution often meant martyrdom.
Today, the “Secret” need not be so well guarded. On this Easter Sunday, Christ is among us. All praise, honor and glory to Him, forever.
It was Holy Weekend, 1925, at San Giovanni Rotundo in southern Italy. On Good Friday, friends of Paolina Preziosi came to Padre Pio and asked him to pray for her. She had pneumonia and no penicillin was available. Padre Pio comforted them saying, “Tell her to have no fear since she will be resurrected with the Lord.”*
That night when Paolina was praying to be healed, so she would not leave her five children orphans, Padre Pio appeared to her and said, “tomorrow when the bells ring, you will be cured.”* Later that evening she fell into a coma and her friends began to make preparations for her death.
The following day, Padre Pio was told that the local pastor had come to her with Holy Viaticum, the Blessed Sacrament for her passing. Padre Pio then went to say the Easter Vigil Mass. When the bells rang to announce the resurrection of the Lord, Paolina leapt from her bed “as if she had been pushed by a superhuman force.”* She was completely well.
The above story may seem more appropriate for Easter Sunday than Holy Saturday. On Holy Saturday, however, the disciples were still living with the idea that Christ had died, that He was gone and they were now separated from Him. On Holy Saturday, 1925, Paolina was in a coma and her friends were awaiting her death. In the warmth of His Presence, she did rise again. The fears and doubts of her friends gave way to joy.
Similarly, it is easy to have fears and doubts about the Eucharist. A consecrated Host gives no indiation that it is anything other than an inert white disc. He still seems elsewhere, separated from us. The story above and many others testify to something far greater.
St. Pio of Pietrelcina knew Paolina Preziosi would be healed. He also knew about the Real Presence.
He is not separated from us. He is still with us.
*Ruffin, C. Bernard, Padre Pio: The True Story (Huntington, Indiana, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 1991) p. 202-03.
Additional source: Cataneo, Pascal, Padre Pio Gleanings (Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, Editions Paulines, 1991) p. 123-124.
It was Good Friday, 1595, in Florence, Italy. A lit candle in the side chapel of a church fell to the ground and started a fire. The people succeeded in saving the Blessed Sacrament and the chalice from the fire, but, in their haste, six fragments of consecrated Hosts fell to the ground. When they were found later, they had joined together but undamaged from the fire. In 1628, the bishop examined these fragments and found them to be still incorrupt. They have been saved ever since and are still available for viewing to this day.
Source: “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/english_pdf/Florence.pdf.
It was Holy Thursday, 1384 in the Tyrolean village of Seefeld, in western Austria. Oswald Milser was a knight, the guardian of Schlossberg Castle north of the village. The castle was situated in a mountain pass and provided protection to the village. Due to the importance of his position, Milser thought that he deserved particular respect, as revealed by the following account contained in the Golden Chronicle of Hohenschwangau:
“’Oswald Milser came down with his followers to the parish church of Seefeld. He demanded—and a refusal could mean death—the large Host; the small one he regarded as too ordinary for him. He surrounded the frightened priest and the congregation with his armed men. At the end of the Mass, Milser, his sword drawn and his head covered, came to the left of the high altar, where he remained standing (rather than kneeling as was the custom at that time). The stunned priest handed him the Host, upon which the ground under the blasphemer suddenly gave way. He sank up to his knees. Deathly pale, he grasped the altar with both hands.”*
|He then asked the priest to remove the Host from his mouth. The priest did so and the ground once again became firm.The Host itself was red, as though it had bled.The Host is still preserved, to this day, in an monstrance located in the south wall of the church.
Following the event, Milser hurried to the monastery of Stams, confessed his prideful actions and offered penance. He remained devout until his death several years later.
|Protective grate over the hole in floor of the parish church in Seefeld, Austria|
The original church was replaced with a larger one built on the same site. The stone altar present in 1384 has been retained, and is still available for viewing. The church remains a popular pilgrimmage destination today.
(*Cruz, Caroll, Eucharistic Miracles (Charlotte, North Carolina, Tan Books, 2010) p. 141.)
Andre Frossard was a committed atheist. His father was one of the founders of the French Communist Party and had been elected its first general secretary. When Andre was 20 years old, on July 8, 1935, he happened into a Catholic church, looking for a friend. In a book he wrote years later, God Exists, I Have Met Him, he explained what took place next:
“My gaze passed from the shadows to the light…from the faithful gathered there, to the nuns, to the altar…and came to rest above the second candle burning to the left of the Cross (unaware that I was standing in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament). And at that point, suddenly a series of miracles unfolded whose indescribable force shattered in an instant the absurd being that I was, to bring to birth the amazed child that I had never been … At first the hint of these words, ‘Spiritual Life’ came to me … as if they had been pronounced in a whisper next to me … then came a great light … a world, another world of a radiance and a destiny that in one stroke cast our world among the fragile shadows of unfulfilled dreams … of which I felt all the sweetness … a sweetness that was active and upsetting beyond every form of violence, capable of breaking the hardest stone and that which is even harder than stone – the human heart. Its overflowing eruption, so complete, was accompanied by a joy which is the exultation of the saved, the joy of the shipwrecked who is picked up just in time. These sensations, which I find difficult to translate into a language which cannot capture these ideas and images, were all simultaneous … Everything is dominated by the Presence … of Him of Whom I would never be able to write His name without fear of harming its tenderness, of Him before Whom I have had the good fortune to be a forgiven child who takes up to discover that everything is a gift … God existed and was present… one thing only surprised me: The Eucharist! Not that it seemed incredible, but it amazed me that Divine Charity would have come upon this silent way to communicate Himself, and above all that He would choose to become bread, which is the staple of the poor, and the food preferred by children… O Divine Love, eternity will be too short to speak of You.”
Frossard would later become a columnist for the French newspaper, L’Aurore, work at the BBC and author a number of books. During all of these years and until his death in 1995, Frossard remained devout in his faith. That one experience in 1935 changed him for life.
Sources: “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/english_pdf/Frossard.pdf, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_Frossard.