Praying for Healing - The Challenge
We are two medical doctors who work in Community Medicine as Developmental Paediatricians. Since
coming into Charismatic Penewal several years ago, the Lord has taught us that disease is not only healed through
medical skills but also through healing prayer. Our work as doctors has been greatly enriched by healing prayer
- we see more healing taking place. Doctors, psychiatrists, spiritual counsellors and Christians with the gift
of healing prayer all go to make up God's healing team.
Our experience leads us to the conviction that Jesus sifil heals people today as he did two thousand
years ago. Divine healing does happen - and quite commonly too.
Among the wonders we have been privileged to witness are spontaneous regression of tumours, total cures of irreversible disease processes and immediate remission of illnesses known to be incurable by medical means.
Emotional healing is as real as physical healing, in fact, more so. Through prayer we have seen time and time again people freed from long-standing alcoholism, drug abuse, and depressive disease.
Doctors today are conscious of the close relationship between mind, spirit, and body and that wholeness in these areas is essential for good health. Some of the most dramatic physical healings we have seen have followed deep inner healing of the spirit and the emotions.
The link between diseases like arthritis, ulcerative colitis, gastric ulcers, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, migraine, and even cancer, with negative emotions is qulte generally accepted.
Extraordinary healing of these conditions occurs with some frequency. Through healing prayer, the roots of these illnesses, such as fear, anger, bitterness, resentment, and guilt have been healed, The medical profession may call these 'psychosomatic' cures and, indeed, they may be. But what we must remember is that a psychosomatic cure is a real cure. Many doctors agree that 75-80% of our illnesses are of psychosomatic origin. People with psychosomatic problems are often far more difficult to cure than others. When dealing with physical sickness, at least 75% of our effort should primarily be directed towards the healing of the 'psyche', that is, the emotions. We find that Jesus also heals the psyche and emotions.
The healing testimonies which follow seem to us to be good examples of Jesus healing people in answer to prayer, and we are convinced of the authenticity of these healings. We have added very brief medical notes at the end of many of the testimonies. These healings, however, have not received the official recognition of the Church, which recognition depends on the competent ecclesiastical authorities.
Joseph Briffa MD
Fr James Overton
In February 1969 my back went out of place when I attempted to carry some heavy ladders, One of the lumbar vertebrae was displaced and this caused great pain and discomfort, which lasted until June 1975. At the beginning of this period I was in constant pain and unable to sleep in a normal bed or sit in armchairs, Instead I had to lie on a board and sit on hard chairs. I received medical attention involving wearing a surgical corset, spending two months in a plaster jacket and having traction for several weeks. None of these conventional methods brought any relief. However, a course of treatment under an osteopath in London during 1970 did bring some relief to the severe pain, but there was still considerable pain and I still had to sleep on a board and avoid soft chairs.
In May 1975 I attended a talk given by a Jesuit priest, Father M.S., at The Grail, Pinner, where he spoke about the wounds each of us has received and how, therefore, we should judge each other compassionately. The days following this talk showed me very clearly that I was harbouring much resentment against my parish priest and that I was judging him harshly without taking into account the wounds that had been inflicted upon him and which had affected his personality. I had a clear sense that I needed to go to confession to acknowledge my sin of arrogance, judgement, and lack of love, care, and compassion towards my parish priest. I sought out Father M.S. and made my confession to him. At the end of the confession he prayed over me for healing of my back. Two nights later when I got onto my board to sleep, I found the pain impossible so I got up, removed the board and slept in a normal bed. During the night I experienced my back moving into place. This was accompanied by a feeling of warmth and a sensation of electricity passing along my back. When I got up the following morning all the pain was gone, and over the next two or three weeks I was conscious of strength moving into my back and of warmth and healing taking place. At the end of this period my back was completely healed.
