Michael Forest was married, with several children. Raised as a Baptist, he had been taught that the instruction to “do this in memory of me,” given to the Apostles at the Last Supper, was quite straightforward and simple. It meant only that, from time to time, they should break bread to remember their last night together, a time of peace when He was still among us. It did not mean that the bread would be the means by which He would in fact still be among us. It did not mean that at all, contrary to what He said in John 6: “Amen, Amen I tell you. Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” Although many of his disciples turned away at this, He did not retract any of the stark meaning contained in these words. This teaching caused many doubts in Michael. Although he had converted to Catholicism and accepted the Church’s view on the Eucharist, he did not believe this in his heart. On June 9, 1996, that changed in a profound way.
That day was a Sunday. He was preparing to go to Mass with his wife and children. As he was buckling his oldest son into his seat, his wife accidentally closed the sliding door of their Dodge Caravan across three fingers of his left hand. After he managed to free himself, Michael could observe the damage. Blood had been “ejected through the skin” on two of his fingers and was dripping onto his palm. Both of those two fingers were swollen to about twice their normal width and all three fingers had been “flattened” in some areas.
After deciding they should drop off their children at his brother and sister-in-law’s home and then proceed to the hospital, Michael suddenly received a “compulsion” to pray. Wrapping his hand in a paper towel and face towel, he announced his intention to his dismayed wife. With her in their family room, he prayed that his hand would be healed and that he could continue his career as a professional pianist/keyboardist.
After concluding the time of prayer, he told her that they were going to Mass anyway. She responded, “Michael, what is wrong with you.” Despite the incredulity of his wife, brother and sister-in-law, they did drop off their children and then go to Mass.
As they listened to the homily given by the priest, Michael was struck by the forcefulness with which he spoke about the Real Presence in the Eucharist. This seemed an answer to his recent prayers, some answers to his doubts on the Eucharist.
As they had arrived late for Mass, they had sat in the very back of the church. When the time came for Communion, Michael was the last person in line. As he drew near the priest, with his hand wrapped in a blood-soaked towel, he “heard” a command to “kneel.” He recalls his reaction at the time. He asked, “Did I just think that?” Then he heard “kneel” once again, more forecefully than before. This was an odd experience for him, as he had never “heard” anything like this before or since.
Still, when his time came, and as the priest glanced at his hand somewhat quizically, Michael asked whether it was all right to kneel. Receiving an affirmative response, he did.
Upon standing up, he felt a “vague sensation of warmth.” As he walked back to his pew, he kept his head bowed and eyes down, fearing that some may think he was haughtily trying to seem more pious than everyone else. Back in the pew, he was looking at his wife while unwrapping his hand and quietly asking her for some fresh tissues. She said, “Oh my goodness, look at your hand.” Then she added: “Look at the blood. It’s disappearing.” He describes what he saw: “The blood that had collected under the surface of my skin appeared to be receding back into my fingers before our eyes, to the point where it was barely visible anymore.”
After Mass, they met the priest and explained what had happened. He asked them whether they knew what day it was. Michael responded that, as far as he knew, it was just another Sunday. The priest then informed them it was the Feast of Corpus Christi, the day the Church celebrates the real presence of His body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist. He also told them of a strong feeling he had that day about his homily needing to be an important one. He did not understand at the time, but now he did.
Then two older women approached. They thanked Michael for kneeling like he had to receive Communion, in front of the whole church. His reverence had touched them. Upon hearing that, the priest asked if they understood what was taking place. He explained that this happening was not just for Michael, but for the whole church.
That was Sunday, June 9, 1996 for Michael Forest, his wife and their church.
His story, given in fuller detail can be read at https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=5864.
