Amputees—Again and Again

“He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk and blind men see.” - Bob Crachit, A Christmas Carol

If you do a search online you will find people who were in accidents and told they would never walk again, but they did and they credit prayer. If you search you will find people who slowly lost their sight, were told they would never see again; then they could see again and gave credit to prayer,

So we know that if these people are accurate and prayer restored their functions that God sees worth in making people walk again and to see again.

What we don’t find when we search is people who lost their legs or who were never born with them gaining legs to walk, no matter how hard they prayed. We don’t see people who lost their eyes or were born without them gaining their sight, no matter how hard they prayed.

Despite what people sometimes say regarding prayers by amputees, we know the prayers of those missing certain body parts didn’t pray selfishly. We know this because other people who had those parts prayed to restore their functionality.

Simply, I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that the dividing line between prayers that are answered and prayers that are not is whether the body can heal itself in that way or not.

Amputees do grow back their limbs occasionally. Very occasionally, but it does happen. The main reason that it isn’t publicized is that 1) it is so rare and 2) nobody has been able to figure out why it happens.

This may or may not conflict with your thesis.

Meanwhile, it is also true that there have been healing miracles where amputees grow their limbs back, or simply are limbless in the evening and limbed in the morning. The usual detail is that the person’s skin on the new limb-portion was as fresh and delicate as a baby’s. Sometimes it happens on a longer time scale, as with the Calanda miracle.

There have also been traditional miracles, such as the one worked by Ss. Cosmas and Damian, where people had miraculous saintly transplants of body parts, such as legs, from the recently dead corpses of neighbors. (Which lends one to wonder if Byzantine medical science was doing stuff that was not passed down later, but obviously dead corpse legs do not come alive in the modern world, and you can’t miraculously transplant a corpse leg in the work of a moment.)

Not the commonest group of miracles, but they do happen.

Because then they wouldn’t be amputees. :wink:

Jokes aside, my short answer would be a question in return. Why do we expect God to restore limbs? Is
“no” not an answer? Is God bound to answer all of our prayers with a “yes”?

When the monk Theudegesil almost completely cut off his finger, in a field, in full view of all the monks (many of whom were still living when the miracle was recounted by Jonas of Bobbio), St. Columbanus reattached and healed his finger completely.

With spit.

Yes, St. Columbanus says, “Just spit on it, and it’ll be okay.” :slight_smile:

Please note that Abbot Jonas lists this among St. Columbanus’ more minor miracles, as nothing too important or astonishing happened.

From Vita S. Columbani, by Jonas of Bobbio (aka Jonae Abbatis Elnonensis). Migne, Patrologiae Latinae, vol. 87, 1025. Translated in The Life of St. Columban, ed. Dana Carleton Munro, Department of History of the University of Pennsylvania, 1895. Slightly adapted by me.

  1. If we try to include some things which may seem of little importance, the goodness of the Creator (Who is equally merciful in very small matters and in great, Who does not delay to turn His pitying ear to trifling details, just as in the very important matters He grants the desire of the suppliant) will be manifest to those who bawl envious detractions.

For on a certain day when the excellent man of God had gone with the brethren to cut the harvest near Calmem, which is called Baniaritia, and they were cutting the crop while the south wind blew, one of them, named Theudegisil, happened to sever his finger with a sickle, and the finger hung by only a small strip of skin.

[Theudegisilus nomine, digitum falce praecideret, nec prorsus haereret praeter pellis parvo retentaculo.]

The man of God, seeing Theudegisil standing apart, commanded him to continue the work with his companions. But when the latter told the reason for his actions, Columban hastened to him, and with his own saliva restored the wounded finger to its former health.

[celer ille ad ipsum properat, digitumque illitum saliva pristinae sanitati statim reddit.]

Then he ordered Theudegisil to make haste and put forth more strength.

The latter, who had grieved for a long time over his severed finger, joyfully began to work doubly hard and to press on before the others in cutting the grain.

Theudegisil told us this and showed us his finger.

[Theudegisilus narravit, digitumque monstravit.]

A similar thing happened on another occasion at the monastery of Luxeuil.

  1. For a parish priest named Winnoc, the father of Babolen who is now abbot of Bobbio, went to St. Columban. The latter was in the forest with the brethren, getting a supply of wood. When Winnoc arrived, and was watching with wonder how they split the trunk of an oak so easily with their mallet and wedges, one of the wedges flying from the trunk cut him in the middle of the forehead, so that great waves of blood ran from his veins. The man of God, Columban, seeing the blood flowing and the bone uncovered, immediately fell on the ground in prayer, then rising, healed the wound with his saliva, so that hardly a sign of a scar remained.

St. Anthony of Padua notoriously healed a young man who cut off his own foot. It was a popular subject for art.

St. Julian of Novara healed the cut-off thumb of one of the guys helping him build a church.

There’s also the well-documented medieval/Renaissance case of a man from Macerata, Italy, being healed by St. Nicholas of Tolentino’s relics. This man was a notary for the local government, so having a writing hand was pretty essential to his livelihood. He was also a well-known local person, and everyone had seen what happened to him.

This one is pretty gross, as it goes into the whys and wherefores of what happens if you just sew a finger back onto yourself, without having any way of reconnecting the blood vessels or nerves.

I’ve heard of thumbs and fingers regenerating. Are there any more stories of hands, arms, feet or legs being restored?

If you have heard of fingers regenerating within a second, or going from gangrene to clean in a second, you clearly hang out at different hospitals than the rest of us!


What? Who said anything about it taking a second?

Do you have a reference for finger regeneration ?

Sorry, fingerTIPS.

Not everything Jesus did is written down in the Bible. No one can prove he never healed an amputee.

As for our day and time, what miracles God does or doesn’t do is according to His will. He has His reasons.

Perhaps you are overlooking thousands of miracles for amputees.

How many times in your life have you avoided injury when you know that you should have been injured? Something unexpected happened that prevented you from being seriously injured. You might not have even realized that it happened.

Perhaps God’s miracle is that he prevented the injury from happening in the first place. Reflect on your life. You will find hundreds of examples of good fortune that you really can’t explain or perhaps chalk up to living right.

That, my friend, is the miracles that you are seeking. God has a plan. We are not meant to understand it. But it is always there.

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