I did ask for healing prayer for my back several times before 1975, but it was only the clear
recognition of sin and true repentance for it that allowed subsequent healing prayer to be effective. I do not
believe it was psychosomatic healing because I was not expectant of healing as previous prayer had not been effective,
If there had been any expectation, the two-day delay certainly destroyed that. I am convinced that this healing
was a sovereign intervention from God but that the key element was repentance for my sinful attitudes and judgements.
Dr. M. Jessudas
I have been a medical practitioner since 1980 and I had no history of any physical illness until June 1986. I then developed a viral flu-like illness. After consultation, I was assured by a specialist that I was suffering from a viral infection which was a self-limiting illness and there was no cause for concern.
As time passed, I started losing weight and my legs progressively became weaker. In August 1986 I was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of a hospital because of weakness in all four limbs and early breathing difficulty. After investigations, I was found to be suffering from a malignant tumour of the spine. Being a family man with two young children, my first reaction was one of panic, I had never experienced such an emotional crisis. However, being a medical man I had faith in medical science. But, notwithstanding my hopes, I continued to deteriorate even after radiation treatment. As no further treatment was available, after radiation I was sent home and the doctors had given up hope. I lay in bed paralysed from the waist down and partially paralysed in the arms.
During this most difficult time in my life, I was introduced to a charismatic prayer group in
Cockfosters by a family practitioner. Until then, I had simply ignored the power of prayer, although I had always
believed in a higher being (God).
When during their first visit, they were laying hands on my back and legs, I felt a sensation
of warmth in my spine and down my legs. I experienced a strong desire to move my limbs. Although I could not move
my legs straightaway, I was able immediately to move my arms with power. This I could not do before.
From being totally bedridden I am now free from cancer and able to walk with little difficulty
and look after my family. Without the Charismatic Penewal and the group's prayers, I am quite certain that this
new chapter of my life would not have taken place. The group prayed over me frequently for six months. The tumour
in my back got smaller and smaller until it disappeared and my mobility increased. I am now working full-time as
a hospital consultant again.
Sr Eleanor O'Brien
My lungs had been weak from birth and I suffered from bronchitis frequently. While teaching in
London's East End for nine years, my bronchitis worsened. Dr. Murphy said my only hope of improvement was to 'export'.
I was sent to our community in Turloch, California, in 1957, and for six years I kept reasonably well. However,
in 1963 I developed a very serious and rather rare lung disease called 'bronchiectasis'.
In 19711 attended a 'Life in the Spirit' Seminar in the Jesuit College of San Francisco University. I was prayed over for the baptism of the Spirit. Jesus became very real in my life, and I became deeply convinced of his personal love for me. The Bible also became alive in a new way.
Between 1971 and 1972 I steadily became worse and I also became depressed. On Pentecost Sunday 1972, reluctantly I attended a prayer meeting in San Francisco. I could not join in the praise. Somebody called my name to be prayed over for healing and I accepted. I was very sceptical. Nothing happened, and in fact I felt worse for the next six months.
My superior encouraged me to take a holiday in Ireland. After seeing my sister, I went to Mount Melleray to visit my brother, Father Athanasius. However, all I could do was to retire to bed. I could hardly sleep, eat, or walk. One day I crawled to the loft choir for the Night Office. At the Salve Pegina, I managed to stand.
An extraordinary event happened. It seemed as if the whole of heaven was descending like a waterfall. I was being filled from my feet upward with love, joy, light, life, music, beauty, and tremendous energy. It seemed I could not contain it all. I felt like a child again. I wanted to dance. With full voice I sang the Salve Pegina with my brand new lungs.
The next morning with my brother, I climbed the Knockmealdown Mountains. We sang and we cried.
We thanked God for my healing. For the last sixteen years I have exchanged an oxygen cylinder for a twelve-string
guitar and a bicycle. I cycle around Dagenham performing full-time parish duties. And I have become involved in
the ministry of praying for healing for others. I have been singing the Lord's praises daily and I shall give thanks
to the Lord as long as I live.
