I’m not sure where to post this. It was on the front page of the Van. Sun yesterday.
I think its really something!
It can give the people posting here a whole lot of hope and faith
God bless you all.
July 11/09 Vancouver Sun
Rev. John Horgan knew a dying man when he saw one. Years of working as a chaplain in Vancouver General and St. Paul’s hospitals had seen to that.
So when he saw Peter Andersen in Vancouver General’s intensive care unit on the afternoon of July 3, 2008, he didn’t need anyone to tell him that Andersen’s situation was grave. His blood stream was teeming with the bacteria from two flesh-eating diseases: myositis, which attacks the muscles, and necrotizing fasciitis, which invades the flesh beneath the skin.
Andersen, on life support, was bloated beyond recognition from septic shock. Whole muscle groups of dead tissue had been stripped away by surgeons from his right leg. His blood pressure was so low it was in the range that indicates imminent death, and his kidneys and other organs had failed.
He appeared to be within hours of dying.
But what happened next is going to lead to a formal investigation by the Catholic Church to determine if the spiritual intervention of an Irish monk who died in 1923 was responsible for a medical miracle.
Because Andersen didn’t die. He made a recovery that at first sight seems to defy medicine and logic.
The canonical investigation of Andersen’s healing will be the first such inquiry ever held in the history of the Vancouver archdiocese – founded in 1863 – and could lead to the canonization of the monk as a saint.
“In fact it will be the first time such an inquiry has been held in Western Canada,” said Horgan, pastor of St. Peter and Paul’s parish in Vancouver.
“It’s extremely rare for this to happen,” he said.
On June 30 last year, Andersen suddenly developed a high fever and complained of a pain in his leg. The next day he asked his wife, Charlene, to call an ambulance when the pain became unbearable.
“I remember them putting me in the ambulance, but after that I lost consciousness for two weeks,” Andersen said.
Except for a brief moment when he remembered receiving communion from Horgan, the rest is just an awful darkness, he said.
For Charlene, it was the beginning of a nightmare. The couple, without children of their own, had a few months earlier adopted two children from the Ukraine.
Until he developed what appeared to be the flu, Peter was a healthy, strapping individual with no health problems, she said.
A day after being admitted to Peace Arch Hospital he was rushed to VGH on life support after multiple organ failure with his body full of flesh-eating-disease bacteria. The overall diagnosis was that he was suffering from streptococcal myonecrosis, and on the charts his doctors had described the extent of the disease as “advanced … severe … extensive,” she said.
“The surgeons removed bagfuls of dead tissue and muscle and he’d had two skin grafts. Then he contracted severe septic shock syndrome, which caused his body to bloat like a balloon. I asked them, ‘Can you save him?’ and one surgeon said, ‘We are trying, but no, he’s not going to make it.’ I pleaded with them to take his leg off but they said it was too late for that.”
Charlene sent for Horgan, the couple’s parish priest, who some years before had introduced them to books written by the Irish-French monk Columba Marmion.
Marmion had been given the title “blessed” by Pope John Paul II based on a miraculous cure attributed to prayers for his intercession, and the couple had began a devotion to Marmion in 2005 by circulating copies of his writings and encouraging Catholic friends to read his books.
Horgan arrived carrying with him a relic of Marmion – a fragment of his monk’s habit. The nurse who met him said there was no hope, but she was glad to see him because he could comfort Charlene.
The priest was gowned and masked and led into intensive care unit.While praying that God would spare his friend’s life for the sake of his wife and their two adopted children, he took the relic and placed it on Andersen’s head, heart and on the dressing covering his diseased leg.
“I asked Blessed Marmion to intercede with the Lord and bring healing,” said Horgan.
At mass the next day he asked the congregation to pray for a miracle for Andersen, “as this was his only hope.”
Charlene didn’t believe her husband would survive: “I was beside myself looking at him. We were new parents, the kids had only arrived in April, and I didn’t know what I would do. I knew he was going to die and I didn’t believe a miracle was going to happen, my faith wasn’t strong enough. The charge nurse told me he was at the point of death.”
But Peter didn’t die that Thursday, or the Friday.
On Saturday, July 5, five days after he fell ill, a male nurse rushed up to Charlene.
“He was really excited. He said, ‘The blood culture’s come back and it’s negative. I’m taking him off life support.’ He pulled the tube out of his mouth and Peter said to me, ‘Can you give me a hug?’”
One his surgeons told Charlene her husband’s recovery was a miracle, another said he was very lucky.
He would be in hospital for the next four months. Doctors told her he would never walk again or drive a car, and a psychiatrist told her he would likely be brain-damaged.
None of which happened. Although he needs a cane, Peter is walking and driving a car, and has lost none of his mental faculties.
He has returned to work as the pastoral care director of Columbus Residence, a care facility for the elderly in south Vancouver.
Whole story on this link and picture:
Also the story of Blessed Marmion here: