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Saturday, 10 December 2011

The Miracle of the Sun


The Miracle of the Sun is an alleged miraculous event witnessed by as many as 100,000 people on 13 October 1917 in the Cova da Iria fields near Fátima, Portugal. Those in attendance had assembled to observe what the Portuguese secular newspapers had been ridiculing for months as the absurd claim of three shepherd children that a miracle was going to occur at high-noon in the Cova da Iria on October 13, 1917. According to many witness statements, after a downfall of rain, the dark clouds broke and the sun appeared as an opaque, spinning disk in the sky. It was said to be significantly less bright than normal, and cast multicolored lights across the landscape, the shadows on the landscape, the people, and the surrounding clouds. The sun was then reported to have careened towards the earth in a zigzag pattern, frightening some of those present who thought it meant the end of the world. Some witnesses reported that their previously wet clothes became “suddenly and completely dry.” Estimates of the number of witnesses range from 30,000-40,000 by Avelino de Almeida, writing for the Portuguese newspaper O Século, to 100,000, estimated by Dr. Joseph Garrett, professor of natural sciences at the University of Coimbra, both of whom were present that day. The miracle was attributed by believers to Our Lady of Fátima, an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three young shepherd children in 1917, as having been predicted by the three children on 13 July, 19 August, and 13 September 1917. The children reported that the Lady had promised them that she would on 13 October reveal her identity to them and provide a miracle “so that all may believe.” The event was officially accepted as a miracle by the Roman Catholic Church on 13 October 1930. In the image above you can see some of the many witnesses photographed during the event.

The Miracle of Lanciano – 700 AD


In the city of Lanciano, Italy, around A.D. 700, a Basilian monk and priest was assigned to celebrate the Eucharistic sacrifice in the Latin Rite in the small Church of St.Legontian. Usually celebrating in the Greek Rite and using leavened bread and having been taught that unleavened bread was invalid matter for the Holy Sacrifice he was disturbed to be constrained to use unleavened bread and had trouble believing that the miracle of transubtantiation would take place with unleavened bread. During the Mass, when he said the words of consecration, he saw the bread change into live flesh and the wine change into live blood, which coagulated into five globules, irregular and differing in shape and size. Various ecclesiastical investigations have been conducted upon the miracle, and the evidence of the miracle remains in Lanciano to this day. In 1970-71, Professors from the University of Siena conducted a scientific investigation into the miracle. They concluded that the flesh and blood are human flesh and blood. The Flesh is a heart complete in its essential structure. The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood type, AB, which is also the same blood type found on the Shroud of Turin and all other Eucharistic Miracles. The Host-Flesh, which is the same size as the large Host used today in the Latin Church, is fibrous and light brown in color, and becomes rose-colored when lighted from the back. The Blood consists of five coagulated globules and has an earthly color resembling the yellow of ochre.

Padre Pio (St Pio of Pietrelcina) – 1887 – 1968


Francesco Forgione, later known as Padre Pio, canonized as Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, was an Italian Roman Catholic Capuchin priest who is now venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. He was given the name Pio when he joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, and was popularly known as Padre Pio after his ordination to the priesthood. He became famous for his stigmata. Based on Padre Pio’s correspondence, even early in his priesthood he experienced less obvious indications of the visible stigmata for which he would later become famous. Though Padre Pio would have preferred to suffer in secret, by early 1919, news about the stigmatic friar began to spread in the secular world. Padre Pio’s wounds were examined by many people, including physicians. People who had started rebuilding their lives after World War I began to see in Padre Pio a symbol of hope. Those close to him attest that he began to manifest several spiritual gifts including the gifts of healing, bilocation, levitation, prophecy, miracles, extraordinary abstinence from both sleep and nourishment (One account states that Padre Agostino recorded one instance in which Padre Pio was able to subsist for at least 20 days at Verafeno on only the Eucharist without any other nourishment), the ability to read hearts, the gift of tongues, the gift of conversions, and the fragrance from his wounds. Rather than using an image, I have used a video clip of St Pio – you can see his hands concealed by fingerless gloves to hide his stigmata. You may also be interested in this clip in which St Pio’s grave and coffin are opened (on March 3, 2008) revealing that his body is incorrupt. His body is now on display in San Giovanni Rotondo.
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