I used to be part of the RCIA Core Team in my parish. At our end of term picnic, one of the older ladies kind of called us all to attention and said, “I’ve never talked about this publicly before, but I think it’s time. Thirteen years ago, I was healed of cancer at Lourdes.” It was an amazing story.
She had had small malignant tumors on her face removed twice, but the cancer had come back and her doctor told her the next surgery was going to leave her disfigured. She showed us the scarring from the first surgeries. On the left side of her chin, next to her lower lip was a big patch of kind of shiny skin. I’d never noticed it, but when she pointed it out, it was easy to see.
The new tumor was going to mean taking out part of her lip, yet she was apparently quite calm about it, only asking they delay the date until after she got back from a trip she’d promised to take with a friend who was nervous of traveling alone. The trip was to the Marian Shrine at Lourdes, site of numerous miraculous healings. Yet somehow, my friend never thought to go for herself, just to be a companion to her friend.
When they got there, her friend wanted her to go into the baths, which she didn’t care about doing, but again, for her friend, she went down the steps. She said they had two volunteer companions in the waters to help each person down the steps, then walk across to the other side of the pool which I gathered was about chest high on this little lady. Then they dunked her completely under, walked her back and up the steps where more volunteers waited with towels.
As she went up the steps, the ladies in the water and out were jabbering excitedly (probably in French) and pointing and poking at her. She was TOTALLY DRY. Her hair, her clothes, as soon as it rose above the level of the water, it was totally dry! Funnily enough, she didn’t think much of it!
The next morning, she was sitting on her bed waiting for her friend to finish in the bathroom. When the friend came out, she looked at this lady and screamed! “Look! Look!! Go in the bathroom and look in the mirror!!!”
Her face was totally clear of all cancer. And it never came back.
She said her friend and her doctor obviously knew. The only other person she told was her pastor at the time. She had no interest in reporting it to Lourdes because of all the fuss it would involve, producing medical records, going back to Lourdes repeatedly for examinations. She doesn’t seem to have been all that confident the cancer wouldn’t return, maybe because she felt unworthy or because it had come back twice before. I don’t know. I’m just grateful I was there the day God told her to finally tell her story.
It’s one thing when someone you don’t know stands in a spotlight and says, “Look at me! God healed me!” You just gotta wonder if they’re legit or have some angle or con going on. But I’d known this woman and her companion for years through our parish work. They were both regulars at Mass and the annual women’s retreat … those “salt of the earth” kind of people who don’t gossip or flutter around demanding attention, but do roll up their sleeves when there’s work to be done. I think the thing that struck me most in her telling of this remarkable story is now embarrassed she seemed about it all.
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