January/February/March 2012 Newsletter No. 127
Miracles of Lourdes
The case of Gabriel Gargam is probably one of the best known of all the thousands of cures at Lourdes, partly because he was so well known at the Shrine for half a century, partly because it was a twofold healing, spiritual and physical. Born in 1870 of good Catholic parents, he gave early promise of being a clever student and a fervent Catholic. The promise was not fulfilled in the most important respect for, at 15 years of age, he had already lost his faith. He obtained a position in the postal service and was carrying out his duties as a sorter in December of 1899, when the train on which he was traveling from Bordeaux to Paris collided with another train, running at 50 miles per hour. Gargam was thrown fifty two feet from the train. He lay in the snow, badly injured and unconscious for seven hours. He was paralyzed from the waist down. He was barely alive when lifted onto a stretcher. Taken to a hospital, his existence for some time was a living death. After eight months he had wasted away to a mere skeleton, weighing but seventy-eight pounds, although normally a big man. His feet became gangrenous. He could take no solid food and was obliged to take nourishment by a tube….
Previous to the accident Gargam had not been to Church for fifteen years. His aunt, who was a nun of the Order of the Sacred Heart, begged him to go to Lourdes. He refused. She continued her appeals to him to place himself in the hands of Our Lady of Lourdes. He was deaf to all her prayers. After continuous pleading of his mother he consented to go to Lourdes. It was now two years since the accident, and not for a moment had he left his bed all that time. He was carried on a stretcher to the train. The exertion caused him to faint, and for a full hour he was unconscious. They were on the point of abandoning the pilgrimage, as it looked as if he would die on the way, but the mother insisted, and the journey was made.
Arrived at Lourdes, he went to confession and received Holy Communion. There was no change in his condition. Later he was carried to the miraculous pool and tenderly placed in its waters – no effect. Rather a bad effect resulted, for the exertion threw him into a swoon and he lay apparently dead. After a time, as he did not revive, they thought him dead. Sorrowfully they wheeled the carriage back to the hotel. On the way back they saw the procession of the Blessed Sacrament approaching. They stood aside to let it pass, having placed a cloth over the face of the man whom they supposed to be dead.
As the priest passed carrying the Sacred Host, he pronounced Benediction over the sorrowful group around the covered body. Soon there was a movement from under the covering. To the amazement of the bystanders, the body raised itself to a sitting posture. While the family were looking on dumbfounded and the spectators gazed in amazement, Gargam said in a full, strong voice that he wanted to get up. They thought that it was a delirium before death, and tried to soothe him, but he was not to be restrained. He got up and stood erect, walked a few paces and said that he was cured. The multitude looked in wonder, and then fell on their knees and thanked God for this new sign of His power at the Shrine of His Blessed Mother. As Gargam had on him only invalid's clothes, he returned to the carriage and was wheeled back to the hotel. There he was soon dressed, and proceeded to walk about as if nothing had ever ailed him. For two years hardly any food had passed his lips but now he sat down to the table and ate a hearty meal.
On August 20th, 1901, sixty prominent doctors examined Gargam. Without stating the nature of the cure, they pronounced him entirely cured. Gargam, out of gratitude to God in the Holy Eucharist and His Blessed Mother, consecrated himself to the service of the invalids at Lourdes.
Sts. Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops, Doctors, Cappadocia (4th c.)— Feast, Jan. 2:
Sts. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen are fourth century Eastern Saints. St. Basil was the first to begin reserving the Blessed Sacrament in tabernacles at Churches. He promulgated belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, saying not only that it was the mark of a Christian to eat the Bread and drink the Cup of Christ, but also to keep in perpetual remembrance Him who died for us and rose again. He wrote these beautiful words about our Eucharistic King, “Eternal Son of the living God, Whom I here acknowledge really present! I adore Thee with all the powers of my soul. Prostrate with the Angels in the most profound reverence, I love Thee, O my Saviour, Whom I now behold on the throne of Thy love! O dread Majesty, O infinite Mercy! Save me, forgive me! Grant that I may never more be separated from Thee.” St. Gregory Nazianzen wrote: “When I was about to die, the immaculate table [the Eucharist] saved me.”