Due to an accident in 1953, a severe blow to my spine resulted progressively during the following twenty years in daily discomfort, constant pain, interspersed with severe debilitating bouts of pain. Weeks of sleepless nights left me despairing and exhausted. The onset of an attack caused agonising pain to shoot across my back. Frequently losing consciousness I would fall (unless my husband was there to save me). The paralysing pain rendered me unable to move until help arrived. Over a period I attended Barnet, University college, and The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospitals for treatment. The onset of severe pain was due to the right lower 'sac' moving further to the right. I was medically retired from British Telecom due to the appalling sick record in 1974 - 'chronic incurable spinal complaint'. In April 1975 I sought private help in Harley Street (Doctor Pattinson) hoping for a fusion to lessen the pain, but X-rays revealed disc damage up to five and six in the lower spine and sciliosis convex to the right (curvature). A fusion operation was impossible as this would cause extra burden on the damaged discs and danger of paralysis, which could result in a wheelchair with no promise that pain would be relieved.
In June 1975, at a prayer group at Christ the King, Cockfosters, I was prayed with for healing
by a few lay people, led by two priests and a student Jesuit. A priest placed his hand on my back. I felt a strong
sensation of heat in my spine and great peace. I slept soundly that night, the pain had lessened, for the first
time in years. I got out of bed unassisted, and to my joy found that I was standing upright. The pain was negligible,
being present only in my badly stretched muscles, and by the end of the week had gradually disappeared. Doctor
Delmount, my GP, was mystified
I had tried to follow Jesus' teaching in my life, but being aware of my weaknesses, knew that I often failed him. I had heard of God's healing love at Lourdes, and elsewhere, but felt that this must be for especially good people who deserved healing. How could I have been so blind to God's love for us all? I now believe that if we turn to him God meets us at our point of need.
I became involved in praying for the healing of others, always receiving wise counsel from a priest and others in leadership positions, as to the guide-lines. Monday evening and Tuesday afternoon prayer groups at Potters Bar bring people together to worship, praise, and thank God and to ask for his healing love when requested. The local GP, Doctor Ciezak, sends people to the groups who are in need and so many, praise God, have been blessed spiritually, mentally, and physically - often coming to know God's love for the first time. One lady, healed of terminal cancer five years ago, counsels cancer patients at Mount Vernon Hospital. At first she claimed that she had no education to speak, but her simple witness gives hope to so many who otherwise would have no hope in his love.
For several months in 1985-6 I had been losing weight and going to the bathroom three times a
night. I also was feeling generally unwell. By August 1986 after several investigations, my specialist diagnosed
an enlarged prostate, requiring an operation. I still continued to lose weight. Worse was to follow. I also had
an ulcer in the mouth which refused to heal. The doctor suspected cancer. My strength continued to fade.
My mouth ulcer spread and I found it more difficult to eat or drink. The doctors considered my ulcer to be very serious and they decided not to operate on my prostate before my mouth was cured. I became progressively weaker, losing more weight and all desire to eat. In September 1986 I became semiconscious and came close to death.
Many people prayed for my healing. On 29th September 1986, I was admitted to hospital and put on an intravenous drip feed. I slowly regained consciousness. The doctors still expected me to die and they sent me home.
However during November 1986 my spirits began to lift. I became determined to live. I started to pray with great faith for my healing. Every day and night, I would claim my healing, praying verses of faith from the Scriptures, such as: 'By his stripes we are healed.' In the name of Jesus, I took authority over my sickness and I rebuked my infirmity. I pictured myself well again.
In January 1987 I saw my oral specialist, and to his utter amazement he found no trace of my
mouth condition. Three weeks later he pronounced me completely cured.
Fr. Brian O'Sullivan
My own experience of the healing ministry in the church was totally unexpected. It happened at the Conference Centre of Westminster Cathedral 14 years ago, when I went there on a Sunday to attend a Day of Renewal. About 15 years before this I was involved in a motor accident which left me with a twisted pelvis and consequent pressures on the lower vertebrae of the spine. This caused me more or less constant pain, and this pain became more intense if I had to stand for any length of time, such as during the celebration of Mass. I was also in considerable pain when I had to climb in and out of a car, stand up from a seated position or climb stairs.
