The Italian newspaper Gazetta del Sud carried a story on April 7, 2014 about Michelina Comegna, a 74-year-old wife and mother. In April of 2003 she had breast cancer surgery. As a complication of this surgery, she suffered a brain aneurysm that left her partially paralyzed. She was confined to a bed for the next 3 years. Since that time, she has not gone anywhere except in a wheelchair.
Every Sunday, her husband of 55 years, Giovanni Passaro, took her to the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary, a cathedral in Pompeii. As she explains, “I always prayed to the Pompeii Madonna and Jesus to let me walk again, because it was so humiliating to have to be helped to do everything.”
On Sunday, March 23, 2014, they went again, to attend the 10:00 morning Mass. “I took communion,” she said, “and instantly felt a fire going from my feet up my legs and my whole body. At the same time, I was overcome by an intense scent of flowers. I forgot I was in church and looked around, convinced my clothes were on fire. I was covered in sweat, it was dripping from my head like water. I told my husband I was feeling an intense joy, and I needed to walk.” Her husband saw her stand up and walk quickly down the nave. “I told her to slow down, that she might fall. But she just rushed on,” he said. Passaro also said that he “never could stand to be in church more than 10 minutes. But now I have seen a great miracle. Everything has changed.”
The priest who celebrated the Mass, Monsignor Giuseppe Adamo, recalled that “she came up to me with a shaky step, held up by someone. As soon as she took communion, she started unbuttoning herself, saying she felt hot and also that she was smelling a perfume.”
The Archbishop in charge of the cathedral, Tommaso Caputo, has urged caution. “We must wait for conclusive scientific evidence,” he said. “While many prodigious events have taken place in this sanctuary by the intercession of the Virgin Mary, it is up to medical science to produce the evidence to confirm them.”
The Passaros are not waiting for any evidence. They have already had a silver etching made, which they are donating to the cathedral.
Thomas a Kempis relates a certain miracle to which he himself was a witness. One of his brethren commened to say Mass one day. He had been relegated to the use of two crutches for a long time. After he had finished saying this Mass, however, he left his crutches behind.
When asked what he had been thinking or praying during this Mass, he explained that he had been recalling the story in Luke of when people sought merely to touch Jesus and “virtue went out of Him and healed them all.”
Although this occurred more than 500 years ago, it is like so many others reported here that have taken place within recent years. They of course do have one thing in common, the Real Presence.
(Based on the excerpt from Chronicle of Mt. St. Agnes by Kempis that is contained in Eucharistic Miracles, by Joan Carroll Cruz (Charlotte, North Carolina, Tan Books, 2010) p. 208.)
The St. Charles Herald Guide carried an interesting story a few years back. It seems that on Thanksgiving Day, 2005, Andy Petty was with his fiancee, Ina, when she suggested that they both go to the chapel. He agreed, thinking she meant their wedding chapel. Instead, she was talking about Our Lady of Perpetual Help adoration chapel in Rivertown, Louisiana. So, they both went.
Andy was to be surprised by more than that this day. He was certainly not disposed to any willingness toward belief in the Real Presence. He was not Catholic. For the last 40 years, he had been a member of the Worldwide Church of God. Also, he was a scientist by background, employed by the U.S. Department of the Interior as a petroleum geologist. He had seen a host only once before, thinking it looked like a “cracker” at the time.
Inside the chapel with his fiancee, he looked at the Host in the monstrance. As he did so, he saw the image of a bearded man with long hair. Immediately, he looked glanced around to see where the projection was coming from, which he thought it had to be. He asked Ina if she saw the image. She replied no, she did not. He repeated his question to her, “It’s right there don’t you see it?” Still, she saw nothing.
Understanding something special was taking place, she began telling others that Andy was seeing Jesus. He was not able to accept this and would not refer to the image as Jesus. Instead, he merely called it a “bearded man.”
After this episode, he called the pastor at his own church, looking for some help in dealing with this. His pastor told him that he had received a gift.
While still trying to make sense of his experience, he was in church one day when it happened again. After that, he called the priest and signed up for time to give regular adoration.
Andy later converted and joined his wife as a Catholic.
In was the night before Pentecost in a Benedictine abbey in the city of Favernay, France. The monks erected a provisional altar for adoration of the Eucharist. The monstrance being used was large and they placed two Hosts inside. When their time of prayer was over, they left the monstrance exposed on the altar. The next morning, they returned to find the church full of smoke. As the smoke began to clear, they frantically looked for the altar, hoping to find the monstrance still on it. The were despondent upon discovering that the altar had been totally consumed. They saw the monstrance, however. It was there, hovering in the air. A multitude gathered to view the phenomenon.
They quickly erected a new altar and celebrated Mass. At the time for the elevation of the Host, the monstrance descended and rested upon the altar.
One of the hosts was donated to the Church of Dole, and it was destroyed during the French Revolution. The other Host is still available for viewing to this day.
