Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Facts behind the 2nd Miracle attributed to Damien

NEWS KHON2 TV Hawaii - Audrey Toguchi talks of her miracle. Click Here >>>>>>
It is a first for Hawaii -- an elevation to sainthood. Father Damien received the pope's approval today. The final hurdle was cleared today when Pope Benedict the 16th approved a second miracle attributed to the Molokai missionary -- the 1998 cure of an Aiea woman's cancer. Science says Audrey Toguchi wouldn't be here today. Cancer gave her a death sentence in 1997. "He told me straight out, he said this cancer is going to take your life," said the retired school teacher who just made 80 last month. Her husband of more than 50 years remembers the feeling as if it were yesterday. "Five to 6 months only the doctor gave,” said Yukio Toguchi. “Five to 6 months, can you imagine that?"

Audrey's doctor wanted to try chemotherapy to battle back the tumors taking over her lungs. Retired surgeon Dr. Walter Chang recalls: "She said to me very quietly and very calmly, ‘No, I'm going to pray to Father Damien.’ I said, well that's very nice and good. Prayers are important but you still need chemotherapy, she said no." Instead, she went to Molokai, to the grave of Father Damien, the missionary she had studied since her youngest days in Catholic school. "And right there I said, dear lord, please, you created my body please take care to make it well, and Father Damien can you please pray for me because I need you, your intercession to help me to get well," Audrey said. The tumors began to shrink and were gone altogether within 5 months. "I put everything in his hands, I trusted him and I figured from here on I am not going to worry about it," Audrey said. "There has never been another one described, so we call it in medicine a complete spontaneous regression of her liposarcoma,” Chang said. “It's very remarkable, very unusual, never previously described."

The Vatican carefully vetted the case, a process that took years. "They want to make sure that this is not a hoax, that this is not some kind of a scam," Chang said. It was almost in jeopardy when the hospital lost track of some original evidence -- in somewhat of a clerical miracle, the doctor had set more biopsy slides aside, key proof to the pope for approving the case as miracle. "That's how I look at a miracle, you can't explain it," Audrey said. She says Damien has always been a saint to her, but she's thrilled the world will know, too. "I think the greatest thing that's happening is to the villagers in Kalaupapa," she said. “He offers hope to everybody and he's kind of like a hero to all of us."

Still to come from Rome -- a date for canonization, the formal ceremony to grant sainthood. When cardinals hold their consistory in February, they could set the date for sometime later in 2009. Some Kalaupapa residents, like uncle Boogie Kahilihiwa, were overcome with emotion upon hearing the news. "Some guys broke down in tears and said its about time, he should have been a saint a long time ago. You gotta be here to really feel it. All our prayers been answered already...Father Damien is going to be a saint officially. As far as I am concerned he is here with us." The story of father Damien's life begins on January third, 1840.

He was born Joseph de Veuster in Belgium. He chose the name Damien upon entering the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts in 1859 and was ordained to priesthood 5 years later. In 1873, Father Damien arrived on Molokai and devoted the remaining 16 years of his life to Hansen's disease patients at Kalaupapa. After learning that he had contracted leprosy in 1884, Father Damien wrote "My eyebrows are beginning to fall out. Soon i will be disfigured entirely. Having no doubts about the true nature of my disease, I am calm, resigned, and very happy in the midst of my people." Father Damien died on April 15, 1889. In 1955, 106 years after his death, the cause of Father Damien was formally introduced for the purpose of Sainthood. In 1977, Pope Paul the sixth declared Father Damien, venerable Damien. And in 1995, he was declared Blessed Damien by Pope John Paul II.

Plans are moving forward to honor Father Damien with a church bearing his name on Molokai. A model was approved by parishioners in the spring. The project is estimated to cost $3,000,000. A gala dinner event is scheduled to take place August 16th on Oahu at the Koolau Golf Club. Tickets are $125. All proceeds benefit the Blessed Damien Church Building Fund.
By Gina Mangieri
No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Mozlink’ for any or all of the articles/images placed here. The placing of an article does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

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