When I arrived at the Conference Centre all the chairs were occupied, so having already stood for the celebration of two Masses that morning I then had to stand for a further hour. At the end of the prayer meeting I saw an empty chair in a side room and made for it. I sat down very gratefully, and then to my surprise I was surrounded by a small group of people who asked me if I would like them to pray with me for any purpose. I did not realise that this was a normal feature of that Day of Renewal, namely that prayer for healing was always available in the side room after the large prayer meetings. I told them about the pain I was experiencing and they laid hands on my head and prayed for a few minutes very simply and quietly.
I had no expectation of healing and was certainly not in any kind of heightened emotional mood at the time. In fact, when the priest who was leading the small group asked me how the pain was, it was a moment or two before I realised, to my surprise, that it had stopped. I got to my feet and that would normally have been a painful experience, but this time it wasn't. I bent down to touch my toes, something I had not been able to do without pain for a number of years, I made every possible movement I could think of, and found I had total freedom of movement and not the slightest pain of any kind.
A few minutes later I spotted a flight of stairs and I ran up and down several times just for the sheer joy of being able to do this without pain. Later I got into my car, again without pain, and drove home, where I continued to experience total freedom of movement and absence of pain. From that day to this my back has remained healthy and free from pain. I have occasionally 'put my back out' when doing some violent exercise, but this has always proved to be just a brief temporary problem and I have never again experienced the constant pain and discomfort that I had known for so many years.
This was my introduction to the presence of the healing power of God in the Church today. Since
then we have often seen the healing power of Jesus at work in parishes.
I was born in 1950 in County Donegal, Eire, of Irish Catholic parents. My childhood was happy and my parents gave me much love and security. During my teens and early twenties, I was just a Sunday Christian.
In 1973, I came to England to work and I returned home twice a year to see my family. In 1977 my father was taken ill and died a week later. I was devastated and within a few days of his death, I suffered my first epileptic fit. Soon after, I began to lose control of the amount of alcohol I consumed daily. Within a few months I was going into a bar every night and drinking unifi I was dead drunk.
Despite medication, my epileptic fits continued for the next seven years, becoming more and more frequent.
In my desperate search for help, I went on pilgrimages to Lourdes, Fatima, Rome, and the Holy Land. After each pilgrimage, I would feel a little brighter. I felt there was a glimmer of hope that God would heal me. Yet, my fits continued and I still drank myself silly every night.
After seven years which were like a 'living death', a friend invited me to a healing service at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Highgate. The service consisted of prayer and praise and a sermon which spoke to my heart. I heard that Jesus was alive in his Church and he was sifil working miracles of healing today. With new hope, I went forward at the end of the service for individual prayer and laying on of hands. A member of the healing ministry team (T.H.) discerned that I needed to offer myself to Jesus and to ask him to send his Holy Spirit to take over my life. I agreed this is what I needed more than anything. So T.H. prayed with me and asked Jesus to renew all the graces and gifts of my baptism and confirmation. I instanfly experienced a deep peace and a great joy, which have remained with me for the last twenty-seven months.
From that day, my fits ceased and I was able to drink alcoholic drinks in moderation.
One day I went to the healing service and gave a testimony of my healing. Six months later I gave up drink for Lent, and I have not had a drink since.
Jesus has become real to me. I am convinced that he loves me and was with me throughout my troubled
years. I enjoy great peace and joy and my faith means everything to me. I have received the grace to pray for about
eight hours a day. Jesus has truly brought me from death back to life. I go to a charismatic prayer meeting twice
a week to thank and praise God for the wonders he has worked for me. Blessed be his Holy Name for ever.
