On September 15, 2012, Steven and I returned to Stella Maris and delighted in finding Father Ralph peacefully seated under a tree.
“Hello! How are you?” I chirped.
“How are you?” Father asked.
“I’m just fine, looking forward to seeing you again.”
“Praise God! It’s been a while.”
“Olivia called me on August 30, to let me know she’s healthier than ever. She’s exercising an hour and a half every day. She’s the one who had the colon cancer surgery on January 23. Remember? We came here, and we told you. She’s doing just fine. Praise God!”
“Oh, how wonderful! Well, he hasn’t retired, and he hasn’t become senile yet. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
“We brought you this. We were in Detroit.”
“Oh, yes. Solanus Casey,” Father Ralph said as he examined the baggie’s contents and saw Father Casey’s relic badge and the prayer leaflet.
“Yes. Have you been there?” I asked excitedly.
“I did my master’s there. He died the year I got there. July or June, 1957.”
“Oh, this is priceless! We were there April 28, and he was transformed,” I said, referring to Steven.
“I walked into the chapel,” Steven began, “and there was no doubt in my mind that I was on holy ground. Something very special happened.”
“Praise the Lord! You want to hear about the latest miracle?” Father asked enticingly.
“Yes! Yes! Oh, and please, please, please, I need to pray for somebody.”
“We’ll do it after Mass. We will,” Father assured me.
“There was a lady who called from the Valley,” Father Ralph continued. “We’ve been getting a lot of visitors from the Valley, way down there where Our Lady of San Juan is, at the basilica and around that area.”
“A lot of people have been checking out my blog posts on you and this church,” I told Father. “The first time we were here, I recorded your homily, typed it, and added it to my post. You talked about fourteen miracles.”
“Praise God! They’re still coming. This one will blow your mind. A week ago this Wednesday. Well, first of all, a lady called me from the Valley about three weeks before that. She said her daughter had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. She had an appointment at M. D. Anderson to determine what they were going to do. What could they do? I prayed over the phone for the child. I always stress that there’s no distance in prayer. God is the healer, and so I quote the Word.
“Last Wednesday she came— the mother, the grandmother, and this very cute little girl. She’s about four-and-a-half, very shy, very timid. I annointed her with the sacrament of the sick. I blessed her with St. Peregrine’s oil and first-class relic and prayed over her. Then, just before they left, I was led to do something I’d never done. I’d done it on a group basis but never one-on-one like that.
“I took Jesus out of the tabernacle and blessed her with the monstance. Rather, I held it while Jesus blessed her. They proceeded to the hospital in Houston. She had an appointment at eight o’clock the next morning.
“We remembered her during seven o’clock Mass; and people here prayed for her, too.
“About two o’clock in the afternoon, the grandmother called me. They were in orbit! They were on their way back home to McAllen. She said, ‘Father, when they got in there and rechecked her with their tests, there was no tumor whatsoever, just a little scar tissue where it had been. The doctor said, ‘I have no explanation for this medically.’ And the grandmother said, ‘We do. Several have been praying for this little girl.'”
“Praise God!” I interjected.
“About two months ago I gave out some blessed handkerchiefs, like St. Paul did, to some of the pilgrims who came here. Anyway, I did my thing; and they left.
“A couple of weeks later, three who’d been here came back. They had a couple with them, a young couple with a little baby. They came to the seven o’clock Mass and stayed for Adoration.
“I did a miracle service for them during which I said, ‘You know, it’s sad. Ten lepers were healed by Jesus, and only one came back and acknowledged and thanked him. I’m not the healer; but I find that in the priesthood. Very few, if any, ever acknowledge that they got help. Yet, you get enough that you know God is alive and still doing it.’
“I run across people in odd places. I have at the door of HEB, at Fruit King.”
I laughed heartily.
“I’m serious. At different places. ‘Oh, Father, Father, do you remember?’
“Anyway, one of the three women remembered. She told me, ‘Father, someone lent me the handkerchief you gave her. My husband had a tonsillectomy. He came home, and everything was fine. Several hours later, he coughed up a little blood… and then a little bit more blood… and then more blood.’ She said, ‘He was hemorrhaging. I prayed for him. Nothing happened. I called 9-1-1, and then I remembered the handkerchief I’d borrowed. I put it on the back of his neck.’
“Now why she put it there I don’t know. She said, ‘The bleeding stopped instantly. Then I thought, Why did I call 9-1-1 anyway? I don’t think I need them at all.’
“By that time it was too late. The paramedics were already there; so they went in, saw what was going on, and said, ‘For safety sake, we’d better go by the ER with him.’
“As soon as they got there, the man started hemorrhaging again. The handkerchief had stopped the bleeding until they could get him to competent hands! That was the miracle.
“Then I gave a healing service in George West, TX. They have a church up there called St. George. They wanted a devotion to St. Peregrine, and I knew there’d be a powerful move of God because they had a statue of St. Peregrine in the church. It looked quite large, but I guess it was resin. It looked heavy; but it wasn’t at all, so the priest moved it near the side of the altar.
“The people came forward for anointing and so forth, and a couple of them had pictures of those who couldn’t be there. I just vaguely remember this. One of them was an infant who had cancer. There was no chemo they could use and no radiation, or it would kill her. She was just a little kid, and so they got their miracle. The cancer totally disappeared. St. Peregrine is very powerful.”
“Yes, he is!” I agreed, recalling Olivia’s healing miracle.
Memorable as ever
Just then Father Ralph spotted a familiar face.
“Hey! Hi there. Welcome to church! You’d better be careful. You’re going to be addicted!” he teased as the woman approached.
“I know! How was your trip?” the woman asked joyfully.
“It was wonderful.”
“Father, this is my son, Josh. He’s down from San Antonio.”
Steven and I took that as our cue to give others the opportunity to visit with Father Ralph before Mass.
I wondered what he had in store for us, but I was sure it’d be as memorable as ever.
O God, you gave St. Peregrine an angel for his companion, the Mother of God for his teacher, and Jesus as physician of his malady. We ask, through his merits, that we may intensely love and forever bless our holy angel, the blessed Virgin Mary, and our Savior. Grant that we may receive the favor for which we now petition. We ask this through Christ, our lord. Amen.
Pray seven Our Father’s, seven Hail Mary’s, and seven Glory be’s. Close with “St. Peregrine, pray for us.”
Links of interest… Franciscan Mission Associates… Prayer: intercessory / Miracle prayer (Fr. Peter Mary Rookey; YouTube) / novenas (188) / to the saints / with Fr. Bob (audio novena)… Saints: about / by date & name / fun facts archive / lives / of the day / patron / sqpn* / stories for kids… St. Peregrine: about / articles (prayer cards) / biography / “cancer saint” / chaplet / feast / friends of / healing intercessor & friend / healing power / May 1st / novena / prayers (requests) / shrine / story… Stella Maris: anniversary / facebook / history (more) / Lamar, TX (more) / marker…
WP posts… Capuchin church stations… God’s master plan… Healing service… Holy relics… Mercy and justice… Powerful intercessor… Prayers and blessings… Saintly connections… Saturday evening Mass… Sensory overload… Solano, Solanus, Solani… St. Bonaventure Church… St. Felix… St. Peregrine relic… Stella Maris… Today’s Beatitudes