On August 14, 1730, thieves stole a golden ciborium from the Church of Saint Francis in Siena, Italy, about 45 miles south of Florence. At the time, the chalice also contained a large number of consecrated Hosts. Those in charge estimated the contents as 348 whole Hosts and six half Hosts. Three days later, on August 17th, that exact number of Hosts was found in the alms box of the Church of Saint Mary of Provenzano. They were of the same size and bore the same mark from the baking irons that other hosts at Saint Francis bore. As the alms box was only opened once a year, the Hosts were found among the dust and cobwebs.They were cleaned and taken back to the Church of Saint Francis in a solemn procession the next day.
With the passage of time, the clergy were surprised to notice that the Hosts did not change in appearance and even emitted a pleasant scent.
Fifty years later, an examination was conducted. On April 14, 1780, the Minister General of the Franciscan Order, Father Carlo Vipera, tasted one of the Hosts and found it to be fresh an incorrupt.
In 1789, another examination was conducted, this time by Archbishop Tiberio Borghese and a number of dignitaries. Hosts were inspected under a microscope and were found to be perfectly intact, with no sign of deterioration.
For comparison purposes, the Archbishop ordered several unconsecrated hosts to be placed in a sealed box. Ten years later, they were examined. They were found to be withered and disfigured. In 1850, when examined once more, the hosts were found reduced to particles of a dark yellow color.
In 1914, Pope St. Pius X authorized scientific testing, attended by many professors of health, chemistry and pharmaceutics. Acid and starch tests were performed on a fragment from one of the Hosts. They indicated a normal starch content. Microscopic tests indicated that the Hosts were made from roughly sifted wheat flour. It was acknowledged that unleavened bread, prepared in a normal fashion and not kept in an airtight, antiseptic container would remain intact for only a few years. The stolen Hosts had been prepared in a normal manner, and they had been kept in an unsealed container. Accordingly, they should have deteriorated more than 150 years earlier. Professor Siro Grimaldi, professor of chemistry at the University of Siena and director of the Municipal Chemical Laboratory, was the chief chemical examiner during the tests. Summing up their findings, he declared, “The holy Particles of unleavened bread represent an example of perfect preservation … a singular phenomenon that inverts the natural law of the conservation of organic material. It is a fact unique in the annals of science.”
Additional tests were done in 1922, with similar results.
Enrico Medi, noted Italian scientist, who was appointed as the Director of Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics in 1949 and as the Vice-President of the European Atomic Energy Community in 1956, stated: “This direct intervention from God is the miracle…accomplished and maintained for centuries, to testify to the permanent reality of Christ in the Eucharistic Sacrament”.
The Hosts have been adored and venerated by St. John Bosco and Pope John XXIII (in 1954, when he was the Patriarch of Venice). On September 14, 1980, Pope John Paul II visited Siena and, with regard to the Hosts, declared, “It is the Real Presence!”
The Hosts are displayed publicly to this day. They are brought out on the 17th of each month, in commemoration of the day they were found in 1730. Each year, on the feast of Corpus Christi, they are placed in a monstrance and carried in a procession through the streets of the city, still incorrupt, more than 280 years after they were consecrated.
(For a fuller account, see Eucharistic Miracles by Joan Carroll Cruz.)
At the beginning of Mass, I also saw a little boy who had a terrible facial deformity. At the end of Mass, his mother came running up to me with her child in her arms. She said, “Sister, look at my little boy.” The boy’s face was healed.*
*McKenna, Briege, O.S.C. and Libersat, Henry, Miracles Do Happen (Cincinnati, Ohio, Servant Books, 1996) p. 60.