Some years ago I came into Charismatic Renewal accidentally through my work as a speech therapist. I was treating a priest, who was recovering from a stroke, and as a result of prayer with the laying on of hands by another priest he made a remarkable recovery. Some weeks later, one Sunday morning when some members of the Westminster Prayer Group were visiting our parish in Cockfosters they noticed that I walked with difficulty into church, and to my embarrassment they asked if they could pray with me for healing. After considerable hesitation I consented - the recovery of the priest being uppermost in my mind.
Twenty-five years before I had injured my back as a result of a fall when I was horse riding. I was sixteen at the time and my parents sought the best orthopaedic opinion. Ten months later after many unsuccessful treatments the surgeon operated and removed a disc from my spine. As a result of surgery my right leg was partially numb, I was unable to feel pinpricks; knee and ankle reflexes were absent. My back continued to be painful. On a few occasions I was re-admitted into hospital for traction and put in plaster, When I married I found hoovering and shopping greatly increased the pain. In the morning I had to roll out of bed because I was unable to sit up, and I had to limber up after a hot bath. My back was gradually becoming more painful as the years went by.
During the prayers that Sunday morning when hands were laid on my back I felt heat, and continued to feel the warmth for about thirty hours. Two days later I sat up in bed for the first time for many years and I was able to hoover and shop without pain. My right leg was fully restored and I could feel pinpricks and all the reflex activity was normal.
This happened in 1976. My back continues to be free from pain and I have been riding again many
times. Even more remarkable than my physical healing was my spiritual growth. I wanted to give thcinks to God so
I decided to go to the weekly prayer meetings. I attended against my will for many months unifi I realised the
benefits I was receiving. I came to know Christ Jesus in a personal way. My whole life altered as I learned to
pray. And after experiencing the healing touch of Jesus myself, I have found myself increasingly involved in the
ministry of praying for the healing of other people.
Sr. Ann Laws OSB
In November 1979 I tripped and broke the top of my right femur. I underwent a hip replacement at the Medway Hospital. The operation was successful. However, later the hip ached and I limped. After three years X-rays showed that the prosthesis was wearing out the socket. The surgeon offered cementing the socket, but I decided to wait.
By 1986 I was having prayer for healing regularly. Prayer was often followed by temporary relief from pain. I felt that complete healing required a miracle. But would God perform it for me? The pain got worse and walking was difficult. With greater faith, I started a Novena (a nine-day period of prayer).
On finishing the Novena, I twisted my hip badly and had to consult a surgeon again in October 1986. The surgeon said that the hip joint was slowly becoming looser. So he would either replace the prosthesis, or I should just accept my bad hip physically, mentally, and spiritually. This gave me food for thought.
A Charismatic Retreat was held at Turvey Abbey. Again I was prayed for, but all I wanted was
to accept God's will. Providentially, after ministering to two of my Sisters, E.S. placed her hands on my hip and
prayed for healing. I began feeling heat in my hip. I did not realise then that my hip was being healed.
Next morning, to my surprise, I was standing perfectly upright, was well-balanced and comfortable. I found I could move my leg in all directions. I ran into the garden. I asked myself: 'Shall I walk or run?' Instead, I began to skip, scattering the path's gravel in all directions.
My hip joint became progressively more stable. Seven months later I went to Bedford Hospital
for a check-up. The surgeon said on looking at my X-rays: 'The hip has
moved into a new position.' I was going to ask questions, but thought otherwise. God
obviously had wrought a miracle. Wonder of wonders, I was able to walk again in the fields, join in liturgical
dance and spend autumn afternoons sweeping leaves. My friends, this was much more than healing of a joint. It was
a new spiritual awareness. A deeper understanding of God's will where my own will was brought into a sublime harmony
with his, bringing wholeness of mind, spirit, and body. Allelula.
Una Phelan (26 years old)
I am a midwife in a London hospital having trained in Harlow.
