A Miracle for the Apostle of the Lepers

Father Damien de Veuster

“No one has survived this cancer. This illness will take you,” said Doctor Walter Chang to Audrey Toguchi in 1997 since, scientifically, there was nothing that could be done for her. (…)

Terminal cancer

In 1996, Audrey Toguchi, native of the Island of Oahu in Hawaii, was 69. “I had no idea I had cancer,” she told ZENIT.

“My husband noticed I had a lump after a fall — I had slipped some days earlier while cleaning the floor of my house. The family doctor said it was a bruise.”

The following year, the bruise had not disappeared, but had grown. After additional exams, a tumor was found in her left thigh. It was malignant cancer.

She underwent surgery a year later, but the cancer had already spread. “It was the surgeon who discovered on removing it that it was a very rare and aggressive terminal cancer,” she explained.

“Other oncologists who studied the case said that nowhere in the world was it recorded that a person survived this type of sickness,” Toguchi continued.

After another examination in September of 1998, the X-rays showed that the cancer had metastasized in her lungs. The doctors gave her three months to live.

Toguchi relates that she felt weak. She did not want any more chemotherapy or medical interventions. But she took up a devotion she had practiced from her childhood, as a good Hawaiian: “I have always loved Father Damien,” Toguchi explained.

“I have prayed to him all my life. That is why I visited Kalawao (where his tomb is located), Molokai and our churches over many years,” she said.

No doubt

In November of 1998, Toguchi began to feel much improved. Medical examinations revealed that the cancer was receding. Six months later, X-rays showed a complete regression of the metastasis, though she had had no therapy. The cancer disappeared entirely.

While for her doctors, there is no explanation — her own doctor, who is not a Catholic, affirms this — for Toguchi there is no doubt that it was the hand of Damien from heaven, interceding before God. Many prayers were said for years, both by her and her relatives, to this blessed apostle.

“When I was completely cured by the Lord’s love and Father Damien’s intercession, I felt very honored and grateful,” she said.

On Oct. 18, 2007, medical experts from the Congregation for Saints’ Causes examined the clinical documents. As is always the case for a canonization, believers and non-believers concluded with moral certitude that the cure was not only exceptional but “extra-natural.”

Then, the Commission of Theologians determined that it was a miracle, obtained by Father Damien’s intercession — an indispensable requisite to receive the title of saint. (source : Zenit)

A movie to see :
“Molokai: The Story of Father Damien”

Synopsis :

Exile to Molokai was the means with which leprosy was dealt with in the Hawaiian Islands during the late 1800s. Molokai was an untamed isle located between the islands of Oahu and Maui. Abandoned for all extents and purposes, the lepers attempted to scrape out a living in their squalor without outside aid or care. Enter the courageous Father Damien. He was the first priest to go to Molokai. And even though his bishop strictly warned him that “he must not touch anyone,” Father Damien risked his life and health to reach out to the suffering.

Gradually, Father Damien was able to gain the trust of the lepers. Additionally, and more importantly, his cries for additional help were heard and heeded by others. The success of his appeals was unbelievably dismaying to superiors who were more interested respect and riches than reaching out to the suffering.

Eventually, as expected Father Damien was also afflicted. This, however, only seemed to provide him with an even greater drive to ameliorate the conditions of his now “fellow” lepers. After collapsing during Mass, he was carried to the very hospital that he himself had established where he died. There is a touching seen when all gather to pray for him at the hospital’s entrance.

Holy father Damien, pray for us!


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