November 29, 2015

The Nun in the White Habit

Coreen Marson gave birth to her first child on August 30, 1956, in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. It was a difficult delivery and the specialist who performed emergency surgery that day thought that neither mother nor daughter would survive long. He was proven wrong and both got to leave the hospital and go home.

A week afterwards, however, Coreen developed a blood clot in her left lung, as well as pneumonia. She returned to St. Francis Catholic Hospital and spent the next seven weeks there. Each morning, she heard a little bell being rung, to announce the coming of the Holy Eucharist, as it was being brought into the room of another patient. She had wanted to receive daily Communion herself, but was young and did not know how to arrange for it.

After having spent several weeks in the hospital, her condition was not improving. Then, a beautiful young nun in a white habit came and, after attending to some nursing duties with her roommate, asked why Coreen was not receiving the Holy Sacrament. She replied that she very much wanted to, but did not know who to ask about it. The nun told her to ask mother superior the next time that she came in to see her. Coreen said that she also needed to go to confession before receiving the Eucharist. The nun told her that mother superior could arrange for that as well.

While she had been in the hospital, mother superior had rarely come in to see Coreen. Shortly after the nun in the white habit left, however, she came again. She promptly agreed to both of the requests put to her. Then Coreen asked about the beautiful young nun in the white habit. Mother superior informed her there were no nuns in white habits who worked at that ward.

Shortly after she began to take Holy Communion daily, Coreen began to improve. She proceeded to recover fully and returned home.

Over the years that followed, Coreen came to this same hospital, for the births of other children as well as many visits for other family members. She never saw a nun in a white habit again.

Who was the nun in the white habit? How did she know, when only visiting Coreen for the first time, that she had not been receiving the Eucharist? Why had her condition only begun to improve afterwards?

The answers to these questions may of course be different depending on whether the person asking them has any faith. For the young mother in this story, one thing is sure, as it is simple. She received a moment of grace when she was in need of it.

Adapted from Proctor, Sister Patricia, O.S.C., 201 Inspirational Stories of the Eucharist (Spokane, Washington, Francisan Monastery of Saint Clare, 2004) p. 25-26.


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