Shrine In Maryland Joins List Of Grottos Said To Possess Special Healing Powers
by Michael H. Brown
We get a feeling of grace when we speak of the old shrine of Mount St. Mary's in Maryland. It's a place that has stood for three centuries as the center of unusual occurrences -- in short, an anointed spot. This happens every once in a while. The Lord sanctions a place, and healings often occur.
They especially seem to occur in connection with replicas of the famous Lourdes grottos -- shrines and statues fashioned after the famous site in France where Bernadette saw the Blessed Mother in 1858. They are usually stone constructs with the Blessed Mother as the Immaculate Conception and sometimes with a little statue of Bernadette.
We've seen this time and again. We've seen it here in the U.S. -- where healings have been reported at a Lourdes grotto in Eureka, Missouri. We've seen reports of phenomena at such a grotto in Illinois. And in Euclid, Ohio. Also, one that's not far from Dayton. I remember visiting there and feeling something special. Do you have accounts of similar situations?
No doubt, there are others. Not all come to mind. There are so many. Overseas, miracles have been attributed to Lourdes grottos in places like Venezuela and Croatia and Ireland -- where Our Lady of Lourdes stands at the entrance of many villages and towns and where there was an upsurge of phenomena in the 1980s. On a visit to Ireland in 1992 to survey these situations I was astonished at the consistency of reports. From the east to west, from the southernmost tip to Northern Ireland, from Armagh to Ballinspittle, statues of the Virgin seemed to be coming to life. The statues were at roadside shrines. Strange fogs were descending on the miniature shrines and when the fog cleared these grottos would seem to temporarily "disappear," replaced by the spectacle of a shimmering heavenly meadow with the living three-dimensional figure of the Virgin standing there instead of a statue.
So similar were these visions that it was like one gargantuan national occurrence.
And now there is also Mount St. Mary's, which has had a Lourdes grotto since the early 1800s, when it was established by a saintly French missionary priest named Father John DuBois.
As we have previously reported, many claim healings in connection with the grotto, and we believe these should be reported. According to one correspondent familiar with the shrine, there are "boxes of letters of answered prayers, since the grotto has been opened to the public in 1958" [see previous stories]. We have heard from a good number of you who have had similar experiences. Usually they occur when a person is simply alone there, praying from the heart: for a new job, for help in a family squabble, for a cure. In a video called "Whispers of Mount St. Mary's" is the testimony of a Maryland psychiatrist, Dr. Robert E. Ludicke, who recounted a hearing problem that developed in the 1960s. "It grew progressively worse, and by 1967 I realized I had to find out what the problem was, and they determined that I had a gradual deterioration," he said in this public video. "By 1968 [my doctor] gave me use of a hearing aid. In 1975 he recommended a special surgical procedure."
It didn't work. When his hearing was tested after the surgery, Dr. Ludicke couldn't hear a thing. He was told there may never be a return of hearing.
"I was obviously distressed and I went home and told my wife and said, 'What I'm going to do now is go up to the grotto and start a Rosary and pray,'" he recounts. "I went directly from the office to the grotto, prayed a Rosary, and put medicine from the spring in my ear, and the hearing improved to the point where for a long time I didn't have to use a hearing aid."
There is also the testimony of a seminarian there who had a serious eye problem. His name is Bob Bailey. He had only one eye and it was in difficulty. He was facing blindness. But after visiting the grotto, he was given a clean bill of optical health.
There is also Joanne McDermott, who had carpal tunnel syndrome so bad she couldn't touch anything. Pain shot up her arm. Her fingers were very numb -- and she didn't really want surgery. She asked for a spiritual healing and got it after visiting the grotto.
"I pray with expectancy and confidence," she said. "When I got home I realized that I had been completely healed. I didn't realize it instantly. Sometimes healings happen gradually."
It's a place that was home to Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton and was visited by the likes of St. John Neumann. As one rector said, "People just sense something sacred about it." So do we. This is true at many places that honor the Blessed Mother as she appeared to Bernadette -- who construct replicas in honor of God's healing and who bring a little piece of Lourdes as a result.
[For a further report on Irish phenomena, see The Final Hour; we do urge caution when it comes to seers and write about this in The Day Will Come as well as Prayer of the Warrior]
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