March 10, 2018

St. Bernard and the Possessed Woman

Once there was an elderly woman of high social rank in Milan,Italy, who had been possessed by an evil spirit a good number of years. She no longer had the use of her sight, hearing or speech. Some people brought her before St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who was then in the church of St. Ambrose. Many others came along to see whether the holy man could do anything for her.

St. Bernard ordered that she be brought before the altar and firmly held. She was kicking and writhing and going through terrible convulsions. St. Bernard then began to celebrate Mass.

After the consecration, and following the Our Father, St. Bernard descended from the altar and went up to the woman. Holding the chalice and the Host above her, he challenged the demon to resist, if he could, the power of Jesus Himself and ordered the demon to leave the woman.

The convulsions and writhing increased dramatically. Then St. Bernard returned to the altar, broke the Host and gave the pax to the deacon, so that he could in turn give have the congregation engage in the kiss of peace. The peace of the Lord, there Himself on the altar, about to spread through the congregation, the demon left the woman. Peace returned to the woman.

At that same time, she regained the use of her senses.

The news of this event quickly spread.

Source: Ratisbonne, Abbe Theodore, St. Bernard of Clairvaux (Charlotte, N.C., Tan Books 2010) p. 183-85.


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