Wednesday, February 12, 2014

How A Lourdes Miracle Cured a Boy and an Unbelieving Father

The following is an account of a miracle at Lourdes found in the book, The Song of Bernadette:

“The second case was no less immediate. It concerned another young person of Bordeaux. It was Jules, the twelve-year-old son of an official in the revenue department, Roger Lacassagne. This gentleman affected a martial air and, quite unlike Moreau, could not be accused of any stirrings of a religious instinct. Now, Jules was afflicted by the rare and curious disease popularly known as Saint Vitus’s dance.

This affliction is less dangerous on account of the morbid contortions of the limbs than on account of the swelling and progressive closing of the oesophagus which gradually makes almost impossible the intake of solid food. The family physician Nogues and the consultant physician Professor Roquer applied all remedies prescribed in the medical textbooks as well as some that were not. They displayed the opportunistic pragmatism common to all physicians who are unwilling to admit their powerlessness. The boy’s oesophagus closed up more and more. At last the channel left was no thicker than a knitting-needle and admitted even a few drops of milk or soup only with extreme difficulty. Jules Lacassagne had become a mere shadow and seemed doomed to die of starvation. His mother took him to a seaside resort: perhaps the ocean’s energy would help. It did not.

“On the beach whither they carried the boy he found a torn piece of newspaper. Holding it in his feeble hands he read an account of the healing of young Marie Moreau. He pocketed the piece of paper but dared not at first utter his wish. He knew his father’s character and convictions well and was afraid of being laughed at. Not until many days later, when, obviously doomed, he was taken back to Bordeaux, did he hesitantly tell his mother the story of Lourdes and Marie Moreau. Madame Lacassagne besought her husband to set out for Lourdes on that very day. The husband consented without debate. IN THE FACE OF DEATH, UNFAITH IS FAR UNSURER OF ITSELF THAN FAITH. In his own arms Roger Lacassagne carried his son to the grotto. A former army man, he was disinclined to stand for any nonsense. IF MIRACLES CAN HAPPEN, LET THEM! Hence he had brought with him a bag of soft biscuits.

“After Jules, endlessly agonizing, had succeeded in getting down a glassful of the water drop by drop, the absurd father handed him one of the biscuits and gave an order in his military fashion: “Now, then, eat!” And now an absurder thing happened: the boy ate. He bit off a piece, chewed it, and swallowed it like any ordinary mortal. The tall Lacassagne with his grey pompadour turned aside, reeling like a drunken man, and beat his breast and panted: “Jules is eating . . . Jules is eating . . . .”

And the people around the grotto burst into tears.

“But Jules kept on eating in silent thoughtfulness and it seemed to many as though the first flush of recovery were even then tingeing his cheeks. Marie Moreau and Jules Lacassagne were but two out of fifteen cases which Bishop Laurence considered as inexplicable by natural processes and as fulfilling his specific demands. He was always guided by the medical evidence recorded immediately prior to the cure and also Monseigneur welcomed most the testimony of physicians either not of the Catholic faith or confessed enemies of all faith…” (Capitals as in original).

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