I first started to get psoriasis in my ears in March 1985. It was intermittent and controlled by Hydrocortisone. From March 1986 for the next twelve months I had recurrent ear infections which caused me severe irritation and a lot of discomfort and I was under medical care weekly. My ears would weep and I was partially deaf. My career was at stake because I couldn't hear foetal heartbeats. I would wake up in the night scratching my ears. They constantly got infected and I was on antibiotics as well as the Hydrocortisone.
A concerned friend had a sense that the Lord was telling her that I needed to be prayed over
for healing. I rejected this very strongly and when I went to examine why I rejected it, I got Psalm 23(22). I
saw I didn't trust the Lord that he could or would want to heal me. There was a really deep fear that I would not
be healed even though I wanted to be. Through Psalm 23(22) I saw how Jesus Christ trusted his Father throughout
his life on earth, his passion and crucifixion and this was the type of faith and trust I needed in God, I also
saw how I was living out of my own strength and getting very anxious a lot of the time and that most of my psoriasis
was a result of this. This led me to a deep repentance to the Lord for my lack of tmst in him and for my fears,
and I went to confession before being prayed over for healing in March 1987. The following two weeks I had the
most severe of ear infections. During that time I claimed the power of the Lord over the itchiness and also over
the lies of Satan telling me I wouldn't be healed. A few weeks later the ears cleared up and since then I have
had no ear infections and my psoriasis has not caused me any problems.
I know the Lord has healed me, but the greatest thing is that he showed me my lack of trust in
him and brought me to a deep repentance, and I now know that the Lord has the power to do anything in my life if
I have faith and trust in him.
Winifred - by a retired GP
Winifred, who was a patient of mine, was sixty-nine years of age when in 1978 a malignant breast
tumour was diagnosed at a London teaching hospital; it was found to be moderately differentiated grade 2 carcinoma,
and a Patey mastectomy was done. One of the lymph nodes excised was found to be infiltrated with the cancer.
Tamoxifen, a drug which has been proven to be effective in controlling breast cancers, was given in May 1982, and at this time, Winifred somehow got the message that she had not much longer to live. One of the doctors who was looking after Winifred was also a Catholic nun and was a source of strength to Winifred. It seemed that I had also met this doctor-nun a few years earlier, and from this friendship, Winifred learned of a prayer and healing ministry group led by a priest at a local Catholic church in Cockfosters. Winifred, a determined and courageous person, declared that she wished to attend and receive these healing ministries; she was resolutely determined to fight her illness. I attended these meetings with Winifred and her husband on several occasions, and Winifred's GP, who is also a Christian, came too. On the first occasion Ronald, Winifred's husband, received the healing ministry too, for an acutely painful arthritic knee; the pain disappeared shortly afterwards.
However at first the combination of Tamoxifen and healing prayers seemed not to help Winifred at all and in a few months, in order to give her husband a rest, she went into a hospice where Catholic nuns looked after her and she was started on Prednisone, also continuing with Tamoxifen. About two weeks later Winifred left the hospice and returned home with an increasing chest problem. The professor of surgery and doctors at the hospital expected her to die soon.
The healing prayers continued and Winifred did not die, but steadily improved and in November
1984, February 1985 and March 1987, her chest X-rays were clear. The hospital notes added an exclamation mark to
this in February 1985. Winifred continued to go to those of the prayer meetings she could manage, although due
to an arthritic hip, she was practically wheelchair bound. Nevertheless, the doctors were again surprised, for,
in March 1987, she was able to walk with a Zimrner frame.
Sue Watson (29 yeais old)
I used to work as an SRN nurse in London, but I had to change my career due to an industrial
injury. On 4th August 1983 I dislocated my shoulder lifting a patient. Despite a period of rest followed by physiotherapy,
I didn't make any progress. I was eventually diagnosed as having a ripped shoulder capsule with recurrent subluxation
of my left shoulder, and I went into hospital for a Bankhart's procedure. I made some progress, but I had to have
surgery again as the pin fell out of position.