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Widow, Mother, Convert, Religious, U.S. (1774-1821)—Feast, Jan. 4:
“Unite me to yourself, O adorable victim, life-giving heavenly bread, feed me, sanctify me, reign in me, transform me to yourself—live in me, and let me live in you, let me adore you.” (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton)
Bl. Angela of Foligno, Widow,
Mother, Secular Franciscan, Italy (1248-1309)—Feast, Jan. 4:
Bl. Angela was very privileged to be able to adore the Lord daily. At times she saw Him in the Sacred Host in the form of a beautiful child, or as the Crucified Savior, or in His glory. Once when a priest was unable to bring her Communion to adore and receive, the angels brought the Sacred Host to her. Bl. Angela lived on Holy Communion as her only daily food for twelve years!
St. John Neumann, Redemptorist Priest, Bishop, Bohemia (1811-1860)—Feast, Jan. 5:
St. John Neumann had a tremendous devotion to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and wanted to institute the Forty Hours Devotion when he came to the United States. The devotion began centuries earlier in Europe. This idea encountered much resistance and numerous objections of every kind. There had been hostility and violence toward Catholics in his Diocese of Philadelphia at that time. One night, after nearly abandoning his dream, St. John Neumann fell asleep, from total exhaustion, while writing at his desk. A little while later he awoke to the smell of smoke, a lit candle had overturned and started a fire. Before him were the charred remains of his papers. There was only one letter remaining, that had not burned, the letter he had written about the Forty Hours Devotion!
St. Br. Andre Bessette, Miracle Worker, Montreal, Canada (1845-1937)—Feast, Jan. 6:
Br. Andre spent hours in Eucharistic Adoration. “If you stay a long time without taking any nourishment how could you live? If you do not go to Holy Communion, you cannot remain long in the state of grace.”
Feast of the Baptism of the
Lord—Feast, Jan. 9:
(Jn 1:29-33): John the Baptist saw Jesus and exclaimed “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” “It is He who will baptize with The Holy Spirit.” When we go to “The Lamb,” Jesus in The Holy Eucharist, we ask for grace to live out our Baptismal calling as faithful children of The Father. With each Hail Mary we pray--to be open to receiving the gifts of The Holy Spirit (from our A-13 Rosary pamphlet).
Day of Penance for Violations to the Dignity of the Human Person—Feast, Jan. 23:
“In the Bread which came down from heaven, the family will be able to find the support that will keep it united in the face of today’s threats and will preserve it as a bastion of life, steadfast against the culture of death” (Pope John Paul II, Message to Archbishop of Seville, June 5, 1995).
St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Doctor of the Church, Italy (c. 1225-1274)—Feast, Jan. 28:
St. Thomas said: “The noblest sacrament, consequently, is that wherein His Body is really present. The Eucharist crowns all the other sacraments.”
St. John Bosco, Priest, Salesian Founder, Italy (1815-1888)—Feast, Jan. 31:
“Jesus could have limited his presence only to the celebration of Mass, but no! He wanted to make a permanent dwelling among us. Night and day he awaits us and offers himself to us at all times. Like a most tender mother, he opens his arms to us. He is there generously to give us his gifts. He is there to draw us to him and lead us to paradise with him. Oh! Let us go visit him often.” (St. John Bosco)
The Presentation of the
Lord—Feast, February 2:
“The same Jesus is with us in our churches who at His birth was laid on straw and adored by the Magi, who fled into Egypt, who was sought for by the Blessed Virgin and found in the Temple, who changed water into wine, who restored the sight to the blind, made deaf to hear and the dumb to speak. Beloved Christian, you esteem Simeon happy in having been permitted to take the Infant Jesus in his arms; and were you to receive a grace like him, no doubt you would exclaim: ‘Now dost Thou dismiss Thy servant in peace: because my eyes have seen Thy salvation.’” (The Holy Eucharist, Jose Guadalupe Trevino)
Blaise, Bishop, Martyr, Patron of Throat Diseases, Armenia (316)—Feast, Feb. 3:
Invoked for the healing of throat diseases, St. Blaise wrote: “Father of mercy and God of all consolation, graciously look upon me and impart to me the blessing which flows from this Holy Sacrament [The Eucharist]. Overshadow me with Your loving kindness, and let this divine Mystery bear fruit in me.”
