Penetrated with Faith and Hope
Ann de Clery was a girl of thirteen when the paralysis first started. In 1859, her doctor pronounced that she would be a cripple as long as she lived. Over a span of nine years she suffered, in addition to the paralysis in her legs, from violent headaches, difficulty in digesting food and intense pain when laid on a bed or couch, the latter being accompanied by a purplish color inflaming her eyelids. Toward the end of this period, the paralysis was also beginning to stretch up into her arms.
When she was 23, a Forty Hours Devotion was being held at the Church of St. Martin in Metz, France. It was to be held on June, 12th, 13th and 14th. She wished to go, but her health did not permit it until the third day. She received Holy Communion in her bed that morning, but around noon, when public adoration commenced, she was carried by her maid Clementine to the church. She sat down on the left side of the nave and held Ann on her knees.
The strain of being carried had produced the usual purple flush to her eyelids, and after a few moments of rest, Ann fixed her gaze on the Holy Eucharist. She then said the prayer that she had often said when taking Communion: “Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst cure me.” At that same moment, she felt an incredibly violent pain shoot through he whole body. She then continued in prayer: “My God, if it is Thy Will that I should be carried back to my sick bed, give me grace at least to be always resigned to Thy Holy Will.”
She said that she then “felt penetrated with faith and hope,” and became conscious she had been cured. She wanted to kneel, but her maid protested. Ann knelt anyway and declared to those around her that she was cured.
Not quite knowing what to think, her mother led her out of the church. She could hardly believe what she saw when she beheld her daughter walking with only the aid of her arm for support. In an adjacent summer house, she discovered that some knots or growths under her daughter’s knees had completely disappeared. The parish priest was called to the summer house and he witnessed, in astonishment, her complete recovery.
The next day was the Feast of Corpus Christi. Ann attended Mass, kneeling at the altar rail for the first time in nine years.
Adapted from an account found in The Blessed Eucharist Our Greatest Treasure, by Michael Mueller, C.S.S.R. (Charlotte, N.C., Tan Books, 2011) p. 181-85.