Source: 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/Faverney.pdf.
On May 3, 2005, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bartlett was in a vehicle travelling down a road just outside of Baghdad when it was hit by a remotely activated roadside explosive. Shortly afterward, Sgt. Bartlett was at an aid station awaiting a helicopter. He was suffering from head injuries that would later require more than 40 surgeries, a collapsed lung and severe internal bleeding. That was when he died—the first time. He was resuscitated, only to die a second and a third time before eventually surviving. It was during the time after his second death episode that he found himself kneeling on a marble-like landing. In front of him, everything was black, white and gray. Directly in front of him were stairs that led down into a pool. In the pool were pillars. To his immediate right and his immediate left were two pillars that had fallen over, about half of the way up. The rest of the pillars were lying in the pool. As he gazed out, there was nothing around, forever. It was like two places at once, very far away and very close up.
As soon as he looked at the pool, he saw a drip coming from nowhere and coming from everywhere, It was dripping into the pool. He subsequently realized that these drips were the Blood of Christ, raining down, for his sins and the sins of all men.
He also realized that the first two fallen pillars represented his unholiness. He had only in the last couple of years begun going to Mass, but had not made his First Confession, nor had he experienced Confirmation. He understood that when we receive Christ, we are His temple. We are the cup in which we receive Him. To keep the inside of the cup clean, to keep our soul clean, we must go to confession. Sgt. Bartlett had not done that, and, as he told me himself later, had not done a good job of caring for his temple up to that time.
As he looked to his left, Sgt. Bartlett then saw a creature in the form of a dragon, with claws and a tail. It was perched on a pillar, but then leapt down and began clawing at him. He sensed how evil the devil is, how incapable of love he is, incapable of compassion, incapable of mercy. The edge of Hell was near. The pool was in fact the beginning of Purgatory. This place near both of them was where people choose one way or the other. He was scared, like a child, and begged God to take him out of there. Then, suddenly, he was out, and felt an all-enveloping Love come over him. He was now in the presence of God.
Sgt. Bartlett subsequently returned to this life, with a willingness to tell this story to all who will listen. He now understands Reconciliation and Holy Communion in the light of the direct and penetratingly powerful experience he once had. It is Our Lord whom we receive. It is Our Lord.
Dan Burke is the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN’s National Catholic Register, the author of Navigating the Interior Life – Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, and a writer and speaker on Catholic spirituality. He also has a website on which he posted a story about an experience he had one day during adoration before the Real Presence.
Having suffered from “chronic and debilitating pain” for years, he resolved one day to spend an hour in prayer. It “took everything” he had to get out of his house and into his car. Still, he managed to get to the church. “Doubled over before the blessed sacrament,” he found it very difficult even to hold a seated position. He found it still more difficult not to pray rather than focus on his physical turmoil. He describes what happened next:
“I didn’t think I could make it another few minutes let alone an hour. I stayed engaged anyway. Unexpectedly, after about ten minutes I slowly began to be able to straighten up in the chair. I found myself able to focus beyond the pain. As the tension of anguished muscles began to lift, my body relaxed so that I could sit up and pray. With the pain slipping out of consciousness I prayed in painless peace. Not only was I able to sit up but I was strong and rested. I prayed for the remainder of the hour and beyond almost effortlessly.
“…I have never forgotten that transcendent transition from the inward isolation of self battling affliction to the complete absorption, ease, and selflessness in worship and prayer.
Beyond this event, I have regularly been surprised at what happens to me in adoration. It seems that distractions fade, discomfort disappears, and hours pass.”
Leo Schwager was born on May 19, 1924 in Switzerland. At age 11, he suffered injuries and memory losses after a traumatic fall. In 1945, another fall caused further brain injuries. He also contracted diphtheria. In the following years, he experienced blurred vision, slurred speech and complete paralysis of his left side. In 1951, after extensive testing, he was diagnosed with an advanced case of multiple sclerosis. His weight had declined to 103 pounds, he was completely bedridden and his health was steadily deteriorating.
On April 28, 1952, he left on a pilgrimage to Lourdes. He describes what happened to him there, during a procession of the Blessed Sacrament:
“Next the Bishop gave the Blessing of the Sick right in front of me. It was if an electric shock went over my whole body, from head to foot! I thought, ‘Good, now I can die in peace.’ I think I lost consciousness and everything became blurred.
“Then all of a sudden I found myself on my knees in front of the Bishop carrying the Blessed Sacrament! I felt wholly well, as if reborn, and all my pain had vanished.
“After the Bishop had finished blessing the sick and had entered the Rosary Basilica, I rose from my knees without any support and, accompanied by Dr. Jerger, returned to my bed in Accueil Notre Dame. Our pilgrimage doctors all examined me immediately. They could in no way explain what had just happened and despite my protests told me to stay there. I would have much preferred to go to the Grotto to pray! I prayed and thanked the Lord all through the night without sleeping a wink.”