I came home after three weeks in hospital and woke up one morning with extreme restriction of movement in my spine. As the weeks went by this progressed into my hips, knees, fingers, neck joints, and sternum. Although I didn't have any positive blood tests, I was diagnosed as having ankylosing spondylitis on the grounds of present condition, family history of psoriasis, and past history of having surgery on my ankles when I was eleven for bilateral ankylosis of those joints.
By January 1985 I was in a lot of pain. I had trouble being able to walk, and following surgery my left shoulder was stiff, weak, and restricted in movement. My right shoulder was also very weak, painful, had little movement, and was deformed. I had to retire from nursing and was registered disabled. My future held an increase of drugs, deformity, pain, and probably psoriasis. I was also a worrier.
I went on a strict vegetarian diet. I began to get prayed over every day and as the days went
by the Lord started to reveal to me the fears, worries, and anxieties that dominated my life. I seemed periodically
to go through a period of depression, feeling I was a failure and couldn't cope. I would feel as if I was going
'mad' and I feared I would end up in a psychiatric
hospital. I was prayed over for that fear and deliverance was instantaneous. God told me my future was tied up
in Christ and he had a perfect plan for my life.
I went for a medical assessment two weeks ago, which has been a regular occurrence since the
accident at work. I was told I needn't come back again as I was as fit as I would ever get, that I didn't have
ankylosing spondylitis as it was a progressive disease and I certainly hadn't progressed. I was told I wouldn't
regain any greater range of movement in my left shoulder - I have lost external rotation. However, my right shoulder
has healed and my left shoulder is a lot stronger within its range.
Dr. Joe Farrugia
One night some years ago, when I was still in medical practice, I woke up with a painful left foot. I assumed it was due to the way I had been lying or maybe the weight of the bedclothes. I uncovered my foot and tried to go to sleep. The pain got no better, but I noticed the left foot feeling much warmer than the right one. Nevertheless, I was sure this was a transient phenomenon. In no time at all, the pain became excruciating and I soon thought I should have to look at the offending member. What I saw frightened me. All the evidence was there - pain, swelling, heat, and redness. In short, a massive infection of the foot, for it was now the size of a large melon. I got out of bed, but I could not put any weight on my left foot. I hobbled around as best as I could and took some aspirin. These had no effect. Evenfually, I managed to make it to my car and I took out my emergency night bag. I took two Diconal tablets (a very powerful analgesic and hypnotic) and returned to bed. In time, relief came and with it, sleep. In the morning the pain returned and there was no way I could do the morning surgery. A colleague agreed to provide cover until a locum could be found. My wife took me to the district hospital where I was admitted on the spot. A whole barrage of investigations was carried out, including X-rays and scanning and a presumptive diagnosis of osteomyelitis was made, without however locating the actual locus of infection. I was in pain, feverish, sedated with painkillers, and under massive antibiotic cover by injection. The day I was admitted to hospital, my wife rang a charismatic friend, ES., and my name was included in the prayer meeting. That weekend I was anointed by a priest who visited me with ES. and they both prayed with me for healing. Symptomatically, I was getting better, but I was still far from well.
That night I was awakened by a strong wind as if the building was being buffeted from all sides. There was a feeling of fluttering above the roof, the wind dropped and I fell asleep.
Next morning my temperature dropped to normal. I was pain-free and the swelling was much reduced. I felt really at ease. When the night sister came to see me before going off duty, I asked her what sort of night she had with all that wind. She told me she had heard nothing, nor had any of the patients mentioned the wind to her. Time came for the ward round. The consultant physician was delighted and a little puzzled. The intramuscular antibiotics were continued for the full course of three weeks.
Ordinarily, the infection of osteomyelitis responds to treatment slowly and signs and symptoms disappear in a gradual pattern. In my case the response was quite sudden - from full-blown infection to virtual regression. All those who had looked after me, physicians, radiologist, pathologists, and orthopaedic surgeons were relieved but somewhat puzzled at the rapid recovery. They did not know that I had had a visitor.