In 1824, Mrs. Ann Mattingly, of Washington, D.C…had been suffering from cancer for seven years…She lost the use of her left arm; her back and shoulders became uelcerated in consequence of her long confinement to her bed; and symptoms of approaching dissolution began to appear…In concert with Prince Hohenlohe and her pastor, the Rev. Stephen L. Dubuisson, she began a novena in honor of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, and at the end of the novena she received the Blessed Sacrament. When she was about to receive Holy Communion, believing that the time had come when she must either die or be restored to health, she uttered these words: “Lord Jesus! Thy Holy will be glorified.” Her tongue was so rough and parched from fever that she was unable to swallow the Host for five or six minutes, but the moment she swallowed it, all pain instantly left her; her body was entirely healed, and she found herself in perfect health. She immediately arose and dressed herself, and after having knelt down to give thanks to God, she received hundreds of visitors who came to congratulate her and to witness the miracle. These facts are all attested by a number of competent witnesses, and anyone who desires to examine the evidence can find a full statement of the case in the works of Bishop England.*
*Mueller, Michael, C.S.S.R., The Blessed Eucharist Our Greatest Treasure (Charlotte, N.C., Tan Books, 2011) p. 170-71.
Abbott Henry Lacombe was the pastor of Saint-Andre, a parish church on the island of La Reunion, a French colony east of Madagascar. He was witness to an event that he put into the following report:
“It was January 26, 1902. We were celebrating perpetual adoration (the Forty hours devotion). The Most Holy Sacrament was exposed in the tabernacle. I began to celebrate the Mass. After the elevation, at the moment of the Our Father, my eyes were lifted toward the Host and I saw a bright halo around the rays of the monstrance. I continued to recite the prayers of the Mass with great agitation in my soul but which I tried to overcome. We came to the moment for Communion and again I looked toward the monstrance. This time I saw a human face, with lowered eyes and a crown of thorns on the forehead. What moved me the most was the dolorous expression painted on the face. The eyelashes were long and thick. I tried not to let on to the presence of the turmoil agitating inside of me.
“After Mass, I went to the sacristy and summoned the older children from the choir to go to the altar and closely observe the monstrance. The children raced back and told me: ‘Father, we see the head of a man in the Host. It is the good Lord revealing Himself!’ I understood then that the vision was authentic.
“A young man of 16, Adam de Villiers, who had studied in a college in France, also arrived. I said to him as well: ‘Go in the church and see if you notice something strange in the tabernacle’. The young student went to the sacristy and returned immediately, saying: ‘Father, it is the good Lord who appears in the Host. I see His divine face’. Since then, all my doubts disappeared.
“Slowly the entire town went to the church to see the miracle. Journalists and people from the capital of Saint Denis also arrived. The face on the Host suddenly became animated and the crown of thorns disappeared. I used every possible precaution, and fearing the effects from the rays of light, I had all the candles extinguished and the shutters closed. The phenomenon became even more clear. There was a young artist among the visitors who faithfully reproduced the face in the Host. Later, the vision changed again and a crucifix appeared which covered the entire Host from top to bottom. After the Eucharistic blessing and recital of the Tantum Ergo, the vision disappeared.”
(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/Reunion.pdf.)
It was Corpus Christi day, 1802, in the village of Creteil. A concordat had been made between Napolean and Vatican, allowing Catholic churches to re-open in France. To celebrate both events, as well as the feast day of the village’s patron saint, a procession of the Blessed Sacrament through the streets was planned.
A young girl named Augustina Mourette lived in the village. For eighteen months she had lost the use of her arms, legs and voice. On the day of the celebration, another young girl named Henrietta Crete visited Augustina. She came with several companions, all of them dressed in white and wearing veils on their heads. Their intention was to take Augustina to the procession and be present when the Eucharistic Presence passed, as people had done with the sick at the time of Christ.
The girls carried Augustina in an armchair to a spot near the outdoor altar located at the end of the procession route. When the priest approached with the Blessed Sacrament, the girls all knelt around Augustina in prayer. The priest noticed them, stopped before Augustina, raised the monstrance above her and blessed her, reciting the customary blessing of the sick. When he had finished, those present witnessed Augustina rise from her chair and kneel in prayer and thanksgiving herself. She had been completely cured.
(Adapted from Eucharistic Miracles, by Joan Carroll Cruz (Charlotte, North Carolina, Tan Books, 2010) p. 211.)