The next morning he wanted something to eat, but the doctor said, “It’s a long while since you have had a normal meal. You must go carefully, giving your stomach time to readjust!” Despite this warning, he “headed off to the Swiss dining room and polished off everything I could lay hands on—milk, coffee, bread, butter, cheese, sausage! I downed enough for four men and suffered no consequences.”
That morning, he was examined by a team of 18 doctors at the Medical Bureau. He was questioned for four hours and then examined again in the afternoon.
During the examination, “I was told what happened: The doctor who followed behind the Bishop, and also some sick people who had been close to me, testified that I had been projected forcefully out of my wheelchair directly onto my knees! I did not rise up and kneel; I was ejected onto my knees! I’m sure it rocked the Bishop! I myself knew nothing of this. I came to consciousness on my knees.
He returned often over the next several years and was examined numerous times by doctors at the Medical Bureau. Six and a half years after his healing, his case was accepted by the Medical Bureau as “medically inexplicable.” During this time, the bishop of his diocese had convened a separate commission to examine his case. On December 8, 1960, the commission affirmed his cure was “miraculous.”
Excerpts taken from Healing Fire of Christ, by Paul Glynn, Paul (San Francisco, Ignatius Press, 2003) p. 75-83.
On June 2 1668, in the Church of Les Ulmes in western France, public adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was held. The Sacred Host was placed in a monstrance and the service was begun. The hymn Pange Lingua was sung. Those gathered began to sing the stanza that runs as follows:
The Word as Flesh makes true bread
into flesh by a word
and the wine becomes the Blood of Christ.
And if sense is deficient
to strengthen a sincere heart
Faith alone suffices.
As they were singing, all present saw the Host replaced by an image. It was a man wearing a white tunic, with light brown hair that fell over his back. His face was luminous. His hands were crossed in front of him, one over the other. This event last more than fifteen minutes. It continued even though the monstrance was moved from the tabernacle to the altar, to allow the people to have a closer look at it.
After it was over, the pastor, Nicolas Nezan, sent a letter describing what had occurred to the Bishop, Henry Arnauld. He quickly ordered an inquiry. On June 25th, he published the pastor’s letter.
For 130 years, the church continued to house the miraculous Host. During the French Revolution, for fear that it would be profaned, the Host was devoutly consumed by the Vicar of Puy-Notre-Dame.
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/Lesulmes.pdf
Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey SS, CC used to often tell the following story. One day, an 8-year-old girl came up to him and said that Jesus spoke to her every time she received Holy Communion. Doubting this was really true, he asked that she seek proof for him. There was a certain man, a Catholic who had fallen away and even become an enemy of the Church. He asked that this man should reverse his ways and come to him for confession.
About a week later, Fr. Mateo was hearing confessions. The young girl told him that this man was coming to the church. As the priest was leaving the confessional, the man walked into the church, came over to Fr. Mateo and asked him to hear his confession. He said that it was his first one since the time he had been baptized. He did not understand it but something had come over him that morning and he suddenly understood the necessity of going to confession. Having so quickly been provided the very proof he asked, Father Mateo no longer doubted the young girl.
The girl also told Fr. Mateo other things. She said the Lord told her He would give this man graces to repent and mend his ways. He said that He would do the same for many other souls. He said, “Always ask Me for souls and I will give them to you, and tell Father Mateo to ask Me for souls. I will give them to him, too, but first you must become My missionary.”
She thought she was too young to be a missionary. Our Lord assured her that she would become His missionary but that she would have to do certain things for Him. “I want you,” said Jesus, “to earn three golden coins a day.” Our Lord then explained what He meant by golden coins:
1. prayers to Him for souls,
2. little sacrifices, especially acts of obedience, and
3. a promise: “never to miss Mass or Holy Communion through your own fault and to visit Me often in the Blessed Sacrament.”
Fr. Mateo used to tell this story in encouraging his listeners to try and earn the same golden coins.
The following account comes from St. John Vianney, popularly known as the Cure d’ Ars (1786-1859), known for numerous miracles:
“One day, two Protestant ministers came here, who did not believe in the Real Presence of Our Lord. I said to them, ‘Do you think that a piece of bread could detach itself, and go, of its own accord, to place itself on the tongue of a person who came near to receive it?’ ‘No. ‘ ‘Then it is not bread. ‘ There was a man who had doubts about the Real Presence, and he said, ‘What do we know about it? It is not certain. What is consecration? What happens on the altar at that moment?’ But he wished to believe, and he prayed the Blessed Virgin to obtain faith for him. Listen attentively to this. I do not say that this happened somewhere, but I say that it happened to myself. At the moment when this man came up to receive Holy Communion, the Sacred Host detached Itself from my fingers while I was still a good way off, and went off Itself and placed Itself upon the tongue of that man. “*
*Monnin, M. L’Abbe, Spirit of the Cure d’Ars (London: Burns, Lambert & Oates 1865), p. 34-35