Victor M. Xuereb KCJ OSJ (66 years old)
In April 1963, I was at the office in Valletta, when all of a sudden I could not move my right leg. I tried to walk, but it was very painful. I was taken home by one of my clerks, and as soon as I reached home my wife called the doctor. He told me that I had plebothrombosis, so I was confined to bed for twenty-one days. After a month I returned to work. In June 1971 I had posterior wall infarct of the heart. This attack repeated itself four times in a period of three weeks, starting with a vice-like pain in my chest which worked up to my left arm. This pain was always present whenever I exerted myself. On the 16th August 1977 I was admitted at St. Luke's Hospital (I.T.U.) suffering from posterior wall infarct. I was discharged from hospital twenty-one days later. Eventually I was certified not fit for work in April 1978. In April 1979 I had pulmonary oedema and an enlarged heart. I was given morphine injections and Tefamine suppositories to ease the coughing, and I was compelled to sleep in the sitting position using a bed rest. Whenever I tried to lie down, I used to drown in my sputum. During the period of my illness I used to have eighteen different pills a day.
In February 1983 Father E.M., a Redemptorist priest from the USA, came to Malta and held a number of healing services at different churches on the island. Huge congregations attended these meetings. I personally attended twice. As a matter of fact, I was praying very hard for my dear wife, who suffers from chronic arthritis - she can hardly walk and is always in pain. I never prayed for myself as I always accepted the will of the Lord and, praise the Lord, I was completely healed forty-eight hours after the last healing service which was held at Christ the King Church in Paola. Late that night I felt somebody tell me to sleep in the normal way after four years of sleeping in the sitting position and also not to take pills. My wife thought I was going crazy but I insisted and, praise God, I had the best normal sleep that night, and continued likewise for two months. Then I decided to call my family doctor to check me. After the check-up I was asked whether I was still the same Victor Xuereb he knew!!
Doctor Robert Farugia Randon certified that I was completed healed and took me off the pills. A copy of this certificate was sent to the ecclesiastical authorities in Malta for record purposes.
I wish to invite all the faithful to join me in thanking the Good Lord for healing me and making
me strong enough to look after my dear wife and give a helping hand to my dear children and their families. Miracles
do happen! Deo gratias et Mariae.
My name is Vera Norris, I am 78 years old, and I am a Methodist. I retired on medical grounds at the age of 52 with rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis. Doctors told me I would never walk again. Also, certain medical drugs I had taken had damaged the maculae of my eyes. In 1969 I was registered 'partially sighted' and in 1984, I was registered 'blind'. Five years ago I prayed to die. I was in constant pain. I was angry with God, because I felt utterly useless.
Suddenly, new friends started to come into my life and I began to attend Cockfosters prayer meeting. Here I received tremendous spiritual uplift.
In June 1986, I joined several members of the prayer group on a pilgrimage to Lourdes. Before going there I had had physiotherapy at the North Middlesex Hospital. I was given a stout walking stick and told nothing else could be done for me. By the time of my departure to Lourdes, I was hardly able to lean my weight on my right leg. My balance was gone. The physiotherapist warned me that I was not to walk alone. Provision of a wheelchair was made for me in Lourdes.
One morning, during the Healing Mass in the new hospital chapel in Lourdes, I began to weep copiously. I wept for a long time and I felt that all that was sinful in me had been washed away. My heart was filled with joy. Later on in the day another pilgrim prophesied to me that what I had just experienced was only the beginning. After lunch we went on a walking tour of Lourdes, but I sat in the wheelchair.
In the Basilica square, the group formed a circle and we prayed for healing, with the laying
on of hands. I was left in the wheelchair in the shade of a tree.
There was much rejoicing, and praising, and thanking the Lord that day in Lourdes. My cup was
over-flowing. For the first time in twenty-three years I was able to kneel down to pray. The Lord had simultaneously
restored much of my vision - I was able to distinguish far more details of objects around me and see colours clearly.
I can now read my wristwatch at a normal distance. Praise the Lord!
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