On January 31, 1906, an earthquake having a magnitude of 8.8 on the Richter scale, occurred off the coast of Columbia. Ranking as one of the ten worst on record, it caused a tsunami that was felt as far north as San Francisco and as far west as Japan.
In Panama City, it picked up boats and hurled them long distances, crashed into the market area and wreaked tremendous damage. The worst effects of the tsunami were concentrated along the northern parts of Ecuador and southern parts of Columbia. In the middle of this area, at the outer edge of a bay, lay the small island of Tumaco.
About 10:00 in the morning, the earth shook violently for ten minutes. The inhabitants begged the local pastor, Fr. Gerardo Larrondo, to lead a procession with the Blessed Sacrament. The sea had already penetrated a kilometer and a half inland. A wall of water was building up that threatened to swallow the entire island, which was only about 3 kilometers in length.
Fr. Larrondo consumed the small Hosts in the ciborium and set the large Host aside. He called out to his people: “Let us go, my people. Let us go toward the beach, and may God have pity on us.” Led by Fr. Larrondo and the Eucharist, they began to march. Fr. Larrondo advanced courageously to the water’s edge and as the wave came rushing in he calmly raised the Sacred Host and traced the sign of the Cross.
The wave halted and then receded. Fr. Larrondo and Fr. Julian alongside him saw what was transpiring . The people, overjoyed, cried out “Miracle, miracle!”
The miracle of Tumaco became known across the world, and Fr. Larrondo received letters from people in Europe asking for his prayers.
(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/Tumaco.pdf. Addition information was obtained at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/world/events/1906_01_31.php and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1906_Ecuador%E2%80%93Colombia_earthquake.)
Marie Antoinette Riviere was cured of gastro-intestinal ulcerations which had existed for five years and had caused numerous hemorrhages. The cure was effected at Lourdes in two stages. In the morning, after having received Holy Communion, she drank a cup of milk mixed with the miraculous water; she immediately experiences a fierce burning pain in the abdomen, then all here sufferings suddenly left her; she remained, however, in a state of complete exhaustion. In the afternoon, during the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament, she felt a warmth pervading her limbs and her strength returning; and she felt herself able to walk. Her health has not failed since that time.
(Taken from My Daily Eucharist II by Joan Carter McHugh, and an excerpt contained there from Twenty Cures at Lourdes by Dr. F. DeGrandmaison De Bruno.)
A priest from New York, while addressing a Mass in an auditorium in Cork City, Ireland in 1986, spoke about the healing power of Jesus in the Eucharist. He explained to the gathering of 1,000 people that Jesus was wholly and completely present in the Eucharist, and that in receiving His body and blood we should expect to be healed of our illnesses. The priest emphasized the need for Catholics to believe fully in His presence, His power and His desire to heal.
During Communion, sick and crippled people began jumping out of their chairs. I saw with my own eyes a mother crying as her baby’s blindness was cured. The newspapers reported stories of old women jumping out of wheelchairs and many varied illnesses cured.
That was the first time I’d ever experienced anything like that in my life. It deeply impressed upon me the reality of the Eucharist as a healing sacrament
*DeGrandis, Robert, S.S.J., Healing Through the Mass (Totowa, New Jersey, Resurrection Press, 1992) p. 5-6.)
One day a Carmelite named Cassetus was called to visit certain Franciscans. In order to try him, they took the Blessed Sacrament out of the tabernacle in which it was usually kept and placed it elsewhere. They put no light before it, but left the lamp burning as usual before the customary altar. On entering the church, the companion of Cassetus turned towards the high altar, but Cassetus immediately pointed out the spot where the Blessed Sacrament had been placed, saying: “The Body of Our Lord is there and not where the lamp is burning; the brothers whom you see behind the grating have placed it there in order to try us.*
*Mueller, Michael, C.S.S.R., The Blessed Eucharist Our Greatest Treasure (Charlotte, N.C., Tan Books, 2011) p. 18.