Friday, October 8, 2010

The miracle of Bl Mary MacKillop which lead to upcoming canonization

Edit: The article did not seem clear enough and I misunderstood something.  The miracle about the young man was a runner-up case.  The miracle which paved the way to MacKillop's canonization is here.  Read more about the other case below, which is very interesting.

This comes from the official website for soon to be Saint Mary MacKillop from down under:

In April 2008, the documents pertaining to a remarkable cure of a woman with inoperable cancer were delivered under seal to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. These were officially opened and then examined to establish if they were validly prepared according to the juridical requirements of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The process is slow and painstaking so that there is no room for mistakes.

When validity of the process was confirmed an official summary was prepared. Then a chronological history of the illness and cure was also prepared. Both the summary and chronology were translated into Italian and formatted in a book for easy reference to the cogent points of interest.

In September 2008, this book was given to two doctors, chosen by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. These doctors scrutinised the documents and had access to all X-rays, scans and medical reports from the cured person as well as other references to the illness from medical literature. They were asked to give an opinion on the question, “Can the cure be explained by scientific or medical means?” When the doctors concluded that the cure could not be explained by medical or scientific means, all the material was further studied and discussed by a Medical Board, whose members were also chosen by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

It took several months for the close scrutiny of this case to be examined by the Medical Board and theologians and eventually the cardinals and bishops recommended to Pope Benedict XVI that this cure was truly a miracle.

On December 19 2009, Pope Benedict XVI approved this miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Mary MacKillop. This was the final step to fulfil the requirements for canonisation. On February 19, 2010 Pope Benedict XVI announced that Mary MacKillop will become Australia's first saint and her canonisation will take place in Rome on Sunday 17 October, 2010 (see Journey to Canonisation for up-to-date news).

This is an incredible story about another miracle, known by the Vatican, but held in reserve.  She will be canonized on October 17th, along with Blessed Andre Bessette, and others.  Here is a story in the Sydney Morning Herald (veil-tip to a friend of Grotto, Andrew Rabel!)

Miracle in our midst, says Vatican
Barney Zwartz

October 6, 2010

JACK Simpson should have died at least five years ago. Instead, he is about to leave for Rome to honour the woman whose intervention he credits with his cure, which the Vatican accepts as a miracle.

Jack, 19, was the ''runner-up'', the one held in reserve, for the second miracle Mary MacKillop needed to be canonised Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop in Rome on Sunday week.

Disaster struck in April 1999. ''He went from a normal boy going to school to another boy we didn't know coming home that night. He lost all his competencies and became like a new baby,'' his mother, Sharon Simpson, says.

Jack was eventually diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, cancer, epilepsy and loss of neurological functions.

Andrew Kornberg, director of the neurology department at the Royal Children's Hospital, called Jack's recovery miraculous, and the Vatican agreed - not for the MS or cancer but for the unprecedented recovery of his intellectual capacity.

The story of the Woodend identical twin has not been told until now because, while the cases were being investigated by the Vatican, the family was asked to keep it secret.

It was presented to Pope Benedict last year, along with Kathleen Evans's cure from inoperable brain and lung cancer - the case chosen as the second miracle.

The Simpson family's ordeal began in 1999 when Jack, then eight, collapsed at school. ''At first we thought he'd hit his head. His eyes were rolling, he couldn't stand and had no comprehension. It was unbelievably horrible,'' Mrs Simpson said yesterday.

For the first year there was no diagnosis, as his central nervous system went into meltdown, leaving him paralysed. Soon after the problem was revealed as juvenile MS - with a maximum life expectancy of five years - the family noticed lumps the size of bars of soap in his neck and groin.

''When he went to the nuclear medicine department and they put the tracer in, he was lit up like a Christmas tree. It was quite advanced, stage four Hodgkin's lymphoma.''

A friend organised novenas (nine-day prayer cycles) to Mary MacKillop at St Ambrose's Catholic Church at Woodend in 1999 and 2000, but nothing changed at first.

For Mrs Simpson the turning point came one night in 2000.

''That night I thought Jack was going to die. He seemed to be in the last stage, with the breath rattling. I thought, 'You can't keep fighting forever, you have to surrender,' and I said, 'If you want him, God, you can have him.' ''

But in the morning he was still alive. She thought he might be cured, so she stood him up, but he was still paralysed.

''That's when Mary MacKillop appeared. She helped me lift him up and get him back into bed. From then on, I knew I was never alone and her strength became mine.''

Jack started improving. One day in 2004, at a routine cognitive assessment at the Children's, Mrs Simpson was greeted by a doctor telling her something wonderful had happened. ''The MS was gone, the cancer was gone, the epilepsy controlled - he now suffers about one episode a year - and his cognitive faculties were returning.''

Mrs Simpson wrote her account that year, and it was given to Sister Maria Casey, who was in charge of presenting the case in Rome for Mary MacKillop to be made a saint.

''She rang me, and the Vatican doctors came out from London to interview Dr Kornberg. The miracle she presented was the return of his intellectual competency, because that has never been documented in human history.''

In April 2005, Professor Kornberg wrote a letter on the family's behalf, saying: ''Jack's recovery has been miraculous … On a personal level I wonder whether there was something special happening here … I will always look back at Jack's case and remember that one should never lose hope.''

Yesterday he confirmed his view that Jack had recovered miraculously. ''Sometimes you just can't explain it,'' he said.

Jack, who finished year 12 last year and now works part-time at Coles, does not remember much of his illness, but said yesterday: ''It just felt like I was on fire.''

Now he feels fine, and says he is really excited about going to Rome.

Mrs Simpson says: ''It's a beautiful story, the kind of story that gives hope to people. It could so easily not have had a happy ending.''
To learn more about soon-to-be "Saint Mary MacKillop" go to her official website.

Photo: Angela Wylie

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