Paul Miki, Priest and Martyr, Japan (1564-1597)—Feast, February 6:
St. Paul’s family converted to Christianity when he was a child. As a Jesuit, empowered by the Eucharist, he proclaimed and defended the Catholic faith. St. Paul and 25 other Catholics were crucified during a persecution. While hanging on the Cross, St. Paul encouraged spectators to give their lives for Christ and forgave his enemies.
St. Josephine Bakhita, Religious, Africa (1869-1947)—Feast, February 8:
Converted to the Catholic faith and became a religious sister after her release from slavery, St. Josephine spent much time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and in service of others.
Scholastica, Benedictine, Abbess, Miracle Worker, Italy (480-547)—Feast,
St. Benedict’s twin sister, Scholastica, was the first abbess of the order of nuns he founded in Monte Cassino. She devoted her life to prayer and adoration of Jesus Eucharistic!
Our Lady of Lourdes, France—Feast, February 11:
“All shrines of Mary, scattered throughout the world, have become above all centers of devotion to the Eucharist, as if the Mother of Jesus had appeared, here or there, in order to lead the faithful to the adoration and love of her blessed Son.” (Bl. John XXIII)
St. Peter Damian, Bishop and Cardinal, Italy (1007-1072)—Feast, February 21:
“Christ cannot be accused of forgetfulness: Christ does not enjoin things contrary to His commands. He is the Bread that came down from heaven, which is daily brought to the table of the Church, as a heavenly food, which is broken for the forgiveness of sins, which feeds and nourishes unto life everlasting them that eat the same.” (St. Peter Damian)
Possenti, Patron of Clerics & Youth, Italy (1838-1862)—Feast, February 27:
“There is more sweetness in one hour of prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament than in all the world’s crowded theaters, and brilliant drawing rooms, and giddy diversions, and social gatherings.” (St. Gabriel Possenti)
St. Katharine Drexel,
Religious, America (1858-1955)—Feast, March 3:
“The sacred host exposed on the altar gives my soul food for ‘admiration.’ I admire my Divine Spouse in His humility but above all His love which has placed Him to be there.” (St. Katharine)
St. John of God,
Religious, Founder of Hospitallers, Portugal (1495-1550)—Feast, March 8:
St. John was a faithful youth and spent the first part of his life as a shepherd. As a young man St. John joined the military and drifted from his faith, but later converted and dedicated his life totally to God. St. John founded the Brothers Hospitallers of St. John of God who tirelessly care for the sick. St. John wrote, “Love our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist above all things in the world.” He is the patron of those suffering from heart disease.
St. Dominic Savio, Patron
of Children, Italy (1842-1857)—Feast, March 9:
St. John Bosco advised those about to receive First Holy Communion to take St. Dominic Savio as their Patron Saint, due to his love of Jesus Eucharistic. He loved to visit and spend time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament daily, and invite his friends too. St. Dominic wrote, “What else do I need to be happy? Nothing in this world but to be able to see Him, Whom I now see by faith and adore on the altar.”
St. Louise de Marillac,
Mother & Religious, France (1591-1660)—Feast,
“With all my heart I desire You, O Bread of Angels! Do not look on my unworthiness which separates me from You, but look on Your love which so often has invited me to approach You.” (St. Louise)
St. Patrick, Bishop and Patron of Ireland (d. 461)—Feast, March 17:
St. Patrick brought Ireland the True Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist which made their faith strong in the face of persecution. “Though robbed of their beautiful cathedrals and parish churches, though deprived of their Mass-houses and hovels, the priests and people would not bow the knee to Baal. With the quick instinct of devotion, and the grand daring of affection, they once again found places wherein to worship their Eucharistic God and King. They went forth to the valleys, the hills and the mountains, to the caves and caverns of this Irish soil, and inaugurated a period of imperishable piety.” (Ireland’s Loyalty to the Mass, Fr. Augustine O.F.M. Cap.)
Feast of the Annunciation of the
“When the Divine Child was conceived, Mary’s humanity gave Him hands and feet, eyes and ears, and a body with which to suffer. Just as the petals of a rose after a dew close on the dew as if to absorb its energies, so too Mary as the Mystical Rose closed upon Him Whom the Old Testament had described as a dew descending upon the earth. When finally she did give Him birth, it was as if a great ciborium had opened, and she was holding in her fingers the Guest Who was also the Host of the world, as if to say, ‘Look, this is the Lamb of God; look, this is He Who takes away the sins of the world.’” (Life of Christ, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen)