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    "When many cures are offered for a disease, it means the disease is not curable" -Anton Chekhov

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    Sunday, October 15, 2006

    Saintly Miracles: We have a new saint today with American connections - Mother Theodore Guerin, the hierarchy defying French nun who brought Catholic religious education to Indiana. Here are her miracles:

    In 1908, Sister Mary Theodosia Mug was ailing from a crippled arm and breast cancer when she prayed over Mother Theodore's crypt under the Sisters of Providence church. Just hours later, her symptoms subsided; she lived an additional 35 years and died a natural death.

    Nearly a century later, in 2001, Sisters of Providence employee Phil McCord prayed in the congregation's church after it appeared he was headed for a cornea transplant. The non-Catholic says he offered a mention of Mother Theodore in the hopes that she would put a good word in to "the big guy" for him. Because of McCord's prayers or for some other reason, the swelling in his eye quickly lessened, as well as his need for a transplant.

    In the end, he had some scar tissue around his eye removed and now has 20/20 vision. His physicians have been unable to explain the healing.

    "I'm not a theologian. I don't understand all of the implications of what happened to me or how they determine it to be a miracle," McCord said this year. "I just leave it to those who are more learned in that area. All I know is that it's my story. I'm sticking to it."

    It's hard to say whether that was an infection or breast cancer in 1908, but that last miracle is a modern one. According to this report, the corneal scarring was a result of cataract surgery. There's no interview with the doctors, but here's the patient's account:

    While his left eye responded to surgery, a subsequent operation on his right eye caused its cornea to swell. Drops and medicine did not help. McCord could see only lights and shapes out of that eye.

    A specialist in Indianapolis confirmed what McCord's local physician said: He needed a corneal transplant.

    A cornea harvested from a cadaver would be sewn into place. Recovery might take one to two years. Surgery had a 60 percent to 70 percent chance of success.

    All this preyed on McCord's mind one fall day in 2000 as he walked across campus to his office.

    He heard beautiful music coming from the church, where the organist was practicing. He slipped inside to gather his thoughts.

    "I had really no intention of going in and praying or anything. It just sort of evolved ...," he says. "I finally got to the point when I went, 'OK, God, if you're listening ...' "

    Raised a Baptist and the son of a lay minister, McCord is a "believer" but not a churchgoer. He became comfortable with Roman Catholic worship after being exposed to it through work, and occasionally would stop by the church to think. This day he remembered that Catholics sometimes call on people to intercede.

    "It suddenly occurred to me that maybe Mother Theodore was listening. She always had a soft spot for employees," he says. "I thought, 'Well, what can it hurt?' "

    A 15- to 20-minute rambling conversation ended with, "Well, OK, anyway, if you can help me get through this, guys, I will be really grateful."

    McCord sat in the now-quiet church for a while longer, and gradually felt better.

    When he left, his prayer for strength had been answered.

    McCord woke up the next morning with less heaviness in his eye. A check in the mirror showed less irritation. His eyelid wasn't as droopy.

    Returning to the specialist about two weeks later, McCord told the doctor that, while it may be wishful thinking, he thought his eye was better.

    Looking from McCord's eye to a medical chart, the doctor said only "Hmmm."

    "Hmmm what?"

    The specialist asked what the local physician had done.

    "He didn't do anything. I haven't seen him."

    "Oh. So what did you do?"

    "What can I do? Well, I said a prayer."

    "Oh. OK. All right. Well, you're right. Your eye is better."

    A corneal transplant was not needed.

    "Hurray! I'm saved!" he thought.

    Again, there's no interview with the doctor, and no timeline for the post-op injury and its recovery, so it's hard to assess if this is a miracle, or a result of a tincture of time, which itself can heal corneal edema. At any rate, it's nice to have a little ecumenical miracle in these religiously divided times.

    posted by Sydney on 10/15/2006 06:21:00 PM 1 comments


    I'd lay even odds that if you have a favorite Saint,
    it's this one.

    By Anonymous dani, at 1:14 PM  

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